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Inspectors' report reveals tots at Renfrewshire nursery are "unsettled" and "distressed"

A scathing report has revealed children at an Erskine nursery have “limited opportunities” and are “unsettled and distressed”.

Happitots Erskine has been slammed by the Care Inspectorate following a recent visit – with inspectors raising concerns about the wellbeing of children in the care of the facility.

Following an unannounced visit last month, the watchdog has ordered a raft of improvements after rating the nursery as ‘weak’ across the four areas it was assessed in.

The key messages from the report included that children had limited opportunities to lead their play throughout the day; that medication processes must be improved to ensure children’s safety; and that staff need more support in the purpose of the personal plan – including strategies, the next steps and how to support children.

During the visit, the inspectors spoke with children at the nursery, reviewed survey responses from parents and carers using the service, spoke with staff and management and observed practice and the facilities.

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In a detailed probe, inspectors found children would “benefit” from a broader range of “stimulating play resources to support and enhance their learning”.

Inspectors noted that the nursery, operated by Enchanted Forest Nursery Limited, used the parent zone app to share information with parents – this included daily information such as personal care, sleep routines and meals.

Of the parents and carers who responded to the watchdog’s survey, 54.7 per cent said they strongly disagreed or disagreed that they were fully involved and informed about their child’s learning and development.

Some parent comments included, “the lack of updates provided is concerning” while another parent said: “Have received updates on parent zone app timeline for my child when they have not been in nursery that day”.

Concerns were raised regarding safe evacuation procedures after play materials obstructed one fire exit door in a playroom and children’s personal belongings restricted clear access to the fire exit in the cloakroom area.

The report stated: “The overall nursery environment did not effectively support high-quality play and learning for children. There were limited stimulating materials to create exciting and inviting play spaces.”

However, it was noted that most staff were “kind, caring and respectful in their interactions with children”.

Staff knowledge of infection prevention and control (IPC) practices needs to improve as inspectors observed “ineffective hand hygiene practices by staff, inappropriate use of PPE and inconsistent cleaning of surfaces, including during mealtimes and at the end of the day”.

The nursery’s leadership and staff team was also slammed as ‘weak’ as there was “insufficient staffing” at critical times of the day; poor infection prevention and control practices; poor quality of children’s play and learning experiences and environments; and poor quality assurance processes.

It was noted that management was “aware” of some of the watchdog’s concerns before the inspection.

However, the report stated “there was no action taken” and that inspectors “would expect a leadership team with the capacity and willingness to make improvements to act when required promptly”.

A spokesperson for Happitots Erskine told the Paisley Daily Express: “We take the report from the Care Inspectorate incredibly seriously and are disappointed with their findings.

“A robust improvement action plan has been drawn up, while the team have already begun a six-week training programme to address the issues raised in the inspection including best practice on mealtimes and medication as well as safe environments and risk assessments.

“As part of our desire to improve, we are working closely with the Care Inspectorate who have agreed to make support visits to help us progress.

“Like many other nurseries across the UK, recruitment and staffing has been a significant issue for us. We have a relatively new team, and our focus is to support their development, whilst also finding new staff to help us provide quality childcare and education.

“We were pleased the inspector noted staff were kind, caring and respectful in interactions with the children and hope to build on these traits with them.”

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