Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Children ‘put at risk of harm’ at nursery

CHILDREN at a Henley nursery were at risk of harm due to poorly trained staff, according

CHILDREN at a Henley nursery were at risk of harm due to poorly trained staff, according to inspectors who closed the business temporarily.

The Mill Meadows Nursery and After-School Club, which is based at Leichlingen pavilion, off Meadows Road, was shut by education watchdog Ofsted on March 10.

This followed four complaints that the premises were sometimes understaffed and children were not properly supervised on outings.

It was claimed that staff did not fully understand their role and the nursery’s policies and procedures did not care for the children effectively.

Concerns were also raised about the suitability of owners Samuel and Aime Ngube, who took over from Sophie Taylor in October, and that staff weren’t receiving adequate support or training.

Inspectors made two unannounced visits in early March and found children were “at risk of harm and could not be fully safeguarded as a result of poor processes to ensure their welfare and learning and insufficient understanding of the requirements and procedures to keep children safe by both leaders and staff”.

The nursery, which re-opened in April, has since recruited a “suitable and experienced manager” and introduced a “more effective recruitment process” to ensure staff have the right skills.

The inspectors said the staff induction and supervision process had improved and the owners and manager now had a better understanding of child safety issues.

However, the nursery still needed to tighten its vetting procedures for job applicants from overseas and to make staff aware of their responsibility to disclose anything that might affect their suitability to work with children.

Additionally, staff must improve their understanding of the national curriculum’s Early Years stage. Inspectors will monitor the nursery to ensure improvements are made and maintained.

Mr and Mrs Ngube, from Harrow, are Cameroonian nationals and also directors of a firm named Eagle Investment Company.

They did not respond to requests for comment.

The nursery used to be known as Stepping Stones but that venture folded in 2011 due to falling attendances and financial problems.

Ofsted inspected the premises under Miss Taylor’s leadership in 2012 and 2015 and rated it “good” on both occasions. Inspectors said safeguarding was given high priority by staff and daily safety checks were carried out.

After the last inspection, they said staff had a very good relationship with the children and their families and it was a happy, well-organised nursery where children made good progress in all areas of learning.

Earlier this year, Henley Town Council, which leases the premises to Mr and Mrs Ngube, warned the couple to take more care when disposing of their waste.

Councillors said animals were getting into the rubbish bags and scattering it over the area in front of the building.

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