St Albans Playschool nursery come under fire following ‘inadequate’ Ofsted inspection

Playschool nursery on Alma Road - Copyright: 2016 Google

Playschool nursery on Alma Road - Copyright: 2016 Google - Credit: 2016 Google

A popular nursery has come in for criticism after dropping to an ‘inadequate’ rating in a recent Ofsted inspection.

Privately owned Playschool Nursery in Alma Road, St Albans, received the rating after an inspection at the beginning of August, dropping from the ‘good’ rating handed to it in October 2013.

But the owner said that since the report was issued, Ofsted had revised some elements of it and an updated version should be posted shortly.

In the report the Ofsted inspector commented on the lack of hygiene, compromised child safety and poor management of children in large group situations.

Loose wires, broken plastic bins, and exposed sharp staples in a seating area were some of the examples cited in the report.

There is further criticism of the health and safety standards at the nursery with reference to the potties.

The report reads: “At the inspection it was noted that not all potties were cleaned after being used by children. Some of these contained the remains of other children’s urine and faeces. The rim of the toilet training seat used by younger children was not clean.

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“In the pre-school room toilet seats were not clean and children had access to dirty toilet brushes left in their containers with a significant amount of dirty water.”

One mother, who did not wish to be named, took her child out of the nursery several months ago because her circumstances had changed, but was still shocked at the report.

She said that when she initially looked round the nursery in 2013 she was very impressed. She noted that it was a popular nursery due to its close proximity to St Albans station and, like many other nurseries in the area, it had an extensive waiting list.

The mother said: “I think one of the problems is that they became complacent.”

The parent added that she got the impression it might have deteriorated slightly before she took her child out of the nursery but not to the extent reported by Ofsted.

She said that at the time her child attended the nursery it implemented a policy that parents should wait outside to enable their child to settle in the nursery without them. The mum added: “I can’t help but think that if they had open doors it might have been picked up earlier.”

In the report the staff won approval for “genuine praise and interest in younger children’s achievements” and the nursery for its nutritious meals and snacks “freshly prepared on site in the clean and hygienic kitchen”.

Kirsty Goes, who owns the nursery with her husband, said Ofsted had revised some of the key wording and statements in the report and the updated version should be “live in the next few days”.

She added: “As owners of the nursery, we take full responsibility and are ashamed of the report which was a blip in our usually high standards whilst away on a family holiday. There was a failure in our quality assurance processes particularly on the first floor of the St Albans nursery.

“All matters were immediately addressed, and have been ratified by Hertfordshire’s Early Years Team several times, along with changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Ofsted accept that some of the comments were unnecessarily harsh and without evidence, and some of the statements within the report have been re-written/withdrawn.”