Inspectors carrying out statutory checks on the Tabernacle Children’s Playgroup in Plassey St, Penarth have revealed the management and operation of the playgroup is so bad it is not meeting the legal responsibilities it has to the children it looks after.
The Tabernacle Children’s Playgroup can accommodate up to 24 children aged between 2 and 5 years of age and operates from 9.15 to 11.45 Monday to Friday during term time.
The serious state of affairs at the playgroup has been revealed in an uncompromising and forthright Childcare Inspection Report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) .
SECURITY AND CHILD SAFETY
When the inspectors first arrived at the playgroup to begin the inspection , staff didn’t bother to check their identity and they weren’t even asked to sign a visitor’s book.
It turned out that the staff at the playgroup had not been subject to the normal rigorous recruitment procedures to vet people who work with children . There were no application forms issued and no formal interviews carried out – the manager had just “employed people she knew”.
In a stinging appraisal, the CSSIW report says “recruitment procedures and documentation held about staff fitness, and staff supervision process must be improved to ensure children’s safety, employee suitability and provide on going support. A system to monitor, review and improve the quality of care given to children must also been implemented and reported upon.”
Staff were found not to have been issued with contracts of employment. The inspectors said Tabernacle “not meeting their legal requirements in relation to leadership and management of the service”.
Inspectors said there is a child protection policy in place “but we found from discussion with two practitioners that they have a very basic awareness of their safeguarding responsibility or the procedure to follow should a safeguarding issue arise. This needs to be improved as a matter of urgency.”
HYGIENE AND TOILET PROCEDURE / HEALTH AND SAFETY
Serious deficiencies were also found at Tabernacle Playgroup in hygiene and toilet care for children and in Health and Safety procedures .
Not a single one of 10 health and safety recommendations – made after an Environmental Health inspection in June 2016 – had been implemented .
Inspectors saw “poor hygiene procedures during nappy changing. Practitioners did not wear gloves or an apron and did not always wash hands between changes. Not all children were encouraged to wash their hands after using a potty although most children who used the toilet independently washed and dried their hands appropriately. Children were not afforded privacy whilst nappy changing and using the potty, as this was done in small groups. The toileting policy and practices need to be reviewed and updated so that all staff are aware of safe practice procedures and children’s rights are protected.”
Inspectors found that there were “inconsistencies in the standard of care provided by the service” . They found that the quality of leadership and management and certain operational issues require significant improvement to ensure children’s safety and so the service operates in line with legal requirements. Inspectors said “The service is not meeting their legal requirements in relation to leadership and
management of the service.
HEALTH AND SAFETY ACCIDENT RECORDS : Inspectors found that although there was a “system available” for the recording of accident and incidents, records had not been had not been kept “for some time” . As the playground manager had not ensured that all unnecessary risks to children’s health and safety had been identified and eliminated “we found that they had not been compliant with their legal responsibilities to keep children safe and we have issued a Non Compliance Notice in respect of these matters.”
CHILD DEVELOPMENT :
Tabernacle Playgroup has no outdoor play area – a situation the CSSIW says is ” is not ideal” . Although “a climbing frame/slide inside the play room was used to encourage physical activity.” The CSSIW says physical activity should be encouraged
as much as possible for each child attending.
Inspectors noted that during snack time, children were not given opportunity to serve themselves or pour their own drinks and they did not wash and wipe their hands independently. This practice – the CSSIW says “should be reviewed”.
The CSSIW team saw “little evidence of best practice implemented during snack time.” They saw staff encouraging children to drink – but water was not available for children to access freely during the session. Staff told the inspectors they had been doing this, but had “let it slip recently”.
Inspectors found “inconsistencies around knowledge and implementation of policies, procedures and record keeping within the service and there are areas of improvement required to ensure all children’s needs are met and their safety is promoted. Areas of good practice are also evident, but improvements must be made so that the impact of this is not overshadowed by the discrepancies.”
Inspectors said “We found little written evidence of consistent planning or development tracking for children. Observations should be recorded and formalised in order to plan next steps for children’s play and learning.
DIWALI CELEBRATED / WELSH NOT PROMOTED: Inspectors said “We were told that children are supported to learn about the differences and similarities of individuals from different cultures. Resources included multi-cultural dolls and books, but some of these were stored out of reach of children. We were also told that they also celebrate festivals such as Diwali and Chinese New Year to promote children’s knowledge of diversity. Although we were told that incidental Welsh is used during the sessions, we felt that there were missed opportunities to use and promote the Welsh language.”
UTILITIES TESTS : Inspectors found the premises and maintenance of the service “are generally safe, although some improvements are needed.” Inspectors were told gas appliances and electrical equipment were “well maintained by the church” but no documentation could be provided to prove this. It was also claimed that “daily checklists are completed” – but those checklists were “not available” during the inspection.
The CSSIW Inspectors found
- The quality of leadership and management Tabernacle Playgroup needs significant improvement.
- There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the requirements of the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Child Care and the regulations.
- Tabernacle Playgroup has not met its legal requirements in respect of the recruitment procedures.
- The leaders of the service are not meeting all their legal responsibilities in respect to delivering a consistent good standard of care to children and the quality of leadership needs to improve significantly.
The report can be read in full on http://tinyurl.com/leon26l