Monday, 20 September 2021

Children’s care at base rated ‘inadequate’

THE care being provided by RAF Benson’s children and families services is “inadequate”, according to Ofsted.

THE care being provided by RAF Benson’s children and families services is “inadequate”, according to Ofsted.

The education watchdog says children’s safety is compromised, hygiene standards present a health risk and staff are not vigilant enough.

4Children took over running the service in April and currently has 101 children aged from a few weeks to eight years old on its register.

The service was first rated “inadequate” in an inspection in October. This is Ofsted’s lowest possible rating and means that the provision is failing to give children an acceptable standard of early years education.

A second inspector who visited the children’s centre and nursery last month said progress was being made but gave the same rating.

The report by the first inspector said the kitchen used for baby food preparation was “not fit for purpose” and posed a health risk.

Staff were seen using nappy changing tables to complete their paperwork.

The inspector noted that the service was not meeting the requirements of the compulsory part of the childcare register as it did not ensure that all children were kept safe from harm, did not ensure that procedures were known and consistently followed by staff and a risk assessment of the premises and equipment had not been undertaken.

The second inspector noted that some improvements to the environment had been made, including steam cleaning of areas of the nursery and covering electric socket points on the floor of the baby room.

However, the nappy changing units and the kitchen hand basin were not hygenically clean and baby food was not correctly stored.

The report said that “some potential risks to children had not been identified and assessed or the risk removed” as staff had not implemented the revised risk assessments.

During their visits, inspectors observed indoor and outdoor activities, spoke to the nursery owners, manager, staff, parents and children and examined children’s records and the centre’s policies and procedures. They judged children’s access to a range of activities outdoors as the setting’s sole strength.

Ofsted has ordered several improvements to be made by February 8, including the undertaking of a risk assessment, ensuring all children are kept safe from harm, and introducing self-evaluation to acknowledge strengths and identify weaknesses.

The centre, which was previously run by the Old Station Nursery, was given a makeover following the change in ownership. A new kitchen and floor were installed, the walls were painted and toys bought.

Charles Ellis, deputy chief executive of 4Children, said: “4Children is extremely disappointed in the outcome of this Ofsted inspection. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality childcare and are very sorry that, in this instance, we have not met our own or Ofsted’s expectations.

“We have invested substantially in the nursery, together with our partners, and have recruited new staff and management. We are working with the staff and partners to substantially improve the quality of the staff and the setting.

“Ofsted returned three weeks after the initial inspection and noted a substantial improvement in the quality of practice and service. We are working with parents and partners to ensure that this nursery will reach the high standards that 4Children expects and those standards required by Ofsted.”

*RAF Benson has applied for planning permission to improve security and access to the domestic side of the site with a new guardhouse.

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