surely this can't be right? aibu to complain to head of nursery group ?

(34 Posts)
Fairylea Mon 14-Jan-13 12:30:14

I am considering returning to work and dh and k went with ds aged 7 months to go and have a look at our local day nursery. Ds would be 11 months ish if I decided to return.

This is not a nursery bashing thread. My dd now aged 9 attended nursery for 3 days a week from about 9months and she absolutely thrived and settled in well, it was a purpose built nursery with separate rooms for babies and toddlers and a special sleeping room. She settled in quickly and stayed until she was 3. She still has fond memories.

The nursery we visited today was awful and I actually left and started crying! Ds certainly won't be going there!

It was one huge room with a tiny sectioned off bit for babies literally about 8ft by 12ft, basically fenced off by wooden fencing of no higher than a foot if that. The babies had no adult in with them, no visible toys to play with and one of them was trying to sleep on a mat on the floor (fair enough but ds won't sleep unless he has a dark room).

On the other side of the room were 17 toddlers. All not doing much of anything except wandering about. And 4 members of staff. One of who showed us about.

2 of the babies were clearly unsettled and one little boy just walking began crying and saying "mamma" and no one went over to him! The woman we talked to eventually said to him "not now. Later" and ignored him again! I would be horrified if that was my son. I would have expected her to at least pick him up while talking to us.

In the end I ended up stroking his head and telling him it would be ok - I couldn't help.myself.

I came.out feeling very sad. Surely this nursery should be doing a lot better?

I didn't feel any of them cared about the babies at all. I felt ds would just be ignored.

I want to complain and will do but I needed to vent. Surely it can't be right. Also the baby area had things all over the floor - even pieces of raw apple - major choking hazard and no one watching the babies rolling about.

I'm so upset and angry.

Again I know not all nurseries are like this but t I feel sad that the mums of those babies probably don't know how much they're being ignored.

We peeked in the window on our way back through the town and the little boy walking about was still crying and clutching his blanket sad

Fairylea Mon 14-Jan-13 12:31:19

Sorry for hideous spelling errors. My phone is awful.

Fairylea Mon 14-Jan-13 12:32:31

Not to drip feed - nursery is rated excellent by offstead!

Lambzig Mon 14-Jan-13 12:34:14

Heartbreaking for you to see, I would have been the same. It really doesnt sound right. What was the carer to child ratio? What does their OFSTED say (assuming they are OFSTED registered?).

Please look at another. My daughter goes to a lovely nursery where they seem to really love children (so much so that the downside is that lots of them go off on maternity leave for a while because working there makes them want children of their own),

You know what to do with that nursery.

We've had a similar experience with a couple of nurseries; one of them a firend went with but pulled out at her DD's first settling in session when she witnessed a baby boy crying and being ignored. We knew we'd made the right decision.

I would contact OFSTED about the choke hazard thing but I'm not sure what else you can do about the rest, other than be thankful that your baby won't be going there. Sometimes parents have to make choices based on what they can afford, is near public transport etc and this may be the best they can afford. sad

That doesn't sound right at all. Its difficult to say what to do really as you saw one snap shot of an entire day. However it does sound like a cold unstimulating environment and parents r paying a fortune to have their baby sit around doing nothing and trampling over another baby trying to sleep. I would probably speak to the manager as the children don't sound safe or looked after properly!

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 14-Jan-13 12:38:54

It would make me wonder what had happened since the nursery got it's outstanding rating, when was it rated?

I would ring Ofsted today. Not about the layout - I like a seperate nap room and have always gone for a nursery which offered that though - but because you saw children being ignored and potantially at risk.
Gut feeling is so important. I looked at a supposedly excellent nursery once and the room for dd1 was great. The rooms for dd2's age was bland and boring and no seperate nap zone. I went to look at another and it was totally different!

Fairylea Mon 14-Jan-13 12:46:42

Thank you for confirming how I feel. I admit I am a big softie so I did wonder if maybe I was being a bit daft but it really didn't seem right to me.

The OFSTEAD report was February last year and I can't understand how they could look at that environment and think it was okay. The minute dh and I walked in we just though no but thought we'd give it a chance.

The ratio for babies is supposed to be one to three but perhaps due to sickness (being kind here!) It didn't seem that way!

