‘Sharp objects’ found in Darwen’s ‘inadequate’ playground

Peekaboo Daycare, Darwen Access Point, Duckworth Street, Darwen. Photo credit: Google Street View

A nursery where “standing water, broken fences and sharp objects” were found in the playground has been deemed “inadequate”.

Coucou Daycare in Darwen Access Point, Duckworth Street, Darwen, received the lowest rating from inspectors following a visit on February 10.

Inspector Rachel Waterhouse noted that the safety and wellbeing of children was “not sufficiently supported” and that staff did not have “enough knowledge of how to protect the environment”, saying that she saw hazards including “standing water, broken fences and objects” in the outdoor play area.

The report also notes that children have “little interest in what is on offer” and often wonder “that they are bored”.

The report states: “In the role play area, children throw objects because they don’t know what to do with them and the staff don’t show them.

“Children have not been helped to develop exploration skills during play and do not know how to interact with what is on offer.

“Also, the older kids get their lunch and have their coat put on for them. This does not promote their independence in school readiness.

The inspector also noted that staff “do not receive the support and guidance they need” to understand their roles and responsibilities.

Ms Waterhouse said staff did not fully understand how to properly protect children, did not know how to deal with disruptive behavior and did not take the time to talk to parents to help them “best support the needs and interests of their child consistently”.

The report states: “When children exhibit disruptive behavior, staff do not know how to deal with it.

“As a result, children become anxious and environments become chaotic, which makes it difficult for children to concentrate.

“Children aren’t interested in activities and learning because staff don’t know what excites and interests them.

“Furthermore, children’s development is not encouraged at home because parents don’t know what their children are learning. Children do not make the progress of which they are capable.

Programs are not “broad or rich” to support children’s progress, and leaders have not informed all parents of who their child’s new “key person” is, resulting in a lack of regular communication in both directions.

Although this had no impact on the children, Ofsted noted that the supplier failed to inform them of the significant changes to the framework, breaching the requirements.

Ofsted praised the nursery for its “caring staff” who overall bond with the children.

The report states, “Children are happy to ask for help and participate in group activities, such as story time. Their care needs are met and they benefit from a range of healthy cooked foods.

“Children develop physical skills outdoors by climbing and balancing on devices.

“They learn about healthy lifestyles by exercising and eating healthy homemade meals and snacks.”

A spokesperson for Darwen’s daycare said: ‘Unfortunately we have been rated ‘unsuitable’ by Ofsted.

“We have had many challenges throughout covid including our director and assistant leaving together for maternity and there is also a nationwide early years recruitment crisis which is making it difficult to hire staff of good quality.

“We fully understand the nature of the report and the changes we need to make, we are doing everything we can to rectify the issues mentioned in the report and have already started to take action.

“We have hired a new, experienced manager who has 18 years of early years experience and is passionate and committed to changing that outcome for the children and families in our care.

“We would like to thank the families who took the time to discuss this with us and understand how we are moving forward in the future.”

During another recent inspection, one of the The provisions of Peekaboo Day Care on Accrington Road in Blackburn have been classified as ‘requiring improvement’.

Harold B. McConnell