Children’s nursery in Whittlesey is told it is inadequate for having untrained staff who post children’s details on social media

Sweet Pea Nursery, Whittlesey

Sweet Pea Nursery, Whittlesey - Credit: Archant

A children’s nursery has been warned it is “inadequate” after inspectors discovered three staff were unqualified and children’s photos, names and sometimes dates of birth had been posted on the nursery’s social media pages.

The Facebook page for Sweet Pea Nursery, which is run from the scout hut in Whittlesey, has since been taken offline, but Ofsted inspector Veronica Sharpe, said of the setting that: “Safeguarding is not effective.”

She said: “The provider has not taken into account the risks to children of posting their names, images and sometimes their dates of birth on her business social media page.

“She seeks permission from parents to post photographs. However, the provider has not secured her page or made it clear to parents what the potential harm is when photographs are shared with a wider audience.

“Staff use their personal mobile phones to take photographs of the children.

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“Staff understand the signs of a child at risk of abuse or neglect and attend regular training.

“However they are not clear about reporting procedures if an allegation is made against a member of staff.

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“Children are not always engaged in purposeful play and, occasionally demonstrate unsafe behaviour, such as swinging a toy around until it hits other children.”

Ofsted inspector Ms Sharpe inspected the setting at the end of January as a result of: “the risk assessment process following information received by Ofsted.”

She said Sweet Pea, in Inhams Road, was registered in 2015 and employed three members of staff, none of whom had any childcare qualifications.

The owner, Wendy Whitwell, who also manages the setting, holds a relevant qualification at level three, she said.

Inspector Ms Sharpe said: “Staff do not always deploy themselves effectively to ensure children’s safety, promote their emotional well-being and support their learning experiences.

“On occasions incidents and accidents go unreported.

“At times the organisation of routines is poor.

“Noise levels in the nursery are sometimes high, which adversely affects children’s ability to concentrate. The nursery does not support children to make good progress in their learning.

On a positive Ms Sharpe said that: “Parents indicate they are pleased with the nursery provision,

“Some good teaching does take place. Staff engage children well in spontaneous activities.

“Children develop the basic skills they need for school.”

They were rated “inadequate” for leadership and management, behaviour and welfare and “requires improvement” for quality of teaching and outcomes for children.

The nursery caters for children from babies to age 10. It has 24 places and 57 children on its books.

Sweet Pea Nursery manager Ms Whitwell said: “We were disappointed to see the outcome of the OFSTED report as the wellbeing of the children we look after is paramount to us and we work closely with parents to provide the best care we can.

“We have immediately carried out all the improvements asked for by the inspectors, including looking at reducing noise levels and we have removed our Facebook page, to meet the 20 February deadline. We have also reviewed and renewed our policies and carried out further staff training.

“The nursery is working closely with the County Council to make sure we benefit from best practice in safeguarding.

“After 16 years of child minding our ethos continues to be to make sure the children we look after are cared for in the best possible way and we look forward to meeting OFSTED again to show the improvements we have made.”

• Mrs Whitwell ran a nursery from her home in Glenfields, Whittlesey, for 11 years until 2013/4 when the business was threatened with closure. It came following complaints from neighbours, about noise and congestion, caused by parents dropping off and picking up their children.

• Fenland District Council planning officers said the semi detached house in Glenfields could no longer be considered residential and an application by Wendy and Andy Whitwell for retrospective planning consent was refused.

• The application was supported by Whittlesey Town Council.

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