Brighton nursery rated ‘inadequate’ after ‘significant event’

Posted On 20 Jan 2022 at 4:01 pm

A Brighton nursery has been rated “inadequate” by the official watchdog Ofsted after a “significant event” relating to an allegation made about four months ago.

The allegation prompted Ofsted to carry out two regulatory visits in November and serve a formal notice ordering the nursey to meet the statutory “welfare requirements” of the children in its care.

Ofsted then carried out an inspection in December and published a report yesterday (Wednesday 19 January) grading the Busy Bees Day Nursery, in Harrington Road, Brighton, “inadequate”.

The nursery, part of a national chain, had previously been rated “outstanding”. It said that it was disappointed by the outcome but had made progress in addressing Ofsted’s observations.

Busy Bees also said: “We have already taken actions to improve in all the areas identified in the report. We strive to deliver only outstanding childcare at Busy Bees and are working hard to provide that for both parents and children.”

A senior manager said: “We apologise for falling below the standards parents and children expect of us and are committed to improving the nursery.”

A “significant event” is something that must be reported to Ofsted and, in this instance, is understood to relate to the behaviour of a member of staff who has since left the nursery.

Ofsted’s compliance letter said that the actions required included ensuring that the designated safeguarding leads improved their knowledge and understanding of “allegation management”.

The watchdog also said that action was required to ensure all managers and staff understood reporting processes in line with local safeguarding procedures.

The nursery was also told to improve the way that it recruited staff, how it assessed their suitability to work with children and how it supervised them.

Ofsted said: “The provider has improved the processes to ensure that staff are fully vetted and receive effective induction and ongoing supervision.”

The subsequent report, published yesterday, touched on shortcomings in relation to children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The report said: “The nursery has been through an unsettled time with staff sickness and difficulty in recruiting new staff.

“Weaknesses in leadership over the last year have led to a significant drop in standards.

“The manager and staff have failed to ensure that additional support is implemented for all children with SEND.

“The manager does not work effectively with parents to access support from outside professionals.

“As a result, not all children with SEND receive the help they need to make suitable progress in their development, particularly in their communication.

“There is a dedicated senior support team within the Busy Bees company and they have recently increased their support for the nursery.

“Staff have not been supported well over the last year and much more work needs to be done to promptly identify and improve key areas of practice.

“For example, some staff have poor questioning skills. They do not effectively support children’s thinking skills and ability to develop their own ideas.”


Busy Bees in Harrington Road in Brighton

The nursery, which looks after 77 children and has places for 94, employs 13 staff and 10 of those have relevant qualifications.

Ofsted said: “Not all children receive the support they need and this significantly impacts their development, emotional well-being and experiences at the nursery.

“Not all children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are identified and supported effectively.”

The watchdog added: “Staff do not plan and deliver activities consistently well and do not focus enough on what they want children to learn. As a result, some activities are poor and ineffective.

“During the inspection, pre-school children had to wait at the table for 10 minutes before they could start making play-dough because staff were not organised.

“Too many children were then crammed around a table, jostling for position to have a go at an activity that lacked focus and was far too easy for their stage of development.”

The first page of the compliance letter sent to the Busy Bees Day Nursery in Harrington Road in Brighton

Ofsted also said: “Although most children engage well in play throughout the nursery, some children do not.

“Staff do not identify when some children need further support to help them engage in meaningful play and learning.

“As a result, some children flit quickly between play, show signs of boredom and do not access the learning environment available. They do not receive positive learning experiences.

“The provider must improve management’s understanding of how to work with parents and access support from outside agencies for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), and ensure children with SEND receive the timely support they need to close the gaps in their learning.”

Busy Bees said: “On (Thursday) 9 December, Ofsted inspectors visited our nursery to carry out an unannounced inspection and while we respect the findings and content of the report, we are very disappointed with the outcome.

“We have already taken actions to improve in all the areas identified in the report. We strive to deliver only outstanding childcare at Busy Bees and are working hard to provide that for both parents and children.

“Ofsted were notified of a significant event which we can confirm was poor behaviour management from a member of staff.

“However, this was addressed immediately through a work action plan to support that particular staff member and we worked with the local authority designated officer (LADO) who were happy with the outcome.

“An action plan has been put in place to address all the areas identified during the inspection and we are sharing that plan with parents so they can see that progress is being made.

“We have already made progress on many of the actions raised and are working very hard to achieve the necessary improvements.

“We recognise the need for high-quality, caring and motivated staff and for a well-led strong team to care for children.

“We believe that with the strong leadership and management now in place we are making the required improvements. We will do whatever it takes to support the team to deliver those improvements.”

Busy Bees area director Emily Lacey said: “We have strengthened the management team at the nursery, continue to invest in our staff through training and we are ensuring the needs of children at the nursery are being met at all times.

“During their visit, the inspectors did recognise and comment on areas of good practice, including safeguarding, the caring relationships between staff and children and they also acknowledged that changes that had already been introduced were making a positive impact.

“We apologise for falling below the standards parents and children expect of us and are committed to improving the nursery.

“I am confident that next time Ofsted visit there will be a very different and much more positive outcome.”

A week ago, the company said that it was recruiting for a number of posts at the Brighton nursery including a senior room manager and an early years teacher.

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