E.coli nursery ordered to make improvements after 'adequate' rating

The nursery is one of four who saw their funding for free care pulled by East Lothian Council last month.

East Lothian Pear Tree E.coli nursery ordered to improve to protect children’s dignity by inspectors LDRS

A nursery at the centre of an E.coli outbreak has been criticised for leaving children a “considerable” time before they were fed or put down for a nap while inspectors visited.

The Pear Tree Nursery in Church Street, Haddington, was visited by Care Inspectorate officers in September after reopening following the outbreak in August this year.

But while inspectors said they were “satisfied” the nursery had acted to fully address the risk following what they described as a “serious incident” they still had concerns about some of the controls in place.

Inspectors graded the nursery setting as a grade three or “adequate”, providing the same “adequate” grading to its care, play and learning, leadership and staff team.

They issued a requirement to the nursery to create a separate nappy-changing area for younger children after failing to find one in place as well as criticising one of the toilets in a “small space” which youngsters were using with the door open saying “This presented a potential risk to the spread of infection and did not support children’s privacy and dignity”.

And their report into the nursery said that while “most children received warm, nurturing care” and “most children experienced a relaxed pace and positive nurturing interactions with staff” it was inconsistent.

They said: “Some staff interactions were task focused and did not prioritise the building of positive relationships or support quality daily experiences.

“For example children in one of the playrooms waited a considerable time before going into the garden, having lunch and going to sleep.”

The nursery is one of four in East Lothian owned by Bright Stars Nursery Group who saw their funding for free care pulled by East Lothian Council last month after the local authority said it was not meeting the national care standards.

The decision came as a blow following an E-Coli outbreak which saw all three of its Haddington nurseries closed along with two unconnected nurseries in Musselburgh.

The report did highlight that staff at the nursery felt valued and encouraged the positive interactions which were seen with most of the children.

A spokesperson for Bright Stars, who took ownership of the nursery in June, welcomed the inspectors’ recognition of children’s emotional needs being met and a recent review of its care plans in partnership with parents.

They said: “We are also pleased with their positive comments about the nursery environment and the improvements that had already been made, and that we have developed improved quality assurance processes. The inspectors also recognised that staff felt valued and supported.

“Prior to the inspection we had identified a comprehensive programme of improvements, including to nappy changing facilities and the gardens, and significant investment in nursery facilities and in staff training and development is already taking place.

“We have developed a detailed action plan to ensure those areas identified by the inspectors will be prioritised in line with our aim of ensuring all our children receive the highest quality care.”