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Nursery to take on Ofsted over safety criticism

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A NURSERY in Thornton Heath rated inadequate by Ofsted for "seriously jeopardising the safety of children" says it is lodging a formal complaint about the watchdog.

Last week, Victory Day School in Woodville Road was given the rating for breaching its legal duty by "repeatedly failing to protect children's safety".

However, solicitors Icon Paralegal Services (IPS) are acting on behalf of the nursery's directors and governors who believe the report "is not objective and factual".

Ofsted suspended the nursery's operations on July 9 because inspectors were concerned children were "at risk of harm". But IPS said Ofsted's subsequent inspection could not be objective because they came with a "premeditated decision" that the nursery was putting children in danger.

"It is pertinent to note that Victory Day School has been in existence since 1994 and has maintained a positive reputation in their provision of services," the solicitors said.

After the suspension in early July, the nursery took legal action against the watchdog. According to IPS, after a preliminary hearing on July 18, Ofsted accepted an "out of court settlement" and the suspension was lifted on July 29.

An Ofsted spokesman confirmed: "Victory Day School did make an appeal against our decision to suspend their registration but subsequently withdrew their application."

However, the nursery is now pursuing a formal complaint "to ensure that the injustice and personal opinions which beclouded a sense of objective judgment does not happen to any other school", according to lawyers.

IPS claimed the Ofsted inspector's team did not actually witness many of the activities mentioned in the report, and filed a number of inaccuracies about the nursery because views of the parents and children were not collected as party of the inspection.

The solicitors said parents "had made a mockery of the inspection" by returning their children to the nursery and that there was no "risk of harm", it added.

The Ofsted report focused on a number of fire hazards at the nursery.

The inspector, Linda du Preez, wrote: "The kitchen does not have a fire door to contain any fire, giving children and staff in the adjoining play area time to escape.

"Fire evacuation procedures are not well considered because the identified assembly point is located in the garden, which has no gates or exit routes.

"This seriously jeopardises the safety of children, staff and others on the premises in an emergency situation.

The private day nursery is owned and managed by Star Seed Education Affairs Limited, and has nine staff to care for 18 children.

The report also heavily criticised the nursery's leadership for failing to understand they were even putting children in danger, and not managing their behaviour.

Ms du Preez said she also rated the teaching of older pupils as poor ,and was concerned about the management of children's behaviour.

Dotun Akinwole, trustee of Star Seed, said he strongly disagreed with the report and thought the nursery had been "misrepresented".

Nursery to take on Ofsted over safety criticism


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