Nursery to carry on despite shock report

Mandy Woolford, owner of Skools Out/Skools Inn child care centre
Mandy Woolford, owner of Skools Out/Skools Inn child care centre

The owner of a Fleetwood nursery has vowed to carry on despite being found ‘inadequate’ in all areas by Ofsted.

Skool’s Out/Skool’s Inn child care centre on Poulton Road, Fleetwood, failed to provide effective leadership, high-quality teaching and positive outcomes for children and did not properly promote personal development and good behaviour according to a report published by the education watchdog on Wednesday.

The damning report marks a fall from grace for the centre, which is open to pre-school-age children and primary school pupils, after it was praised as ‘good’ by the education watchdog in its last inspection in June 2012.

Owner Mandy Woolford has promised to continue the service, despite Lancashire County Council announcing that it is set to withdraw funding in accordance with rules that state that council-funded early education places must be up to scratch.

Mrs Woolford said: “Our setting is not closed by any means and over 15 children will continue to attend our pre-school in September.

“All parents have been informed and strongly disagree with their findings, and have taken it upon themselves to arrange petitions and complaints to Ofsted themselves.”

She challenged Ofsted’s ruling that ‘robust safeguarding procedures are not in place’, and that staff are ‘unsure of the appropriate authorities they must contact’ in case of an emergency.

She said: “This question was asked to only one member of student staff who did indeed answer the question correctly after prompting from the inspector. All staff have attended a safeguarding course only two months ago.”

She also challenged the report’s conclusion that ‘staff have a limited understanding of learning and development requirements’ and that the assessment of children’s progress was ‘not accurate enough’.

She said: “Every parent within our setting disagrees with this statement and have made complaints to Ofsted relating to the fact they feel this is completely inaccurate. “A 15-minute observation of a member of staff with a group of children does not justify the learning some of them have achieved over the last two years in our care.”

She added: “We are fully aware that our setting needs improving from a paperwork point of view This report has absolutely no reflection on the care the children have received.

“Every child matters and we do our very best to provide the best care we can to the children of Fleetwood and will continue to do so from September onwards.

“We look forward to our next Ofsted inspection within the next six months.”

A council spokesman said: “All childcare settings in Lancashire who want to offer free early education places sign a funding agreement with us. This agreement states very clearly that where an ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, or ‘satisfactory’ provider is given an ‘inadequate’ rating, we will withdraw the funding that we give them.

“The bottom line is that we won’t fund places that aren’t considered to be good enough by Ofsted. Ofsted is independent from LCC, and this is their judgement, that we abide by.

“We strive to make sure that early education in Lancashire is something that we can be proud of.”