Babies left sleeping alone at Eltham nursery with staff unable to see or hear them

A South London nursery has been rated “Inadequate” by Ofsted after inspectors found that sleeping babies were “left alone” and staff weren’t able to see or hear them.

Owl & Bear Daycare in Eltham, Greenwich, has been given the worst possible rating by Ofsted at its first-ever inspection.

Inspectors visited the nursery in December 2022, labelling it as “Inadequate” in all areas including quality of education and management.

In the report, published on Tuesday, January 31, the inspector said staffing arrangements at the nursery had an adverse effect on the safety of sleeping babies.

The report said: “There is weakness in the deployment of staff, in particular during the children’s sleep time.

“Staff do not communicate with each other during changeover, for instance when taking a lunch break or at the end of their shift.

“As a result, babies are left alone sleeping where other staff are not able to see or hear them.”

Staff were also criticised for having a “poor understanding” of children’s learning needs, which the inspector said led to the children’s experiences being very limited.

The inspector added: “The curriculum for these children is narrow and poorly implemented.

“There is poor quality of interaction with these children. Staff do not effectively support children’s communication and language development. This has a negative impact on children’s progress.”

Owl & Bear Daycare Eltham opened in 2021 and currently has 61 children on the roll. Ofsted previously received a complaint about the nursery in August 2022 and found they were not meeting legal requirements during a visit in October 2022.

The inspector said: “Improvements made since Ofsted’s last visit have not been maintained.

“Managers do not do enough to ensure that safety is given the utmost priority.

“For example, they fail to effectively address risks associated with safety of the premises, evacuation procedures and babies’ sleeping arrangements.”

Despite the criticisms, the inspector said babies at the nursery are happy and settled.

They said the children are “curious, eager to take part in activities and form relationships with the staff”.

The report said: “There are elements of positive practice. Staff are generally kind and caring towards children.

“Overall, they are attentive to the babies and they play with the older children.”

It continued: “As a result, at times, babies demonstrate some positive levels of engagement. Older children are keen to learn and listen well.”

Owl & Bear Daycare Eltham was approached for comment but did not respond at the time of publication.

Ofsted will revisit the nursery within six months for a follow-up inspection.

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