Ofsted report paints grim picture of ‘cooped up children’ in Walworth nursery

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

A South London nursery where cooped up children run around in circles has been given the worst possible rating by Ofsted – for the second time in just six months.

Smartkiddies Childcare in Walworth was rated inadequate in all areas by the education watchdog following its most recent inspection in December 2023.

The nursery, in Stead Street, was previously given the lowest possible rating in all areas following a visit by Ofsted in June 2023.

The most recent report published on February 12 criticised Smartkiddies Childcare for failing to give children enough time outside.

The report said: “Children do not get access to daily opportunities for outdoor play. This is a breach to requirements. Children often show a keen interest in extending their physical skills.

“They run around the room in circles repeatedly and are uninterested in engaging with staff’s efforts to encourage them to join activities. This behaviour makes the environment unsafe for children.”

Staff at the nursery were criticised for failing to make sure they had the resources to carry out activities properly and for not considering kids’ interests when designing tasks.

An inspector noted that during a gingerbread decorating activity, there was no icing to stick the decorations to the biscuit.

The report continued: “During a painting activity, children become disappointed, as staff can only find orange and brown paint. Concerns about the curriculum and its implementation raised at the last inspection persist. This impacts upon children’s engagement and sense of achievement.”

Bosses were described as having a lack of consideration for kids’ health in the report. The inspector noted that managers allowed children to attend the nursery who had been turned away from other settings because they were deemed too unwell, while staff failed to store kids’ toothbrushes in a hygienic way.

Despite this, the report praised lunchtimes at the nursery as ‘a positive experience’ for kids, who were observed laying tables and serving themselves. “They eat healthy food and tidy up when they have finished. This demonstrates children’s eagerness to participate and play an active role during their time at the setting,” the report noted.

During a previous inspection in June 2023, Ofsted criticised the nursery for leaving young kids in the care of staff who hadn’t completed the highest level of criminal record checks. The report published in October of the same year said children’s safety wasn’t ‘prioritised’ at the nursery.

Smartkiddies Childcare declined to comment on the latest Ofsted report.

Following the June 2023 inspection, the nursery said that it was ‘disappointed’ with the Ofsted grading and was ‘positively’ working to improve on the failings highlighted by the education watchdog.

Pictured top: The church hall home for Smartkiddies (Picture: Google Street View)

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