Highly-critical report on Melrose nursery deems it a ‘significant risk’ to children

'Letter of concern' was issued to nursery.
Old Station NurseryOld Station Nursery
Old Station Nursery

A damning report on a Melrose-based nursery deemed it as posing ‘significant risks’ to children.

Old Station Nursery at Palma Place is registered to provide day care for a maximum of 41 children between the ages of three months and 12 years.

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The service operates from a converted railway station building close to the centre of Melrose.

Two inspectors from the Care Inspectorate paid an unannounced visit to the facility on September 6.

During the visit the inspectors identified “significant risks to the children’s health, welfare and safety”.

Specifically the criticisms related to children being cared for “within an environment that was unclean”. This related to all areas, including outdoors, playrooms, kitchens, toilets and nappy changing areas.

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It was also found that youngsters were allowed to play with broken and unsafe resources both indoors and outdoors and found a “potential risk of children playing in the outdoor space unsupervised”.

As a result inspectors issued a ‘letter of concern’ to the provider on the day after the visit, requiring immediate action to be taken.

The inspectors did return a few days later and it was found that the manager had taken action to reduce the risks to children and the setting was found to be “better presented”.

Although the report acknowledged that staff had built strong relationships as a team and that the service recognised the importance of building relationships with families it outlined a series of other concerns.

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These included poor interactions between children and staff, that children’s safety was being “compromised” by being continually moved to different playrooms to be cared for.

Food choices were judged unhealthy with children being given tinned foods on a regular basis, containing high levels of sugar and salt, with mealtimes judged to be “at times chaotic”.

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

Nappy changing procedures were criticised, the report stating: “We found that babies who had begun to toilet train were using the same toilet as staff. We found nappy changing areas dirty, cluttered, untidy and items were not being stored in line with guidance”.

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The service, provided by Zara Hedley trading as the Old Station Nursery, was rated ‘weak’ for its care, play and learning, its setting and for its staff team and ‘unsatisfactory’ for its leadership.

The Care Inspectorate has required the service to introduce a series of improvements before the end of October and further improvements before the end of November.

The service has been asked to respond to the Care Inspectorate criticisms.