Tabernacle Playgroup is sited within Tabernacle Church but operates as a separate company . It isn’t  carrying out proper checks on visitors or on staff – the CSSIW says

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 CSSIW’s devastating report on Tabernacle Church Children’s Playgroup – see

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) .


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.”


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.

Anyone can go into the children’s playgroup without being checked

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.”


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

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  1. Peter Church says:

    How is this different to some other kids nurseries in Penarth that don’t have proper planning permission for the number of children they look after nor the buildings they use?

  2. Iona says:

    Sounds like things used to be – i.e. just fine – before the health and safety jobsworths got involved.
    Will this nursery have to close now because of all this nonsense?

    • Jane Foster says:

      “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….”

      I don’t believe the “health and safety jobsworths” addressed this issue strongly enough.

      • Sarah Pedwell says:

        The inspectors were greated by the person in charge and as they were wearing CSSIW identification badges and the playgroup leader was aware of an impending visit so didn’t formally question them. They also introduced themselves. It is practice for All unknown adults to be questioned upon arroval. All staff are DBS checked which the article does not mention. The only background checks were not having references from the previous owner of the playgroup which weren’t required under previous inspection framework and were not in situ as the business had passed over owners and staff had continued in their roles. These have subsequently been addressed.

      • NewsNet says:

        There is no reference whatever in the official report to the wearing of “CSSIW identification badges”. The CSSIW report says “However, we were not
        asked for identification upon arrival and a visitors’ book is not kept.” .

      • RetailGuru says:

        Ah that’s OK then Sarah Pedwell, as long as they were wearing CSSIW badges… really??

      • Rebecca says:

        It’s not a Hollywood heist, “RetailGuru”.
        The staff probably didn’t think: Oh look, although we’ve been told the inspectors are coming, although people have arrived wearing CSSIW badges at the appointed time, we’ll just check imposters haven’t run up a few laminated cards, having somehow discovered not only that there was to be an inspection but the time and date of it too.
        When asked to confirm ID, people show their badges. The badges were on view – what part of that is difficult to understand?
        I doubt I would have asked for ID if their badge was right in front of my face. Aside from appearing stupid, it looks rude too – repeatedly requiring ID from people who are about to judge you.

      • RetailGuru says:

        Rebecca, the inspection wasn’t at a pre appointed time and, with respect, anyone can knock up a badge. Note that the Tabs staff admit that they only saw the badge and did not validate the badge.

        I was always taught that ID should be checked thoroughly and if necessary a call to the authority to validate the visit should be made.

        Better safe than sorry?

    • whatsoccurin says:

      I agree-the Inspections are mainly about “ticking boxes” rather than safeguarding children. I have no respect at all for the C.S,S,I.W or the Care Council for Wales (who I believe has recently changed it’s name). They are incompetent and do not know the meaning of the word “common sense”. I contacted CSSIW some time ago, about quite a serious matter, and was told the staff were having their Christmas lunch.,no they could not pass a message on and could I ring the following day!

  3. Sarah Pedwell says:

    As the operator of the playgroup I would request this article to be removed. We are not operating illegally as and have worked with the CCSIW to address the recommendations which were linked to updating policies and procedures rather than the care provision, which the CCSIW found perfectly adequate. All of the staff are DBS checked and the majority have worked within the setting for over 12 years before the new inspection procedures were implemented therefore not having previous employment background checks. The playgroup is not linked to the Church and is run as a separate business using the Church facilities.

    • NewsNet says:

      The CSSIW says that Tabernacle Playgroup is not compliant with: –
      Regulation 25 (c) of the Child Minding and Day Care (Wales) Regulations 2010.
      Regulation 28 (2) (b) [ii] of the Child Minding and Day Care (Wales) Regulations 2010.
      Regulation 29(3)(a) of the Child Minding and Day Care (Wales) Regulations 2010.

