Children's safety 'cannot be assured' at play group criticised by education watchdog

Education inspectors are taking enforcement action against a play group which they say fails to provide a safe environment for children.

Ofsted published a scathing report about the “ineffective leadership” – including failing to comply with legal requirements – the lack of effective safeguarding measures and the “poor” hygiene practices at Little Dolphin play group, which is based at Tyldesley RUFC.

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It had previously been judged to be “good”, but has now been given the lowest mark of “inadequate” in all areas after a recent inspection, which was carried out as a result of a risk assessment, following information received by Ofsted.

Ofsted rated the play group as "inadequate"Ofsted rated the play group as "inadequate"
Ofsted rated the play group as "inadequate"
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Inspector David Lobodzinski wrote: “A poorly designed curriculum and ineffective leadership have resulted in this setting failing to provide a safe environment where children can learn and thrive.

"Leaders fail to ensure that staff have the relevant training, knowledge and skills to ensure that children are kept safe. This is particularly in relation to paediatric first aid qualifications and staff's knowledge of safeguarding. These breaches in legal requirements have a significant impact on the safety, well-being and personal development of children.”

Ofsted found leaders at the play group were “too lax” in ensuring at least one member of staff held a current first aid qualification and staff did not receive up-to-date training around safeguarding and child protection, meaning “children's safety cannot be assured”.

Children did not show positive attitudes to learning, because staff did not plan activities well to meet their individual needs or adapt teaching to provide appropriate support or challenge for them.

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Staff’s expectations for the youngsters were “not consistently high”, the inspector reported, and leaders did not help staff to provide “quality learning experiences”.

Mr Lobodzinski wrote: “Gaps in children's learning do not close quickly enough, and staff do not always give children the necessary support to keep up. For example, expectations for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are too low. Staff are not always clear on their next steps in learning or how best to support them. Leaders are too slow to make referrals and put interventions in place. As a result, children with SEND do not make the progress of which they are capable.”

Hygiene practices at the play group were described as “poor” as children were not taught to cover their mouths when coughing or wash their hands after wiping their noses.

Staff did not manage children’s behaviour consistently, for example failing to challenge them when they ran indoors or hurt other youngsters.

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Ofsted did find staff built “caring bonds” with children and encouraged them to be independent, while the premises was “secure” and recruitment and vetting procedures were described as “robust”.

Welfare requirement notices were issued requiring the play group to make a number of changes, including having at least one person on the premises with a current first aid qualification, ensuring staff understand safeguarding policies and procedures, and having staff implement hygiene practices to prevent the spread of infection and ensure children’s good health.

Wigan Today has attempted to contact Little Dolphin play group for a response.

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