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Would ibu to contact Ofsted? Seriously bemused by their grading system.

(28 Posts)
ifgrandmahadawilly Wed 25-Nov-15 11:32:06

A few months ago, when I was looking for childcare for my 20 month old, I visited a local nursery. They had a banner outside advertising their Ofsted rating as 'Outstanding'.

The place was absolutely shocking. At the time I reasoned that maybe their Ofsted rating had been given a few years ago and the place had just deteriorated since then. However, this week I have walked past the building on my way home from work and they have a brand new sign up saying 'Rated Outstanding 2015 - 2016'. confused.

The last visit left me so saddened and upset that I did think about contacting Ofsted. I talked myself out of it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, would my opinion bare any weight, as I've never actually used the nursery? Secondly, it's hard to put into words what exactly was so 'off' about the place - it was just a culmination of small things. However, the experience has just played on my mind ever since and I feel so sorry for any of the babies that have to bet left there.

Here's a summation of my experience of the nursery (sorry, it's looong).

During the visit, neither the staff member showing me around, nor any of the other staff showed the least bit of interest in my daughter, not even saying hello.

My first impression of the toddler room downstairs was - Rundown, messy (toys strewn all over the floor), Disorganised (baskets of toys literally stacked up to the ceiling), cramped, generally a bit 'meh' but nothing too bad. The toddlers were all taking part in a singing and dancing session at the time but the activities they had previously been engaged with were still set up on the tables with staff making no effort to tidy / put them away.

The Outdoor area was good.

Then, however, they took me upstairs to the baby room (under 2's). Oh-my-word. It was gob-smackingly bad. There were 4 babies plonked in bouncers (one of them asleep) around a single toy with staff paying them no attention whatsoever and gossiping amongst themselves. There was a little boy who had crawled off on his own, also getting no attention There was a nap area you could see into. During the twenty minutes I was there, one of the children had been awake, standing up in their cot the whole time but it was only as I was leaving that a staff member noticed (the reason I was there for twenty minutes is that a staff member went to find me a prospectus but couldn't locate one).

The babies all looked completely miserable and un-stimualted. There was a serious shortage of toys and the place looked dingy and grubby. There was a notice board up with pictures of activities the children had taken part in and some comments but even these seemed a bit half-arsed.

When I asked about daily routine, I was told that they 'do stuff with them, of course' hmm. Asking about food, they told me that 'dinner could be a slice of pizza or some soup' WTAF?

Laughingly, they were charging £52 a day.

Is there anything I can do?

araiba Wed 25-Nov-15 11:40:10

find a different nursery?

CheshireDing Wed 25-Nov-15 11:50:40

TBH if it made me feel sad and shocked I would complain to OFSTED. Let's face it if OFSTED check and it's okay then so be it, if not then you did the right thing.

ifgrandmahadawilly Wed 25-Nov-15 11:58:03

ARAIBA - I've been using a really amazing childminder. I'm just concerned for the children who are at this nursery.

catfordbetty Wed 25-Nov-15 12:07:13

Ofsted is now a completely useless organisation IMO and its gradings are frequently unreliable. Trust your own judgement about a suitable place for your child. If you have the time and can be bothered, do contact Ofsted but, honestly, I think it would be wasted effort.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Wed 25-Nov-15 12:08:36

The bit when you said about those babies looking miserable and unstimulated. Has really upset. Poor little lambs. No baby should be feeling miserable. I also feel heartily sorry for their parent/,s as well. Who sadly musdt not be aware of what is going on. The bottom line is. No one wants to put their bsby/toddler in a nursery, so the least the staff can do is to make it as fun and stimulating as possible for their little ones. And let's not forget child care is not cheap.
You say they showed no interest in your DD, well that would definitely be the deal breaker for me. If they're ignoring her with you there and on her first visit. Just imagine what they'd be like with her after you've gone . I trust though that you're not sending her there in any case.
Staff gossiping. As apose to stimulating the children, so obviously not concentrating on them . A serious safe guarding issue for a start.
We do "stuff" with .them. Well what stuff could they not have been more specific. And by the looks of it. I highly doubt they do so stuff with them . If they're standing around gossiping when a parent is present. You don't honestly think they're acting like Mary Poppins when no parents are about do you.
About the Ofsted grade I'm not at all surprised. For the simple reason as we all know they have a rough idea when Ofsted are due to visit, so for that period they would have their 'grease psint' on. If Ofsted just went in unannounced like today for example and saw babies and parents being ignored. Safety of the children being disregarded. No toys to stimulate them and the staff very clearly not enhancing their learning that theyd get graded outstanding.!!!!. Infsct its very possible Ofsted would say. Call all your parents. You're no longer in operation.
I personally would call Ofsted to be honest. I'm sure tgeryd follow up your concerns. Well itsv not actually a case of me being sure. Legally they have to. I'm not sure if they'd tell you out come though.

slicedfinger Wed 25-Nov-15 12:13:21

I'm actually not convinced they would take you seriously since you only visited, but don't actually use the place. Inspections do sometimes mean more about the paperwork being in order than what they actually do I suspect.

ThomasRichard Wed 25-Nov-15 12:36:48

I contacted OFSTED after I visited a childminder and the house was so filthy I wouldn't put my DD down to crawl. So yes, I would.

