‘We accept that our usual standards have fallen short’ – Treetops Biggleswade apologises after damning Ofsted and food hygiene reports

Treetops Biggleswade, which has received inadequated ratings across the board from Ofsted. Picture:

Treetops Biggleswade, which has received inadequated ratings across the board from Ofsted. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

A Biggleswade nursery has apologised in the wake of a damning Ofsted report telling of compromised safety and a lack of proper first aid treatment.

Treetops Biggleswade, based at the Saxon Centre in Kingsfield Road, was given ‘inadequate’ ratings across the board by Ofsted – and also received the second-lowest rating in a separate food hygiene check.

In a report published on Saturday, Ofsted has ordered urgent improvements by the start of next month – after an inspection revealed staff do not record accidents properly, accurately list children’s attendance or provide adequate teaching.

One of the two inspectors was able to enter the nursery without being challenged, and was on site for several minutes before she could announce her presence to a member of staff.

A spokeswoman for Treetops Biggleswade said: “We have apologised to all parents and carers of children at the nursery about the matters raised.

“We accept that our usual standards have fallen short and we immediately put measures in place to resolve the issues brought to our attention as a result of unannounced Ofsted and environmental health inspections.

“We are arranging additional staff training and independent quality assurance visits to ensure all necessary improvements are made.

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“The safety and welfare of our children remains our number one priority at all times.”

The inspection, on February 28, came three years after the last Ofsted check in January 2014 – when the nursery received an overall ‘good’ rating.

The assessors reported that the number of children recorded on the attendance registers did not reflect the actual number present, and that staff practice was not effectively monitored.

It was noted: “On occasion, children are able to access a passage between two adjoining rooms unaccompanied and are out of staff’s sight or hearing for several moments before this is noticed.

“Accidents are not dealt with effectively. For example, when children sustain a head bump, appropriate treatment is not given and details are not recorded in order for staff to share this information with parents. This compromises children’s safety and well-being.

“The key-person system is not effective in promoting the sharing of information between parents and staff. Parents are not encouraged to engage in their children’s learning in order for them to extend this at home.”

It was noted that the children were not given activities appropriate for their age and stage of development, and thus did not make sufficient progress – particularly youngsters for whom English is an additional language.

However, it was noted that children do gain some basic skills important for starting school, such as writing letters identified from words in story books.

Other positives in the report included that the staff knew proper child protection procedures and responded well to children by providing cuddles and comfort, and that the children developed their physical skills well in the ‘stimulating and well-resourced’ outside areas.

The Ofsted inspectors noted that Treetops’ head office had provided an interim manager while a new permanent manager was sought, and that recruitment and induction procedures were suitable.

The separate food hygiene inspection on January 18 found that major improvement was necessary – particularly regarding food safety – with the nursery given one star out of five. The food safety officer found the cleanliness and condition of food facilities to be generally satisfactory.

The Ofsted report can be read in full at reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/EY239643.

The food hygiene ratings can be seen at ratings.food.gov.uk/business/en-GB/594083/Treetops-Day-Nursery-Biggleswade.