'Children wander around sobbing': Nursery rated Inadequate

Clever Clogs Day Nursery

Clever Clogs Day Nursery in Brentwood. - Credit: Google Maps

A Brentwood nursery has apologised after it was dropped from Good overall to Inadequate following its latest Ofsted inspection.  

Clever Clogs Day Nursery was previously declared Good by Ofsted in April 2019, but its latest inspection held on November 18 saw it drop to the education regulator's lowest rating.

In response to this, a nursery spokesperson said: “Despite our collective efforts to digest and take stock of these deeply unsatisfying judgements, we recognise and acknowledge that at the time of these judgements the company wide performance was unacceptable and we whole heartedly apologise for such significant failures.” 

After Ofsted’s latest inspection on November 14, the nursery was rated Inadequate across the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management.  

The report said: "Children are put at risk of harm and their needs are not met. At times, children receive no attention from staff who are too busy to notice them. This is because ratios are poorly maintained.   

“Children wander around sobbing and staff do not make attempts to reassure them, or offer them comfort for a considerable period of time.”   

The nursery spokesperson said that the “adverse judgements” made by Ofsted have been a “catalyst for a companywide process of self-reflection, ownership and accountability”.  

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They added: “We would like to assure our families and the public that all welfare notifications received in relation to the safeguarding of our children and premises have now been achieved and received sign off in December by the auditing bodies which now enables us to concentrate on the journey from Inadequate to Good.”  

Inspectors found “children do not have secure attachments to staff” and also said “children are often extremely bored".   

An issue with lack of staff was highlighted, and the report said the staff present “either struggle to engage children or completely ignore them.”  

It added: “Consequently, children are rolling around on the floor, showing no interest and displaying poor behaviour. This has a negative impact on children's motivation to learn.”  

The report further stated that “leaders and staff show complete disregard for children’s safety and welfare”. 

The nursery spokesperson said they will “continue to be transparent” with families and stakeholders as they begin the “recovery journey”.  

In light of the downgraded rating, Ofsted set the nursery a list of improvements to work on, which included ensuring children are safeguarded by staff and the ratio of children to staff is suitable to properly supervise the children.   

The report also asked the provider to monitor if staff have understood the training they have completed on children’s development and implementing a better system to monitor staff performance.   

In light of the inspection's findings, the nursery has appointed a new director and senior management team.  

The spokesperson added: “There is much work to be done but those of the amazing staff and management team that have remained with us are motivated, positive and enthused about the journey from Inadequate to Good that we are about to embark on.

“The local authority has been incredibly supportive and are an integral part of our improvement planning, providing training and monitoring in specific areas throughout the phased action plan of 2022.”  

Ofsted will continue to audit the nursery’s recovery, and in a letter dated December 24, the regulator confirmed the provider has met the safeguarding and welfare actions raised and said that it is still registered with the governing body.