DD goes to a truly superb nursery that was recently assessed as 'requires improvement' by OFSTED hmm

Overrunwithlego Wed 25-Nov-15 12:47:43

I'd probably recommend looking at their inspection framework - this will set out specifically the areas they look at so you can see what aspect your comments would come under, and what else they take into account that you won't be in a position to assess.

But that is depressing and I suppose is the downside of any regulation - it is possible to an extent to put on a show for at least some areas that the inspection will look at.

Snossidge Wed 25-Nov-15 12:51:16

Did you read the Ofsted report? What did it say?

The toddler room stuff doesn't sound like a problem to me to be honest, but the babies being ignored does. I would call Ofsted and focus on the baby room - just be honest and factual about what you saw.

ifgrandmahadawilly Wed 25-Nov-15 13:03:18

Reading these replies, I think I will contact them. Even if it doesn't do any good, it can't do any harm, can it? They may have had similar reports from others?

ifgrandmahadawilly Wed 25-Nov-15 13:06:24

I haven't looked at their Ofsted report or inspection framework. I'll have a look to see if that sort of thing is available online.

Snossidge: You're right, the toddler room wasn't that bad, just lots and lots of trip hazards. It was the baby room that surprised me.

Thanks for your help, everybody.

strawberryandaflake Wed 25-Nov-15 15:12:09

They won't do anything. The things that trigger ofsted reports do not include complaints from someone that doesn't send there child there.

Best save your time. X

Snossidge Wed 25-Nov-15 15:15:42

Anyone can make a report to Ofsted strawberry, even a member of the public. I have made a complaint about a childminder that I didn't send my kids to.

strawberryandaflake Wed 25-Nov-15 15:36:43

Yes, anyone can make a report. That's not what I said. I said they wouldn't do anything.

You like making complaints don't you?

Snossidge Wed 25-Nov-15 15:39:58

OK, well they did do something in my case.

givemushypeasachance Wed 25-Nov-15 15:50:14

Ofsted expect that complaints about childcare providers should first be raised with the provider (owner) directly, and if the matter isn't resolved (or it's related to the suitability of the provider themselves) then you should raise it with Ofsted. They can only investigate and take action according to the remit set out in law - the EYFS and legal requirement for childcare providers, and not things like contractual disputes. But if it's to do with things like an unsuitable environment, poor engagement from staff, safety then that is something Ofsted would look at.

It needs to be quite serious before they send an inspector in to do an unannounced visit though - otherwise they would probably just write to the provider (so the owner of the nursery - a company or an individual) and say we've been contacted with concerns about XYZ at your nursery please review whether you need to take action in these areas and we will assess what you've done at your next inspection. And if their risk assessment determines that it's necessary then they may bring the next inspection forward - otherwise nurseries only get seen once every 3-4 years, so if they've just been inspected in this last year they wouldn't expect to get another visit for quite a while.

It's not a terribly inspiring process; Ofsted are good at taking action if there is a serious concern such as an allegation that a member of staff has smacked a child or safeguarding related issues, then they get the local authority and police involved and might even close the nursery down while the matter is investigated. But your lower level staff chatting between themselves/grubbiness/cluttered kind of concerns are things that result in a poor grade at inspection, unfortunately a once-every-few-years process, not inspectors swooping in to investigate. Still, like you point out if lots of people raise lower levels of concerns then a pattern will get picked up - the number of complaints is something factored in to the way priorities of inspections are scheduled.

strawberryandaflake Wed 25-Nov-15 15:53:46

Exactly, Peas. If I could type better on my phone that's what I would have written grin

hackmum Wed 25-Nov-15 16:54:46

"I'm just concerned for the children who are at this nursery."

I've noticed that some people on MN find it hard to grasp the idea of doing something for altruistic reasons, rather than self-interested ones.

I'd complain if I were you. Because even if they don't do anything, it might at least make them reflect on their inspection procedures. And they might do something.

ifgrandmahadawilly Wed 25-Nov-15 16:59:32

hmmm, now I'm more split than ever!

Snossidge Wed 25-Nov-15 17:14:37

I'd think - is there any negatives to calling Ofsted? Are there possibly some positives?

It might result in not much happening, it might result in the nursery being asked to review and take action, it might result in the management being a bit more conscientious about what goes on in the baby room. Either way, I can't see calling doing any harm.

LaLyra Wed 25-Nov-15 17:34:11

Have you checked their report? Are they rated as outstanding? That would be my first check point (a nursery here got bollocked a while back for being "possibly misleading" on their website by mentioning a top grade inspection, but it was actually their sister site that got that). You can also see how their report differs from your experience.

MelcombeBingham Wed 25-Nov-15 17:56:21

Why don't they make unannounced visits? Are we still on the 1970s? No wonder so much abuse takes place with the total apathy and eyebrow raising at someone wanting to report something so valid as concerns over a baby room.
I think you should report it and am sorry you had to see that, it IS upsetting to normal people.

laylabelle Wed 25-Nov-15 18:09:37

Thing is a nursery can rated outstanding/good etc as that is how it was on the day.doesn't mean all the time though really it should be.Interested also ofsted have changed it so nursery get 12 hours notice for a inspection.Complaints however imagine they've just turn up

Raise it but doesn't mean they'll take action.No harm though

laylabelle Wed 25-Nov-15 18:10:58

Okay I can't type!meant to say doesn't mean all the time and interesting..woops

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