Where’s the report?

Our conscience wouldn’t allow us to deprive you of some very important facts before reading the report:

It turns out that Ofsted don’t conduct their own inspections of early years settings, they contract out inspections to a company called Tribal who engage freelance inspectors. The inspection is then done on behalf of Ofsted. It has been reported that Tribal’s contract to inspect schools in England has in fact been terminated and their contract to inspect early years settings runs out in 2017, not to be renewed.

The nursery’s counsel has advised that the reporting of this judgement by Tribal is in fact unlawful and our solicitors have written to the Chief Inspector of Schools to challenge this decision. However, Ofsted publishes reports even whilst being challenged. And there is no appeals process. Instead they offer a slow and cumbersome complaints procedure carried out by Tribal whilst the report stays online. Moral hazard?

We believe that only accurate reporting can be in the best interest of parents when making what is such an important decision about their children’s lives. So in the interest of the past, current and prospective users we’ve provided some interesting facts not in the report of the 7th July 2015.

1. The inspection was carried out on the last day of term at the children’s farewell party day.

On that day each child brings an item of party food and the nursery supplies the drinks. They proudly contributed fairy cakes, strawberries, bread sticks, salad, cheese, biscuits, and crisps. A small bottle of bottled water was supplied by the nursery for each child.

The Tribal inspector gave the nursery a rating of inadequate with regard to the promotion of healthy eating.

This judgement on healthy eating wasn’t in relation to our normal practice, but to an exceptional day, a party day. The inspector unfortunately makes no reference to this fact.

The inspector was informed that the children normally bring a packed lunch and that parents are encouraged via discussions and newsletters to provide healthy lunches for their children. The children have access to water and fruit each day throughout the school year. The inspector unfortunately makes no reference to this fact either.

2. The first aid box contains some items that are not required by statute but this nursery feels they add to the children’s safety. These items include stretch bandages which are no longer sold with expiry dates as their age does not affect health of welfare.

All required items were in date and that the stretch bandages that had a date earlier than the inspection date did not pose a health risk to the children but were there over and above requirement to give support in case of a sprain.

The inspector was told that the first aid box is checked every half term. Contrary to the Tribal inspector’s conclusion we believe that our first aid arrangements are of a high standard and most certainly are equipped to promote children’s well-being.

3. The inspector was handed all documentation she requested. All policies are available to all on the nursery website as they have been for many years. Ofsted, in their report, did not specify which document(s) were not made available which led the inspector to her judgement.

4. The inspector asked about our procedure in the event of an allegation against staff. I answered that I would find out what had happened, gather the information and report to the local authority as appropriate. The inspector did not agree with this answer although it is consistent with the nursery’s policy.

5. The report does not state that the answer I gave is correct in law and that it is also the advice of the local authorities early years advisers.

The reasoning for the judgement was that the answer was not in line with the nursery’s policy. In fact I was following the Statutory Guidance which underpins the nursery policy.

The statutory guidance is not expected to be printed in the policy but needs to be understood. The specialist counsel advised as follows: The newly-revised statutory guidance issued by the Department of Education entitled ‘Keeping children safe in education’ states on page 40 : “110. The procedures for dealing with allegations need to be applied with common sense and judgement.” Counsel’s advice is that the inspector’s judgement ‘is plainly wrong’. For your information on our procedure please refer to our Safeguarding Children policy on our website.

In short, we believe that there are no grounds for the overall judgement made by the inspector and urge Ofsted to amend the report accordingly.

For the past 30 years this nursery has received ratings of outstanding or good.
We have, continue to, and will always keep children entirely safe. We care deeply about the welfare, well-being and safety of each and every child in our care. The report does not state that our policies and procedures are displayed on our website and are updated regularly,they are also available in the hallway at the nursery and evident in our practice to all the families who frequent the nursery on a daily basis (see testimonials on the nursery website).

Every member of staff regularly attends up-to-date safeguarding training courses,the manager attends advanced safeguarding training every two years. All displayed a very secure knowledge and understanding of safeguarding children when questioned by the inspector.

Finally, we, the nursery team, would like to convey to the nursery families that our practice strives always to be outstanding for the children and we are guided by always looking after their best interests.

Our grateful thanks to all the families for their supportive partnership with the nursery.
This nursery statement provides context to the report. Please contact me for any further information.

Gina Ferriter
Early Years Teacher/ Nursery Manager
Postgraduate Diploma (Integrated provision for children and families);BA (hons); Early Years Professional Status; Montessori Diploma; SEN Teaching Certificate