A Brent nursery has been slammed for not ensuring children get enough food and drink at mealtimes - but avoided losing its licence.

Little Explorers Nursery is based near St Sebastian and St Pancras Church in Kingsbury, although the church is not involved in its running.

It provides daycare for children up to the age of four, was first inspected by education watchdog Ofsted on January 19 and rated 'inadequate' - the lowest score.

The inspectors' report, published on February 23, criticised the quality of education, the leadership, and the safeguarding of the children.

During their visit, inspectors witnessed children still playing or walking around during mealtimes, which put them at risk of choking, while others were not even provided with enough food and drink. 

The report said: “Some children do not eat enough to provide them with the nutrients they need to sustain themselves throughout their time at nursery. Staff do not ensure that children always have access to fresh drinking water. This could put children at risk of becoming dehydrated.”

At times, children were described as not feeling safe or secure due to the leadership not having strategies to manage their behaviour. Inspectors said there were many occasions where kids behaved badly, including hurting each other or snatching toys.

The nursery is in receipt of funding from Brent Council for the provision of free early education for children aged between two and four years, but Ofsted described the quality of the curriculum as “not good enough”, with not enough staff with the necessary skills to provide good care.

Inspectors said: “Staff do not plan activities for children with a clear purpose to meet the next steps of individual children. Quieter children sometimes receive little attention and are too often unnoticed by staff. Therefore, children are not well prepared for the next stage of their learning, such as starting school.”

Whilst the report highlighted strong partnerships between staff and parents, as well as the bonds between staff and children, it also concluded that kids’ safety and well-being on site is compromised.

The report following the first inspection said: “Children are not kept sufficiently safe in the nursery environment. They are at risk of infection as leaders have not yet implemented effective hygiene practices. [They] are at risk of harm due to unidentified risks in the setting. For example, wires hang down in reach, and radiator covers are broken.”

A follow-up visit was carried out on January 31 to check whether the nursery had addressed issues noted in the inspection in order to maintain its Ofsted registration. Inspectors were satisfied that the necessary safeguarding and welfare actions changes had been made and it could keep its registration. 

A Brent Council spokesperson said: “Ofsted is the arbiter of quality for early years settings. The council continues to work in a supportive way with individual childcare providers and the sector as a whole to improve outcomes including when areas of need are identified.”

Little Explorers Nursery was approached for comment but did not respond ahead of publication.

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