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Our Crouch End nursery closed by Ofsted for health & safety. Anyone know anything?

(23 Posts)
alixpally Fri 09-Feb-18 13:32:22

Hi everyone, this is my first post. Mycreche, the nursery our 2.4 year old attends in Crouch End (London), was just closed by Ofsted citing a health and safety violation. Parents received literally no notice, not even an email from the creche owners (just a letter from Ofstead after the fact).

We quite liked the nursery, but now think may have dodged a bullet. It's baffling that the owners have gone incommunicado like this, many working parents relied on that childcare and had paid in advance.

Does anyone know anything about this? Has anyone had experience with this sort of thing? I gather it must be quite serious for Ofsted to just close it down without notice? This was the only flexible nursery in North London, and very handy....

insancerre Fri 09-Feb-18 19:30:37

I manage a nursery and have never known a nursey to be closed except for very serious concerns
i think you need to look for a new nursery

alixpally Fri 09-Feb-18 21:21:38

Hi Insancerre (haha), good to know. Oh yes, we have been already booking a new nursery, he won't be going back there. But we are quite shocked because we didn't see this coming... Apart from the occasional grip (very occasional lapses on nappy changing) our DS loved it there and seemed to do really well, and the staff turnover was pretty low, and the nursery was owned by professional mummies from the local community. Now we are asking ourselves what dangers might he have been exposed to, and why didn't we spot any of them...

insancerre Sat 10-Feb-18 06:53:58

I've just read the ofsted reports and they had 3 in just over a year
They had 2 at requires improvements and then a good
The thing that struck me is the number of children on roll, it went from 56 to 6 in six months
That says that a lot of parents weren't happy and have taken their children out
Unless it's a typing error?
I do find it very strange that you have not had any communication from the nursery
Ofsted do publish complaints that are upheld and compliance notices so hopefully they will put something here so you will know the reasons it was closed

alixpally Sat 10-Feb-18 08:43:20

Oh, thanks so much for pointing this out, we've been pretty Ofsted report illiterate so far, so it's useful to know what one might look for, reading between the lines. The nursery is pretty small and the curriculum was not particularly well defined, but it was really flexible and you paid only for the hours you used. I think a lot of parents treated it as a stopgap measure (might explain the drop from 56 to 6?). Not sure how number of children on roll was determined, as there were a lot more than 6 attending fairly regularly, but maybe only 6 full time? Anyway, I think we first saw it as a stopgap, but then became comfortable there because he seemed happy there and made good friends. I guess we'll wait and see what transpires about the incident...
Thinking back, I felt uncomfortable recently when I found him in a high chair a few times - they said they put him there for time out, and because he wasn't listening when they asked him to behave. It's true that he is really energetic, but he's a big 2.4 year old, and these were pretty flimsy ikea chairs, and I am pretty sure he was unsecured with the strap. On hindsight I should have queried this.
We think the main problem may be that they had about 10-15 children, many of them small babies, all in one room, and the carers sometimes seemed to have a hard time getting the energetic bigger kids (like ours) to behave whilst also looking after the babies properly. I think the carer to child ratio was about 1:5, but not all the carers seemed equally engaged at times...

insancerre Sat 10-Feb-18 08:50:28

If they are caring for babies on a 1-5 ratio then they are breaking the law
The minimum ratio for babies is 1-3
For 2 year olds its 1-4
For 3+ its 1-8 (1-13 with a teacher)

Time out in a high chair is outrageous
The number on roll is the total number of children registered who use the provision

alixpally Sat 10-Feb-18 09:14:33

Wow, this is really good to know. So glad I opened this thread. I tend not to want to cause a fuss, but knowing what is acceptable and what is not takes the guessing out of it! Thanks so much insancerrre!!!
Regarding the roll, there were a lot of children attending, it was very popular and getting more so (we had trouble getting bookings unless we booked well ahead), so maybe it was a typo after all.

