Dead flies and dust found on shelves at ‘inadequate’ Wigan nursery

The Nursery On The Hill in Parbold
The Nursery On The Hill in Parbold

Inspectors have criticised a nursery where children did not always get fresh air and sunlight and dead flies were found on shelves.

Enforcement action is being taken against The Nursery On The Hill, in Parbold, after it was rated as “inadequate”.

Ofsted found a host of problems, including food of “poor nutritional value” given to children and “poor” staff hygiene practices.

The judgement came just 11 months after the nursery was rated as “good”.

A spokesman for the nursery said she “strongly” disagreed with Ofsted’s findings and was considering challenging both the report and the conduct of the inspector.

The centre is run by Willow House Day Nursery Ltd, which also operates Willow House Day Nursery in Adlington, judged to be “inadequate” in October.

Managing director Marie Kirkham states on LinkedIn that she holds the same role at The Enchanted Wood Nursery in Croston, another nursery recently rated as “inadequate”.

Inspector Angela Rowley carried out an inspection of The Nursery On The Hill “as a result of a risk assessment”.

She found “a high number” of breaches in legal requirements”, which had a “significant impact” on children’s welfare and learning.

Safeguarding arrangements were “not effective” and leaders gave “too little regard” to meeting statutory requirements for the early years stage and other safety regulations.

Ms Rowley wrote: “Parts of the premises are poorly maintained. Significant draughts cause areas of the nursery to feel cold. The laundry is not clean or safely organised. For example, the shelves contain a great deal of dust and dead flies.

“Some sleeping equipment is not used appropriately. For example, when staff use rocker chairs for babies, they do not take full account of safe sleeping guidelines or safe areas of the room to position them.

“While numbers of staff on the premises are sufficient to ensure that the required staff-to-child ratio is met, staff are not deployed in a way which ensures children’s needs are consistently met.

“Staff are required to prepare meals and to complete domestic and managerial duties while responsible for children.

“This detracts from the level of supervision provided. For example, while a staff member is answering the nursery phone, she does not notice when a baby is stuck on the frame of a baby walker.”

The quality of teaching was “weak” and staff did “not effectively plan or organise the environment and routines” to promote learning and development.

There was not “sufficient clear and safe space” for babies to move around freely and some spent too long in chairs and baby walkers.

Ms Rowley reported the children’s welfare was “compromised by weaknesses in leadership and management” and they were given food of “poor nutritional value”.

She wrote: “Staff do not consistently follow food hygiene procedures, dispose of nappies hygienically or keep children’s noses clean. They do not wash their hands at key times to help prevent the spread of infection.”

She continued: “Staff do not provide children with daily opportunities to play outside in the fresh air and sunlight, necessary for their good health.

“Significant weaknesses” in teaching meant children did not make enough progress, she said.

The nursery’s strengths were identified as staff singing and looking at books with children to promote their communication and language skills and parents talking about the “caring and nurturing approach” of staff.

A spokesman for the nursery said: “We are fully committed to maintaining high standards of teaching, learning, development and welfare for children. We strongly disagree with the conclusions of this Ofsted report and we are now considering the different options to challenge both its findings and the conduct of the Ofsted inspectors.”

Ofsted found the required staffing ratio and qualification requirements were “not met” at Willow House Day Nursery, the quality of teaching and learning was “inadequate” and “insufficient” information was obtained from parents before children start.

At The Enchanted Wood Nursery, the bathroom was “not clean” and lacked resources such as hand soap, the quality of teaching was “weak” and the deployment of staff “does not meet children’s needs”, according to the Ofsted report.