Children’s day centre responds after critical Care Inspectorate report

"Culture of mistrust" at management level.
Newlands Kids Centre.Newlands Kids Centre.
Newlands Kids Centre.

Bosses at a West Linton children’s day service have pledged to learn lessons after inspectors found a “culture of mistrust” at management level.

Newlands Kids, based at the Newlands Centre at Romano Bridge, is registered to provide a learning and child care service to a maximum of 52 children from two years to the end of primary school.

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Representatives of the Care Inspectorate paid an unannounced visit to the facility on October 3, returning on October 5.

A number of required improvements were identified with the service rated ‘weak’ in three areas – care, play and learning, its leadership and its staff team. It received a rating of ‘adequate’ for its setting.

The service is being required to ensure that interactions between staff and children are “warm, caring and nurturing”, that the manager and staff develop their child protection knowledge to keep children safe, develop systems to ensure families feel valued and that children’s play and learning opportunities are enhanced.

Now a spokesperson for the centre’s management and board said they were “committed to addressing the deficiencies promptly and comprehensively”.

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The inspection did recognise that the service was passionate about growing its own produce, ensuring that food choices were nutritious.

However, the report raises concern that child protection procedures had not been correctly followed, increasing the risk to children’s safety and well-being.

It says: “One staff member told us: ‘When child protection matters have been reported to the manager it has not been recorded so there is no evidence of it happening’. The provider was receptive to this feedback and took immediate action to address this.”

The report adds: “Sleep routines lacked sensitivity and did no create a nurturing experience for children. For example, we observed children sleeping without suitable bedding. The sleep areas felt neglected and were not warm and cosy.”

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Poor management and storage of medication “posed a risk to children’s health and well-being”, the report also found.

It adds: “Staff shared that children were often made to sit during circle time for long periods of time. This had resulted in children becoming continually distressed as staff failed to recognise or respond to children’s individual needs.

“Instead, staff told us, children had experienced unkind responses, as staff continued to enforce these routines on children.

“Children were at risk because staff did not feel confident to report concerns and there was a culture of mistrust at management level. One parent shared: ‘When parents raised challenges, it was swept under the carpet by the leadership instead of being addressed'”.

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The service is provided by Newlands & Kirkurd Playgroup Committee.

A spokesperson for the management and board said: “Our recent Care Inspectorate report has highlighted deficiencies in our operations and we are fully committed to addressing them promptly and comprehensively.

“Our top priority is to provide a safe, nurturing and enriching environment for every child entrusted to us.

“We are working with the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Borders Council to make the required improvements and we have already taken steps to address these issues.

“We will continue to inform families of changes and developments within the service.”