No action over child accident – nursery ‘upset’ over allegations

Ashfield Nursery in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital
Ashfield Nursery in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital

Council bosses will not be taking any action over an accident at a South Tyneside nursery which was criticised by education watchdogs.

The Ashfield Nursery & ELC in South Shields was rated inadequate in all areas by Ofsted inspectors following a visit which was prioritised due to a fall from a toy in the outdoor area where a child is believed to have broken his leg.

South Tyneside Council’s environmental health department has since carried out an inspection of the premises, which are in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital, and concluded there had not been a breach of health and safety regulations.

Owners of Ashfield Nursery say they have made an official complaint to Ofsted about the way the inspection was carried out.

Due to legislation and the lowest Ofsted rating, South Tyneside Council has had to withdraw the early years funding entitlement for two and three-year-olds from the nursery.

However, Ashfield says it is confident of getting the Ofsted report overturned and has pledged to meet the cash shortfall itself rather than pass the cost onto parents.

A spokeswoman said: “The nursery has incurred the cost so there will be no impact on parents”

A statement on behalf of the nursery said: “Our management and staff have been shocked and upset at allegations that a child was hurt while in our care.

“Since the Ofsted visit, the nursery has undergone two full and thorough inspections of its premises, paper work, play area and play equipment by South Tyneside Health and Safety officers. No faults were found and no further actions required.”

South Tyneside Council confirmed that no further action will be taken.

Coun Joan Atkinson, the council’s lead member for children, young people and families, added: “Under Department of Education regulations, we are no longer able to fund this nursery for the two-year and three-year-old education offer.

“We are working with parents affected by this news to source alternative, suitable places for their children.”