Welcome Nurseries’ app inadvertently uploaded a document informing parents of list of faux pas it had made and posting it in information it publishes for parents
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A nursery panicked parents by accidentally sending out a secret list of its most worrying mistakes.
The internal document was posted on Welcome Nurseries’ app and included a near escape, a boy getting stuck in the loo and a toddler left to sit with faeces on his leg.
The company which owns Smarties in Enderby, Leicestershire, uses the app to keep parents up to date and inform them of any announcements.
But it inadvertently uploaded a document informing parents of list of faux pas it had made, LeicestershireLive reports.
It was quickly taken down and parents were informed it had been posted in error by a member of staff at the firm’s head office.
The biggest issue to emerge from the post was the fact that, in July 2021, a child attending the West Street pre-school was found about to walk through a gate said to have been left open by a member of staff.
The company said a receptionist spotted the child thanks to the building’s CCTV cameras and was able to intervene before the child walked through the gate and into the car park.
A member of staff reported the incident to the then-manager and deputy manager.
But it did not report the incident to the child’s family, to head office or Ofsted, the company told
The firm said head office was only made aware of the incident in early-January this year and had contacted the child’s parents to inform them of what had happened.
It says an investigation is ongoing into that and a number of other incidents – and a new management team is running the nursery now.
They also acknowledged that staff members did not whistle-blow to superiors after realising the management had not reported the incident – with staff now retrained to report such issues in the future.
A second issue mentioned in the letter admits that a pre-school boy was shut in the toilet “for some time”, leaving them visibly shaking and crying when let out.
The letter says the incident happened when a staff member was told to close the door to the bathroom to “stop children running in and out”.
They did not check the cubicles to see if any children were on the toilet and this resulted in the boy being left behind the door.
Welcome Nurseries said the door was accidentally closed while the child was in there, but when staff realised the he had not returned to the room, they went back to the bathroom and let him out.
Other issues in the accidental post include reports of a staff member wiping babies’ bottoms with antibacterial wipes instead of wet wipes, causing the babies to have sore, bleeding bottoms.
A later investigation by the nursery did not support this allegation.
A cook was reported to have been left to supervise pre-school children alone with no qualifications to do so, and a child in soiled nappy was left unattended for so long that faeces “was stuck to his leg” and took “15 minutes to remove.”
One parent whose child attends the nursery, who wishes to be anonymous, said: “The entire post is very worrying, but my child attends the nursery section so I am particularly concerned that a member of staff was using antibacterial wipes on the babies’ bottoms.
“I definitely haven’t been told about it and only found out due to the letter.
“We have to provide our own baby wipes so there was literally no excuse for them to use anything else, they are completely different.
“They have covered staff mistakes up and we wouldn’t have known about it if the letter wasn’t posted.
“The nursery was already unreliable generally before this and had caused some concern, but hearing about a child escaping in the summer makes me worry if, as a parent, will I find out if my child has been put at risk?”
A spokesperson for Welcome Nurseries has confirmed the management in charge of Smarties Nursery has changed since the incidents in question, and that the company was tackling the situation as a matter or urgency.
An internal investigation is currently running to determine how and why the issues came about – including why the nursery’s management had not reported the issues to head office after being informed by staff members.
The spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we received an email of concern on the 6th January regarding alleged incidents that took place around July last year, under previous management.
“We can also confirm that we had no prior knowledge of the incidents until the email was sent to us.
“The safety and well-being of all our children are our number one priority and we immediately carried out a full investigation.
“It was alleged that a child managed to escape from the nursery into the car park.
“Whilst this allegation was unfounded, on investigation it was found that a gate was left open which was seen on CCTV by the receptionist, who acted immediately before the child went out of the gate.
“We also investigated further incidents which occurred around the same time in which a child was left in the bathroom on their own.
“Our investigation found that a child had entered the bathroom area and a member of staff not knowing he was there closed the door.
“Both incidents were reported to the previous management team who are no longer with the company, however these were not reported onward or investigated at the time.
“These incidents fall well below our standard of care and we have since retrained our staff.
“We are continuing to work with our parents and can assure all parents that we take all concerns seriously and act on them.
“We profusely apologise to all our children and parents that these incidents occurred and that we were not made aware of them sooner. We have not yet finished our investigations in this matter.
“We have a new management structure in place at the setting. We would also like to thank our parents for their continued support.”
A Leicestershire County Council spokesperson said: “We have very recently been made aware of concerns raised by a parent and will be working with the setting to ensure the appropriate procedures and policies are in place.”