Parents’ fury as Ofsted shuts King’s Lynn nursery

Education news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Education news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
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A Lynn nursery has been closed down after inspectors ruled that staff had failed to ensure the safety of the children in their care.

But parents of youngsters who attended the Jack and Jill nursery, which operated at the Providence Street community centre, have vowed to fight the decision from Ofsted.

They insist the move is unjustified and has left their children in limbo with a lack of available alternative provision nearby.

One of the affected parents, Tanya Clews, said yesterday: “My daughter asks every day, ‘When can I go back?’ Talking to the other parents, it’s the same for them.”

Although parents say they were first informed of the decision to close the nursery last month, Ofsted’s explanation for the ruling was only published on its website at the weekend.

The inspection body said it had received information from an outside agency in April claiming that the nursery had failed to report “significant safeguarding concerns about a child in their care.”

Officials did not investigate the specific complaint, but did look at whether the nursery was meeting welfare requirements relating to child protection.

The statement continued: “We carried out two visits to the premises and found that the provider had not followed their own safeguarding procedures and had failed to identify safeguarding concerns and implement effective procedures to keep children safe.

“Following our investigation, we took steps to cancel the provider’s registration.

“The provider objected to our notice of intention to cancel their registration. This objection was not upheld.”

Ofsted also claimed the nursery had not lodged an appeal against the decision to cancel its registration.

The nursery’s owner, Lucy Masters, said that, although she had reported the issue which triggered the investigation, officials deemed she had not followed proper procedures as she did not report the matter when she first became aware of it.

She said that was because she was liaising with the family concerned and, when it was referred to higher authorities, they concluded there was no case to investigate.

Mrs Masters said: “My judgement was right because I know my families. I work with them and support them.”

She said she had not appealed because she had allowed her staff to find other jobs.

But she fears she may have fallen foul of wider concerns about children’s services in Norfolk. The publication of an Ofsted report into the county was delayed last week.

She said: “Everyone is running scared trying to make sure they look like they’re doing their jobs properly.”

Miss Clews said they were waiting for a response from Ofsted to complaints about the decision and a request for a meeting with inspectors.

Twenty-five youngsters had been due to return to the nursery at the start of the new term earlier this month.

And Miss Clews said: “All the other nurseries are full so that poses a problem. Very few have managed to get their children into other nurseries.”

A Facebook campaign, Save Jack and Jill Nursery KL, has been set up. North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has also been asked to investigate.