New Addington nursery criticised over safeguarding allegations involving staff
A nursery has come under fire for failing to report safeguarding allegations about a member of staff.
Ofsted inspectors criticised the Learning Tree Pre-school in New Addington for not complying with child protection conditions and said "ineffective monitoring of staff" had led to safeguarding scare.
The schools watchdog visited the nursery, which operates out of Wolsey Infant School in King Henry's Drive, after concerns were raised by staff about an employee's conduct.
The nursery said the "very minor" allegation related to how a staff member encouraged a pupil to eat their lunch and led to them being suspended.
Ofsted's inspection, held in response to the allegation, found there had been a previous allegation involving the same member of staff that had not been properly reported.
Inspector Lesley Hodges said the nursery's failure to monitor the employee following the first allegation had led to the second.
Her report, which rated the nursery "inadequate", said: "The manager is aware that the safeguarding policy was not followed correctly and understands the implications of these actions. This means the provider has failed to comply with conditions.
"The incidents occurred at lunch time in the nursery, which is a busy time of the day as children arrive from or go to nursery or home at various times.
"The provider and manager do not support staff at this busy time to ensure that children's needs are met appropriately."
It added: "This lack of induction and training has had an impact on the incidents that took place. Consequently, children's safety and welfare were compromised."
Carole Bonner, chair of the nursery's board of trustees and a Fieldway councillor, said the allegation had been "low-level" and that lessons had been learned at the nursery.
She said: "A child was messing around with their food and the way the member of staff dealt with it, to try to encourage them to eat what they should be eating, was not an appropriate was a dealing with it. The child wasn't slapped or anything like that, but it was a behaviour management issue.
"Children generally if they are encouraged to eat something they don't want to eat are not very happy and anyone who has had children will know how difficult it can be sometimes getting them to eat what you want them to."
She added: "By the time Ofsted came we had already identified some changes in our procedures that would prevent this kind of thing happening again. We took action immediately and suspended the member of staff while we carried out the investigation.
"They have returned to work and will be provided with additional training. They won't be working unsupervised.
"The parents of the child, who were notified as well, were happy with the assurances we have given them and the child is still at the pre-school."
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