Nursery in Sleaford ‘making massive improvements’ after being rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted

A Sleaford nursery says it is already making “massive improvements” to some of its working practices after Ofsted inspectors rated it ‘inadequate’ at their latest visit.
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Woodside Children’s Nursery, on Hazel Grove has been operating in the setting since 2005 and has 50 children aged 0-4 on its books.

But in its first inspection, on March 25, since the Covid pandemic, the children’s nursery was given a list of requirements to fulfil by the end of April, which included: designing and implementing a curriculum across all areas of learning and development based on children's individual needs and interests; embedding effective performance management systems to raise the quality of education provided across the nursery; ensure staff use appropriate strategies to support and manage children's behaviour; ensure that volunteers understand their roles and responsibilities and are properly supervised at all times; ensure arrangements for nappy changing are safe and suitable for all children; and ensure arrangements for sleeping children are in line with the latest government safety guidance.

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A spokesperson for the nursery said: “”We have already made massive improvements. Some things have come in very recently but we have made the changes and are working very closely with Lincolnshire County Council who have given us a lot of advice.

Woodside Children's Nursery in Sleaford. Photo: GoogleWoodside Children's Nursery in Sleaford. Photo: Google
Woodside Children's Nursery in Sleaford. Photo: Google

"Moving forward we have had such positivity from our existing parents and carers and we do feel very lucky to have the parents that we do.”

Crucially the inspectors said the nursery’s existing arrangements for safeguarding were “not effective”, adding: “There is not an open and positive culture around safeguarding that puts children's interests first.”

They went on: “Unexpected changes have been made to the management structure of the nursery. The assistant manager is currently responsible for the day-to-day running of the provision. She is new to post and does not have an effective enough oversight of the nursery to make sure all requirements of the early years foundation stage are being met.”

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The report went on: “Children's personal development is not well supported by staff. For example, staff do not consider children's privacy when they change their nappies. Children are changed on unhygienic, ripped changing mats in the corridor, or where other children are playing. Babies crawl close to a large bag of dirty nappies.

"Staff do not always consider how they can keep children safe while they sleep. Some babies sleep in baby bouncers, which compromises their posture and potentially their breathing. Staff lift resources over the heads of sleeping babies with the risk of items falling on their heads.”

At the time of inspection, Ofsted had not been informed about the significant change in leadership and the inspectors said systems in place for supervising student volunteers was ineffective. “The assistant manager fails to identify and address weaknesses in their practice.

“Student volunteers are not clear about what they can and cannot do in their role. A student volunteer is observed pulling babies away from activities and kissing them repeatedly around the face. This goes unnoticed by staff. Babies show reluctance to this interaction.”

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Ineffective performance management systems meant poor practice was also being missed.

Educating at the setting also came in for criticism. Staff were said to be unclear about learning expectations and did not give enough thought to how they can adapt activities to make sure all children benefit and make progress, while some activities did not capture the interests of children who quickly became bored leading to poor behaviour.

Children's behaviour was also not being dealt with properly. The report said: "They (staff) persuade pre-school children to tidy away by offering them a sticker. Some children are rewarded without helping. This is confusing for all children involved.” It adds: “Staff tell children they will send them to the office if they do not do what is asked of them, implying this is something to fear. These are not appropriate ways of supporting children's development.”

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