The babies were the worst bit as they seemed to have no cuddles, no interaction
It was like a Romanian orphanage experience as my dh put it! sad

I am going to write and complain this afternoon.

I came away feeling very sad and upset. I appreciate it was a snapshot of a day but I purposefully arrived a little earlier than I said I would be to see what it was really like and that seemed to be the norm!

The only toys I saw for the babies were a symbol on the floor, a half chewed dolly and that was really about it!

The woman didn't even make a fuss of our own little one which youd expect if you were wanting to place them there.

WantAnOrange Mon 14-Jan-13 12:47:37

OFSTED ratings aren't all that. I'm a childminder and worked hard for my rating (Good) and appreciate what you need to get an Outstanding but it's not enough to make a good nursery. Your gut feeling is far more important. No baby should ever be left to cry. I would complain. OFSTED will ask you to follow the nurseries complaints procedure then come back to them if their response is inadequate.

How old were the children? For 17 children I think they should have had more staff than that. You can check the Early Years Foundation Stage for staff:child ratio requirments. (available online)

FoxyRevenger Mon 14-Jan-13 12:49:23

I was meant to go back to work and leave DD at a nursery, but when I went back after her settling in session, there was a little girl on the floor, who had rolled onto her tummy and got stuck (you know that age). Everyone was ignoring her while she just howled, and I complained, left and found a lovely CM instead.

I felt sick at the thought of my child crying for help and nobody being bothered enough to comfort her.

MrsMelons Mon 14-Jan-13 13:00:49

The ratios are 1:4 for 2 year olds and 1:8 for 3 year olds. The ratios sound fine if they are a mixture of 2, 3 and 4 year olds (depending on the mix of course) and the staff were JUST looking after the toddlers (not the babies)

Regardless of staff sickness (if that was the case) you are NEVER allowed to have less adults than the required ratio although they may get away with it if they are all in one room but then 4 staff for the 17 toddlers plus the babies couldn't possibly be enough.

I agree that you should complain but not about the layout, obviously it would be preferable to have a dark sleeping room but it is not always possible in settings with one room due to the additional staff you would need.

I know you say it is only a snap shot of the day you saw but a setting should never be over their ratios EVER (admitedly you don't actually know the situation with the crying toddler - there may be a plan in place if the child has behavioural issues so its a bit hard to judge that). The ratios and dangerous treatment of babies should be enough to warrant a complaint to Ofsted - I am not sure how they stand with the complaints procedure given that you are not a parent there - maybe you could contact the local Early Years rep?

I actually feel a bit sick about this - this is why I do not trust Ofsted ratings at all! One of our rival local settings has an outstanding rating even though lots of children have left due to staff neglecting the children and leaving them outside alone on climbing equipment etc. I am glad I was involved in our DCs pre-school so I was confident of exactly what happened when I left the boys there!

Fairylea Mon 14-Jan-13 13:07:31

Foxy my ds is at that rolling and getting stuck age now... that sort of thing really worries me sad

Thanks for the information. It's good to know about the ratios. It didn't seem right. All the staff were out with the toddlers so I am assuming the woman who showed us round (the manager!) was looking after the babies !??... but there were 5 babies!

The 17 (and we counted them) so maybe one or two less or more bearing in mind they were active little children must have been 2-3 (the nursery is 0-5 but next to junior and infant school so children were not school age as term time).

MrsMelons Mon 14-Jan-13 13:17:00

There should really be a minimum of 2 staff (even for just 3 babies) but again as it is just one room legally they wouldn't actually have to sit next to the babies, that said they SHOULD be.

Some of the children could be 4 if there is not a separate pre-school room for them (who turned 4 after 31 Aug) but the ratio is still 1:8 for them. The staff numbers still do not add up, the registers and signing in sheets for the staff would prove this to Ofsted also.

Fairylea Mon 14-Jan-13 13:38:32

Ahhh that makes sense about the room etc.. maybe that's how they get round it a bit???

Definitely going to be telling ofsted about lack of staff.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 14-Jan-13 13:49:07

I found there was a huge difference between nurseries when I looked.
The first I looked at had a baby room where there were no toys and it was very sterile and a preschool room that was like a year 3 classroom. That was crossed of the list.
The nursery I finally choose had a toddler room that looked like a toy bomb had exploded, a baby room with lots of bright colours, plastic mirrors at baby height and lovely baby toys and finally a preschool with a permanent painting area, a box corner (yes hundreds of cardboard boxes to do imaginative things with) and a lovely squashy sofa for everyone to cuddle up on for a story.

