Whittlesey nursery that offers children a ‘buffet’ lunch of crisps and mini sausages is ranked as inadequate by Ofsted

Sweet Pea Nursery, Whittlesey

Sweet Pea Nursery, Whittlesey - Credit: Archant

A Whittlesey nursery that offers children a “buffet style” lunch of crisps, mini sausages and buttered bread has been slammed by Ofsted for not offering healthy food, weak teaching and failing to improve since their last inspection.

Sweet Pea Nursery, which is run from the scout hut in Whittlesey, was ranked as inadequate across the board in leadership, management, teaching, learning, personal development and outcomes for children.

The privately-owned nursery was criticised for their lunch buffet laid out on a side table – where children help themselves and “some return to their seats with lots of crisps and other less healthy foods.”

The findings have plummeted from just 12 months ago, when inspectors warned it required improvement.

“Staff do not provide children with healthy, balanced and nutritious food at mealtimes. For example, at lunchtime, staff lay out crisps, buttered bread, mini sausages and other ‘buffet’ style foods on a side table and encourage children to help themselves.

“While this helps to promote children’s independence, staff do not monitor what children take and some children return to their chairs with lots of crisps and other less healthy foods,” inspector Tracey Dawson says.

It was also noted that the nursery does not provide activities that “effectively challenge and extend children’s learning” and staff supervision was not effective.

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The report states: “Weaknesses in the quality of teaching and staff practice have a significant impact on children’s ability to make suitable progress in their learning and development. Staff do not organise activities well.

“Children’s learning and progress are hindered due to weakness in the quality of teaching and the educational programme. Despite this, children learn some skills to support their eventual move to school.

“In addition, the manager has not identified that activities staff organise for children, including planned group times, are disorganised and do not take into account all children’s ages and stages of development. Self-evaluation is ineffective. The manager does not reflect on all aspects of practice to identify key weaknesses effectively.”

However, the nursery was commended for the way staff manage children’s behaviour and their close relationships with parents, who say they “happy” with the service they receive.

The nursery was registered in 2015, employs five members of staff and has 45 children on the roll.

The inspection took place on June 25.