insancerre Sat 10-Feb-18 09:22:30

Maybe it was a typo then
I do know of one nursery near to me that closed suddenly, I've just remembered
A child died at home and the stepfather was arrested. The nursery was closed during the investigation as the stepfather claimed all the injuries the toddler had suffered had happened at the nursery
The nursery couldn't prove they didn't happen there

I do know of another that closed but it was after several inspections and notices to comply that were not met. The premises were shared and older children were using toilets used by men visiting the building. The premises were also not secure inside or outside

Safeguarding children is Paramount

Hopefully you will find out soon what is going on

Makingworkwork Sat 10-Feb-18 09:29:11

I think not changing nappies happening on more than one occasion is a big no no. I assume not enough for Ofsted to close down a nursery but it is very basic care. If they can’t get the basics right I would worry about the kind of environment they had.

Jaxtellerswife Sat 10-Feb-18 09:43:54

Confined for a tint out. Yikes

alixpally Sat 10-Feb-18 10:25:10

So one shouldn't assume they are guilty, but based on your second example yikes! it does sound like it would have to be very serious for a closure. We'll try calling the ofsted case worker and see if anything transpires.
However, the more we think back, the more it seems they were being overwhelmed by the demand and unable to cope with it properly. Keeping all the ages in the same (fairly small) space seems to have made this worse because the older kids who were just being energetic (like ours) seemed to be increasingly told off or disciplined. It's just an impression, but I do wish I'd listened to that little voice that told me to query.

insancerre Sat 10-Feb-18 10:35:32

Maintaining ratios can't be easy when offering flexibility
Which is the reason why many settings aren't flexible

alixpally Sat 10-Feb-18 11:08:25

Yep, I can see that now. Also, a couple of the senior staff members left and i think it was kind of hard to replace them.

timeisnotaline Sat 10-Feb-18 11:32:01

I have a 2.5 yo , I’d be horrified to find him in time out in a high chair. If you ask in the crouch end parents fb group people might know (I’m not far from there)

alixpally Sat 10-Feb-18 16:07:44

Hmmm i can see that we were giving them the benefit of the doubt far too much. We just thought things were ok because he seemed happy and settled there, but now I realise things were shifting as staff and conditions changed, and we should have stayed vigilant. We won't be making the same mistake again.

Great idea about posting on fb to crouch enders, will do (not a big fb user myself or would have thought of it).

mindutopia Mon 12-Feb-18 14:59:41

If they were just immediately shut down, I would assume it's something serious. The fact they had 3 Ofsted visits in a year shows there were some concerns (obviously they had previous reports of needing improvement, so that must have something to do with it). There was a nursery near us that was shut down. In their case, they went on a day trip away from the nursery with the children and left a little girl behind, locked in the building alone, for 4 hours. They weren't keeping any register of what children were attending each day so when they left, they didn't even know they should have had her. They didn't even get shut down immediately. They had a visit and specific protocols were put in place that they had to follow and Ofsted did another surprise visit about 2 months later (which showed they still didn't keep an up to date register of the children there each day). They were only closed after this second visit.

Another nursery near us had a 2 year old that snuck out when a building contractor left through the front door. He was found 20 minutes later wandering through a housing estate down the road on his own. They didn't get shut down for that, though I imagine had some special measures put in place and further Ofsted visits as a result.

So to be shut down with little warning, I would expect it was something very serious. Sounds like you dodged a bullet!

alixpally Mon 12-Feb-18 22:25:53

Hello again, and thanks to everyone who is contributing.
We've had more info about the creche closure from ofsted and other crouch end parents.
According to the Ofsted caseworker, there were no concerns about child abuse or anything like that, just one single health/safety incident following which the creche was shut immediately. She said they have a low threshold in that type of case.
Someone in Crouch End said they were walking by and saw a child being loaded into an ambulance. This was just before the closure, so i guess that was it. No more info was available as to what happened, so we'll see when the investigation concludes.
On the FB group, other parents who used the creche were just as surprised as us, and many said how much they had liked the manager and other staff. So there you are, I guess someone got hurt or ill. We'll see what else transpires in due course. It would have helped the owners a lot, I think, if they'd just written an email informing parents as far as possible (even if they couldn't disclose info about the accident) rather than leaving them to guess and worry. But I don't want to jump to conclusions yet, it could be just bad luck (thoI do think they were struggling to meet demand, and we won't be using it again).

