All Aboard nursery rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted inspectors amid staffing concerns

Bosses have responded to the Ofsted report saying they are acting on issues raised.

<p>All Aboard Nursery,  Stockport. Image: Emma Jones</p>

All Aboard Nursery, Stockport. Image: Emma Jones

A nursery which failed to ensure staff were ‘suitable’ to work with children has been rated ‘inadequate’ for the second time in under a year.

All Aboard Nursery, in Stockport, has been awarded the lowest possible grade following an inspection by the education watchdog Ofsted. The day care centre at Whitfield House looks after 40 youngsters from babies up to four-year-olds.

Officials say children are ‘happy and settled’ at the Daw Bank nursery, as well as being confident and capable learners who behave well. But they also found it to be inadequate in all areas, from quality of education to personal development.

A new report says there are ‘significant weaknesses’ in safeguarding practices at the nursery. 

It continues: “The provider has failed to ensure that all staff are suitable to work with children. Not all staff understand their responsibilities to help keep children safe. This puts children at risk of harm.”

The watchdog found that poor planning and implementation prevented children from making good progress in their learning – particularly ‘those who speak English as an additional language’.

Some staff did not know children well enough, so were unable to plan activities that built on their prior knowledge. As a result, children were ‘not sufficiently challenged’ and quickly lost interest in learning.

The report adds: “There is a significant lack of exciting and challenging activities. This means that children become bored and frequently not engaged in purposeful learning.”

However, older children in the prep-school room were said to have more opportunities to develop new skills, and demonstrated ‘some motivation to learn’.

Leadership and management were said to be ‘weak’.  Although there were enough qualified staff, Ofsted said they are not deployed effectively.

“This means children are often cared for by inexperienced or unqualified staff,” the report adds.

“This has a negative impact on the quality of care and education they receive.

The relationship between the nursery and parents was also criticised. Officials found a ‘two-way flow of information’ had ‘not been established’, meaning staff were ‘unable to identify if children are at risk of falling behind’.

But despite the nursery being rated as inadequate across the board, there were positive aspects to the report.

Children were said to have ‘formed lovely relationships’ with each other and the staff who look after them.

“They have learned to be kind, caring and polite,” the report says. “Children are conscious of the need to take turns during activities and celebrate the achievements of their friends.”

Babies were also said to have lovely relationships with the carers. “They benefit from consistency and kind, nurturing interactions,” officials found, adding that ‘staff know and understand the babies’ needs well’.

What has the nursery said?

Emma Jones, owner of All Aboard Nursery, said the nursery had worked hard to ensure all the requirements from Ofsted’s last report were met.

She said: “Whilst we will of course act on the findings of the Ofsted report, we do not believe it is a true reflection of our provision and staff.  Ofsted  have identified many positives about the nursery including that children are happy and settled and that they have formed lovely relationships with each other and staff.  

“They have said that promoting independence is a strength at the nursery and that young children have learned, own personal care needs and put on their own outdoor clothing with little support. They also said children benefit from consistency and kind, nurturing interactions.”

Ms Jones said the nursery was looking forward to Ofsted’s return, as inspectors would see staff had implemented everything asked of them.  

One parent at All Aboard Nursery said they were ‘absolutely heartbroken’ by the Ofsted report, but knew their children were ‘happy and loved’ while in its care and would continue to recommend it.

Another said the nursery ‘really went out of their way to settle my daughter who was born in COVID lockdown and very clingy to her mum’.