Harrow nursery 'doors left open' in safety risk as 'kids climbed stairs unattended' in Ofsted slam

Child building coloured wooden blocks and stacking shapes.
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


A North London nursery has been awarded the lowest possible Ofsted rating after inspectors found ‘significant weaknesses’ that impact children’s safety. The front door had been left open during the inspection, which the report stated risks ‘strangers gaining access’ and unsupervised children getting out.

Jigsaw Nursery, on Uxbridge Road in Hatch End, was rated ‘inadequate’ following an inspection by the education watchdog last month (April 25). This is a dramatic fall in standards from Its 2020 inspection when it was rated as ‘good’, with inspectors highlighting ‘significant weaknesses’ in staff knowledge and practices that ‘compromise children’s welfare and development’.

The report points to the nursery’s lack of an ‘open and positive culture around safeguarding that puts children's interests first’. Staff were said to ‘not always supervise children adequately’ and there are ‘gaps in risk assessment procedures’ that impact child safety.

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Jigsaw nursery, Hatch End
The nursery is located in the Scout Hall, off Uxbridge Road in Hatch End -Credit:Google Maps

Children were seen to be able to leave rooms unnoticed by staff and start climbing the stairs. During the inspection, the front door to the building was also left open, with no staff present to monitor it. Inspectors wrote: “This demonstrates significant weaknesses in assessing and managing risks as strangers could gain access to the building. Coupled with weaknesses in supervision, there is also a risk that children could get out of the building.”

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) coordinator was said to work in collaboration with professionals and knows the children with SEND ‘very well’. However, other members of staff that work closely with them ‘do not use the suggested strategies or make reasonable adjustments to meet their needs’.

Inspectors highlighted staff ringing a loud bell to signal it is time to tidy up, which they state is ‘highly distressing’ for children with sensory processing difficulties. On another occasion, staff failed to remind children to use their ‘inside voices’, which created a ‘chaotic environment’ despite being aware that there are children with SEND who find loud noises ‘very difficult to manage’.

The leadership team was praised for its work engaging with parents and keeping them informed of changes within the nursery. Parents commented that communication is a major strength for the provider and they are ‘happy with the care their children receive’.

Inspectors also noted that leaders demonstrate a ‘good awareness of the strengths and weaknesses’ of the nursery and are ‘committed to improvement’. However, the report states that they ‘have not done enough’ to ensure staff have the knowledge to guarantee the safety and welfare of all children.

Following the rating, the nursery is now required to make improvements to the service ahead of a follow-up inspection, including ensuring children are properly supervised at all times, staff understand risk assessments - particularly regarding the security of the building, improvements are made to the curriculum, and children with SEND are adequately supported.

A spokesperson for Jigsaw Nursery School Hatch End said: “Our highest priority is the safety, wellbeing and education of the children and we are very disappointed with the inspection findings."

They added: “We have developed an action plan to address the areas requiring improvement including acting immediately to provide additional staff training on safeguarding, SEND, and understanding and identifying risks within the nursery."

The nursery receives early years education funding from Harrow Council for children aged two who meet its criteria. A spokesperson for the local authority said: "If a provider is judged inadequate or requires improvement, the local authority works with them in order to implement a plan of action for improvement including advice, guidance and training along with one-to-one support."

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