FrenchJunebug Mon 14-Jan-13 14:13:29

you need to email ofsted as soon as possible. For a start the ratio of staff/kids is illegal. I don't think a nap room is a must and none of the nurseries my son is going to has one but the rest sends shiver down my spine that kids are treated like this.

MrsMelons Mon 14-Jan-13 14:16:44

If there were more than 4 two year olds in that room then they were not within ratio. The chances of this must be slim if they take the children from babies. Some must be 18-23 months also so this is also 1:3 ratio I believe.

If you look on the Ofsted website then you can e-mail complaints. I sometimes find this easier as you have a better trail.

MrsMelons Mon 14-Jan-13 14:23:00

Just to be clear on how I calculated that;

5 babies - needs 2 members of staff
5 two year olds - needs 2 members of staff
12 3/4 year olds needs 2 members of staff

You can use spare capacity from a lower age group but this doesn't actually alter the numbers by much.

It is not 100% clear that they were not within ratio but I would be fairly surprised if they were.

BlackholesAndRevelations Mon 14-Jan-13 14:26:56

This has made me really sad sad poor babies. I would have to complain to ofsted or if it's a chain, head office.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Mon 14-Jan-13 14:42:28

If i was sending a baby to nursery i'd atleast want to know he or she was getting a affection, Babies and toddlers need cuddles from the people who look after them to ensure they are secure.

My DD's nursery was brilliant, the staff, where friendly, kind and really engaging with the kids, i couldnt fault them.

Fairylea Mon 14-Jan-13 14:51:21

I agree with all of you. Cuddles are an essential. The main thing for me really was the lack of affection. It seemed so cold emotionally.

I have written and complained. I don't know whether I will hear back or not but I needed to say something.

I agree that the separate room for sleeping isn't the end of the world .. I think that's just my own worries about ds settling in because I know he wouldn't sleep at all in a bright busy room like that. But I do realise there's nothing "wrong" in that particular point.

Thanks for the comments and advice.

firawla Mon 14-Jan-13 14:55:49

that sounds horrible, i saw a nursery similar to that in that i accidently went to wrong door when i was coming to look round so was waiting for a few min b4 they knew i'd come - all i could hear from inside was crying, crying... when i went in they never really acknowledged my ds at all, and toddlers who were in the nursery came up and started talking to me, as if they were desperate for attention and never got that much interaction from the nursery workers!
yet i know of people saying this nursery is supposed to be good confused

hope you find something much better, and good on you for sending them your thoughts hopefully they will improve

MrsMelons Mon 14-Jan-13 15:03:36

DS2 was fairly accident prone and the treatment for him on most of his forms was TLC - its just want little ones need 99% of the time!

I feel so sorry for those children, I hope Ofsted take you seriously!

OnwardBound Mon 14-Jan-13 16:25:55

I would report what you saw to Ofsted OP.

I would feel so sad to imagine one of my children in that sort of environment and it's quite possible that some of the parents don't really know what is going on.

However ime some parents seem more focused on whether their nursery provides organic food and teaches French rather than the vital stuff re caring warm staff providing a safe and happy environment for their child...

I remember when I went with a friend of mine to pick up her DS from a nursery in SE London. My friend was happy with her choice of nursery and admittedly the staff did seem very pleasant. But I was struck by the horrible little room for the babies which had fluorescent lighting and some of the children were penned up in this playpen and it just looked miserable.

And it only had a tiny little playground attached which was all concreted. The staff did take them to the local park for walks, I frequented that park and often saw them out. But the little ones were all hooked up to each other and a main carer [about 4 or 5 to each nursery worker] and the staff were all walking along at a fairly fast past discussing their weekend and not really interacting with their charges at all. And so there was no stopping to look at the ducks or just meander like little ones enjoy. I know it must be difficult with so many little ones to look after but still... sad

I am sure that some nurseries are very good and have much more interaction and thinking about what the children need emotionally as well as physically.
But I ended up choosing a CM for the more personalised and 'family' relationship they were able to provide.

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