The Lydia Bishop case - the verdicts are in. The consequence - a fine.

(30 Posts)

I am really struggling with this case. Briefly Lydia Bishop was a 3yr old child who on her first day attending a previously well regarded nursery, was found tangled in a rope on a slide. She died. The subsequent trial saw the College who provided the nursery on it's site prosecuted for health and safety breaches and a nursery nurse who found her on the slide prosecuted for manslaughter by gross negligence. The jury found the college guilty and the nurse not guilty. I have no quarrel with either of the verdicts. In my view the nurse was negligent but so was everybody in the nursery that day.
For the college though - the sentence will be passed next week and available is an unlimited fine. This is the bit I can't get my head round. The college authorities allowed a play setting where something desperately unsafe was commonplace - tying a rope to a slide. They allowed a setting where the slide was blocked off by a barrier the kids could go round AND they enabled a setting where a child was missing for up to 20 minutes before anyone noticed. This same college received an Outstanding grade from Ofsted last month. I just don't know how Lydia's parents are supposed to feel like they have justice. Is a fine for an organisation anywhere near enough?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 07-Feb-14 17:45:54

I hadn't heard of this, how awful.
I don't think anything that can happen now will bring their daughter back.

No of course not but it just seems so little as an outcome.

notjustamummythankyou Fri 07-Feb-14 17:55:51

I think we're from the same town, northern. I agree with everything you say. It's little comfort to the parents that merely a fine will be the final outcome.

I just don't get how it was OK to tie a 16m rope to a slide in the first place. What on earth were they thinking??

its ironic that the college achieved 'outstanding' at the same time as receiving this verdict. While its natural to shout about that success, I hope they play it down at this time. It would be distasteful in the extreme to do anything else.

I think there's no chance of them playing that down. It's up there on the website, right above the statement about this case.

and yes this case is local to me.

PennyCooper Fri 07-Feb-14 21:03:24

I just can't understand it. Have they made them change anything? Staff changes? New manager? Or is it just a fine?

PennyCooper Fri 07-Feb-14 21:07:13

Oh I see they have closed the nursery. But no staff will be punished even though they didn't supervise properly. It's wrong.

WhiskyTangoFoxtrot Fri 07-Feb-14 21:10:02

BBC article here.

It said the nursery had 'since been closed'. Does that mean the premises are now being used by a completely different nursery?

No, the nursery was closed the day this happened. At first the college said it would be re-opening but then (when I assume it became clear they would be prosecuted) they closed it permanently. It's just sitting there atm. I think they'll have to bulldoze it tbh.
So that's it - a child died in a completely foreseeable and preventable incident and the result is a fine. I find this very hard to accept.

justlittlemehere Fri 07-Feb-14 23:09:22

Totally agree with you that it seems too little. I'm local too so, uncomfortably, sit somewhat between the parties involved but it did make me ask what does a professional looking after a child have to do in order to be deemed as 'failing to take reasonable care'? I didn't see what good would come from a custodial sentence but it seems wrong to me that this is the outcome. I just hate the idea that my childcare provider, just a few minutes away from this, now closed nursery, could not see my son for 20 or 40 minutes and still be 'taking reasonable care'. Frightening.
I was choosing a provider, after Lydia's death, and asked a nursery about outdoor play supervision (but so had Lydia's mother). I was told that staff 'can always sort of see them because of the windows but aren't always with them' when they played outdoors 'it's all about ratios so if only one or two go out we can't go with them or the numbers are wrong'. I asked if they were familiar with the case and the woman showing us around replied 'yes, we have several of the children from that nursery here now'...

JessePinkmanIsMine Fri 07-Feb-14 23:49:25

It's incredibly upsetting. What gets me is the fact the mum was concerned about unsupervised outdoor play and was reassured, basically lied to, and loses her child as a result. And they get a fine that they will soon forget about. It's really sad and it's not right.

Gladvent Fri 07-Feb-14 23:53:46

A fine? That's it? Surely there is some sort of corporate manslaughter law where the directors of the organisation could go to jail?

Poor Lydia. Poor family.

Dd3 had finished at nursery when this happened but I saw the manager by chance. She said she couldn't understand how this happened, how ropes could ever have been there - and I totally believed her. She was a mother herself, in childcare for many years and she simply would not have permitted this situation to arise. I agree - what is 'reasonable care' if you can allow a child to be in an ultimately fatal situation for 20 minutes without noticing. It's so desperately sad.

No gladvent, it appears not, The college weren't even charged with her manslaughter, just with failing to ensure the safety of children I think.

lilyaldrin Sat 08-Feb-14 00:05:16

justlittlemehere - that is shocking! I can't imagine a nursery allowing children to play outside unsupervised with just adults watching them through windows - I would report that immediately to Ofsted actually.

Headline in the York Press today is 'York College apologises'. It's just not enough.

justlittlemehere Sat 08-Feb-14 11:14:57

Needless to say, our visit didn't last long lilyaldrin and i made my views known. Apparently the level of view through the windows is technically adequate!!!! Obviously nobody expects a child to die while playing but anyone who knows children knows they can easily choke on things, eat unpleasant things, get stung by insects (sometimes having a serious reaction), fall and hurt themselves etc. Even this situation with Lydia is sort of understandable in active play but the reason it went so tragically wrong is due to lack of supervision. But what is reasonable care huh? I also agree that it seems wrong that the law has no power to make an actual representative of the college stand in the dock and answer for this situation. Obviously nobody wins but have lessons even been learned from Lydia and her family's suffering?

I have some health and safety responsibilities and have done some IOSH training. I suspect in the future this case will be a much quoted example - because it tragically shows what happens when you fill in all the paperwork but fail to engage common sense and maintain vigilance. So yes the case probably will save other lives. But that does nothing for the family. But then what could?

MissYamabuki Sat 08-Feb-14 11:23:28

Agree with you op. Was shocked when i first heard of the case and more shocked now at the verdict. Every parent's nightmare, a little life lost and the result is a fine and an apology from the college - they all go home to get on with their lives. How can this verdict ever bring justice, or closure?

So so sad sad

justlittlemehere Sat 08-Feb-14 11:34:37

NorthernLurker I don't doubt it will be a case quoted in training for many years but my concern is that it doesn't seem to have changed practice too much, even in the locality. Ironically, the theory practice gap between what we say we do on paper and what we actually do in practice was a major factor in this case and yet even while we all still commiserate with Brad and Becky the daily practice remains unchanged. Very worrying. I hope you are right and that my experience is isolated because failing to learn from mistakes on this scale is really unthinkable, not to mention hideously disrespectful x

lilyaldrin Sat 08-Feb-14 11:49:52

I really doubt supervising children through windows is even "technically" sufficient. I have worked in early years for a long time and never come across any nursery doing so.

justlittlemehere Sat 08-Feb-14 12:01:32

Thanks Lilyaldrin, I'll follow it up again - it's worried me since my visits x

The fine amount has been announced - £175,000 + costs. I find that laughable tbh angry Story here

SummersDumbAsPie Sun 16-Feb-14 23:27:04

It's so wrong. I can't believe the college had the cheek to deny the charge. It's really upsetting.

HollyHB Mon 17-Feb-14 00:15:08

> It's so wrong. I can't believe the college had the cheek to deny the charge. It's really upsetting.

They probably had no choice but were required by their insurance company to allow the insurance company's lawyer plead on their behalf. The fines won't be paid by the insurance company (that would be illegal), but the legal costs and the cost of closing down of the nursery will be - in substantial part. And the nursery closed down because the insurance policy was in all likelihood revoked soon after the event.

I'm not sure why the sentence is laughable. What should it have been?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now