Humza Yousaf nursery discrimination complaint upheld

Health secretary and wife accused Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry of discriminating against daughter.

Humza Yousaf nursery discrimination complaint upheld STV News
Humza Yousaf and his wife Nadia El-Nakla accused nursery of discrimination.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf’s complaint about a nursery he accused of discriminating against his daughter has been upheld by the Care Inspectorate.

Yousaf sought legal action after an application for his two-year-old daughter was refused twice by Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry.

He said an application made by a white Scottish friend for a child of the same age was accepted within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, a second application under the name ‘Sara Ahmad’ was rejected.

Advertisement

The Care Inspectorate said on Wednesday it found “the service did not promote fairness, equality and respect when offering placements”.

A spokesperson said: “We have upheld a complaint in relation to this matter. Every child in Scotland has the right to good quality care that meets their needs and respects their rights.

“We have identified areas for improvement and we will follow up on these to check on progress.

“We continue to monitor this service. If we are not satisfied that the improvements required have been met, we will not hesitate to take further action.”

Advertisement

The nursery denies the accusations that came to light in August following an investigation by Yousaf’s wife, Nadia El-Nakla, who applied for a position under a number of different names.

She claimed the nursery’s responses differed depending on how ‘Muslim or Asian’ the name sounded.

On Wednesday, the nursery said it had instructed lawyers to “demand answers from the Care Inspectorate” over the “inaccurate” statement it issued about the complaint being upheld.

A spokesperson for the nursery said: “This is an extremely suspicious and highly misleading statement, issued to the media without any notice being given to us and with a particularly inaccurate and partisan spin. 

“Contrary to the media statement issued by the Care Inspectorate, there were no findings of discrimination or any issues with a lack of equality upheld by the investigation or contained within its official report. 

“We have therefore instructed our lawyers to demand answers from the Care Inspectorate as to how this inaccurate statement was issued.”

The nursery said the Care Inspectorate found its admission procedure could be improved but that “had nothing to do with discrimination or equality”.

Advertisement

“Within a few days of becoming aware of Mr Yousaf and Ms El-Nakla’s complaint, we reviewed and updated our system for dealing with admissions,” the statement said.

“We never had the slightest doubt that the complaint against our manager’s character and integrity would be rejected. She is a long-standing and highly valued member of our team, and it’s been hugely upsetting to see her face such unfair and untrue allegations. 

“I’m sure we could have quickly resolved this issue if we had been approached directly rather than using the national media, which has caused enormous and unnecessary stress to our team and our families.”

Yousaf and El-Nakla alleged earlier this year that children with ‘Muslim or Asian sounding’ names were refused a place at the nursery, while three children with ‘white or non-Muslim sounding’ names were all offered a position.

In a joint statement released in August, they said: “Despite being given ample opportunity, Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry have failed to admit, explain or apologise for their discriminatory behaviour.

“We have both stood against hatred our whole lives, often being the targets of vile abuse. We will not accept our children being discriminated against by anyone.

“Like any other parents we simply want our children to be treated equally, regardless of their colour of skin or religion.”

Lawyer Aamer Anwar, who is acting on behalf of Yousaf and El-Nakla, told STV News on Wednesday the couple welcomed the findings by the Care Inspectorate.

He said: “It’s an independent body that carried out a robust investigation and they feel vindicated.

“First and foremost, they are loving parents who would do anything to protect their children and Humza and Nadia were left deeply upset when they believed they young daughter was being discriminated against, and that’s why they took the action they did.

“Now, that’s no different to what any parent would want for their child. The family would hope that the nursery takes the necessary actions that it needs to do – the nursery has been told to comply by December 12.

“It is disappointing that the nursery appears not to be responding very well to the findings of the Care Inspectorate, when in August they said that they welcomed the Care Inspectorate investigation.”