      The CSSIW says that the “registered person” in charge of the playgroup “has not ensured that unnecessary risks to
      the health and safety of children have been identified or eliminated”
      The CSSIW says “Necessary checks to establish fitness of staff have not all been carried out and a more robust
      recruitment procedure is needed”
      The CSSIW says “Staff have not received formal supervision to ensure they are fully supported”
      The CSSIW says there are “Overall, there are inconsistencies in the standard of care provided by the service.”
      The CSSIW says “The service is not meeting their legal requirements in relation to leadership and management of the service”
      The CSSIW report states quite clearly “The leaders of the service are not meeting all their legal responsibilities in respect to delivering a consistent good standard of care to children”

      A link to the full CSSIW report is contained within the article and is also available on

    • Sue Jennings says:

      Hi Sarah I know you are committed and do good work but why did you say this:
      “The playgroup is not linked to the Church and is run as a separate business using the Church facilities.”

      When on your website it says this:

      “Playgroup functions as an extension of the work of Tabernacle Church Centre, which seeks to serve the community in many ways. As such it is subject to the Church constitution. All the leaders are either members of the Church or have close links with it, and it is run as a Christian organisation”

      Which is it?

  4. RetailGuru says:

    Thank goodness for the inspection, hopefully a wake up call for these amateurs.

  5. Mike from Penarth says:

    [Children’s rights were also not protected as the toileting system did not afford
    privacy whilst nappy changing and using the potty]

    What a barking mad report! They bang on about making sure the kids get to use Welsh and they have privacy while having their nappies changed, What a mad world we live in.
    One day we will all become inspectors and nobody will do any real work.

  6. Fairy says:

    Privacy during nappy changing?!?!?
    Welsh language?!?

    Tabernacle do great things for our community , the only thing g I agree with in this craY report is that staff need to be vetted properly to ensure child safety.

    Well done for all you do at Tabernacle, don’t let this nonsense stop you.

  7. Denise says:

    My eldest who is now 9 went here and so did my 4 year old, they both loved it and none of the above ever did them any harm! I bet if the inspector’s would go to any other private nursery in penarth they’d find faults there also!

  8. Sortitout says:

    Sarah – Instead of trying to justify the nursery has not been complying with the rules and regulations all other similar nurseries and playgroups in Penarth why not just get on with things and sort it all out. The regulations are there for a reason – to protect your employees and most of all children who are left in your care.

  9. Nincompoop says:

    I think a lot of you are missing the point really, inspections follow the same format whichever institution is being inspected. Many of the areas which are lacking are very basic, if your child was getting a sickness bug due to poor hygiene I’m sure parents would complain. Also regarding the issue of not being asked to sign a visitor book, I know I would rather visitors were asked who they were, than something happen and the public complain that no one had been challenged . Whilst I am sure the owner is doing a good job on the whole, if they are unable to meet the most basic requirements for children then it doesn’t really bode well for the way the organisation is run generally. Children are vulnerable and I’m surprised that some of you are thinking this is about being a “jobsworth”. Whatever the age of the child they deserve some privacy!!

    • whatsoccurin says:

      I think that you have hit the point about “inspections following the same format”-this gives no flexibility and does encourage a “box ticking” approach. I used to support elderly people in Cardiff and one of the inner-city Residential homes, basically accomadated elderly infirm men who had spent many years sleeping rough. However the inspections criticised the Home as not having the same standards as ones which looked after refined elderly ladies from Lisvane. The One size fits all approach does attract the jobsworths but at the end of the day you do need an Inspection process.

  10. Mark Foster says:

    The inspectors are of course fundamentally opposed to the Christian upbringing of children and their objective is simply to shut down the Tabernacle Children’s Playgroup and create an environment where the childrens’ minds can moulded differently. My, how the UK needs a leader who will shut down these subversive institutions like the Welsh Care and Social Services Inspectorate just as Donald Trump is dong in the USA.

  11. Ann Other says:

    This is not a ‘barking mad’ report, or anything like it. The most damning fact is not the stuff about badges, or even the casual, accidental processes for acquiring staff. It is that they had not, according to the inspectors, responded to any (any!) of the recommendations of an earlier report on health and safety management. This is an indication that the place does not have the management capacity to do even what it is explicitly told to do. If it is indeed this inert and ignorant, it should not receive anyone’s money or, of course, anyone’s little children.

  12. Sue Jennings says:

    No response from Sarah Pedwell to my simple question, this sums it up for me then.

  13. J24 says:

    Religious nuts should not be allowed to look after kids full stop

  14. James74 says:

    If they demand privacy for nappy changes, do kids get separate changing cubicles at school for P.E.? And a sedan chair to each lesson with a red carpet laid down every morning they arrive?

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