insancerre Tue 13-Feb-18 11:38:31

All sounds a bit dramatic
They wouldn't be closed because of an illness

timeisnotaline Fri 16-Feb-18 15:53:29

I saw the fb group comments and was a bit surprised given what’s said on this thread, everyone on that was so positive , while I think struggling with the age mix and confining a 2yo is not great at all. I do understand it’s the only model of its kind nearby and very handy for peoples less scheduled childcare needs so that may bias people.

JDBL Wed 21-Feb-18 21:52:23

Hi all, I never comment on these thread but having just read the above feel compelled to add something. Our toddler has been attending Mycreche for about 2 years. We have never had any concerns at all. To the contrary, the staff have been fantastic with our little boy who often gets upset when being dropped off but is always so happy when we collect him (as in he has had a great day). I don’t know what happened which caused the suspension so obviously we need to wait to find that out, but we did receive an email from the nursery itself before the ofsted email and they also refunded me money I had paid upfront for future childcare. We have never had any issues with inappropriate discipline or time out. My son is very fond of the staff and since it has been closed has been constantly asking me if he is going to nursery today and is clearly missing it.

alixpally Thu 22-Feb-18 22:11:37

Hi again!
We were checking out another Crouch End nursery, and one of their directors said he'd heard on the childcare grapevine that the mycreche closure had happened because a child had been "burned or scalded". But of course this is just rumour so take with a pinch of salt.

JDBL, what can I say, we also liked mycreche and our son also had a great time there. But in light of what happened I feel I'd be failing him if I don't ask, next time, whether I might be missing any warning signs. That's all I take from this, the need to be vigilant, because I know in the past I wanted to see things in a positive light and brushed aside my concerns. Re communications, it's odd we didn't receive an email because we were actually booked in for the day of the closure (we were using them 5 days a week at that point). We even checked the spam folder but no, nothing came till after the Ofsted letter.

Pistachiois50pmore Wed 28-Feb-18 16:09:05

We're Mycreche regulars too and just to echo the above poster, we've always had good experiences.

It's a suspension for investigation, so it's not really fair to say it's been "shut down". Of course for Ofsted to shut somewhere down permanently it would have to be bad. Investigations the bar is much lower.

In terms of how many children are registered there, I think it's a bit misleading since most of their users use it as flexible daycare - that's their USP. We are regulars usually in two-three afternoons a week but we pay as we go, and I think that's pretty typical.

I got an email from them shortly after the one from Ofsted, then rang up and had a chat with them. Staff are happy to answer questions on the phone but aren't allowed to discuss the specific incident - they have said it was a one-off health and safety incident affecting one child. They have to make whatever changes Ofsted require then wait for them to OK them to reopen again.

I'll be more than happy to continue to use them and we hope they reopen soon.

KristenD Thu 08-Mar-18 19:01:40

Another happy My Creche parent. I am loathe to spread rumours as it's obviously a terrible situation for the child, parents, and carers, however as it has been suggested here about the burning incident already, my husband happened to be picking up our kid and overheard a phone conversation suggesting similar.

It was obviously shocking to receive the email from Ofsted because it has no details and definitely leaves you with all sorts of concerns however they obviously cannot tell you anything as it's confidential until they conclude their reports. I called them up and they could confirm it was a single incident and that no one else other than the one child was involved. So putting 2 and 2 together, I imagined what my husband overheard was correct. They haven't been shut down, merely closed for an initial 6 week period while Ofsted conduct their investigations.

We have always had a great time at My Creche and it's been an absolute lifesaver to have the flexibility they offer. As far as I am aware they do make sure they stick to their ratios as there have been plenty of times we haven't been able to be fitted in. I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone (all the kids in together and quite a small space).

I hope they can remedy whatever they need to do to re-opens as quite frankly we are really struggling without them right now. And I hope the poor child involved is doing ok.

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