Inspectors criticise out-of-school club

Melrose Primary School.
Melrose Primary School.

The chairwoman of an out-of-school club in Melrose insists that its children’s welfare is paramount despite its management being criticised by inspectors.

The Big Space at Melrose Primary School, catering for up to 45 children between the ages of four and 15, has been told to improve following an inspection in January.

Inspectors rated the quality of care and support, environment and staffing as adequate, adding that staff were “warm, caring and had fun with the children”.

However, they found that the quality of management and leadership was weak and said that arrangements for heating and serving food posed a risk to children.

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: “Staff were not trained in food hygiene, and on the day of inspection a pan of boiling water was carried through the club when children were present.”

The report stated that the manager of the service, run by a committee of volunteers, had made “little progress” in meeting quality assurance requirements since its inspection in 2016.

It said: “These areas for concerns are still ongoing and reflect the significant need for improved management within the service.

“During the inspection, it came to our attention that the manager did not fulfil their responsibility to carry out the correct policies and procedures to ensure children were kept safe.”

A new acting manager has since been appointed.

Annabel Brown, chairwoman of the Big Space committee, said: “While the report highlighted several areas of concern, primarily with the management and administrative compliance, it does still emphasise that the children are happy to attend and the staff are involving, helpful and enthusiastic.

“Zoe Presslie, our acting manager, has done a sterling job in taking on the role at short notice, and the inspectors, as well as ourselves in the new committee, recognise the improvements to the participation and enjoyment of the children that she has brought.

“The health, welfare and safety of everyone at the Big Space has always been paramount, and we are all proud to see the energy and satisfaction that the children take away with them everyday.

“While there have clearly been some changes to be made, Zoe and her team are working tirelessly to raise the standards, and the results are already showing. The new committee are dedicated to keeping the Big Space operational and building it up for future children to enjoy.”