An Inverurie nursery has been rated “weak” by inspectors after they found children to be “distressed” and “disinterested” at times.
Kellands School Nursery on Upper Manse Road was given four “weak” ratings by the Care Inspectorate.
The watchdog for care services uses a six-point scale for its evaluations with six being excellent – a weak evaluation is two.
The nursery was given the rating for its care, play and learning, setting, leadership and staff team.
Two inspectors carried out an unannounced visit to the facility which is operated by Aberdeenshire Council in September.
The nursery is run from an annex within Kellands Primary School.
During their time there they spoke to children, parents and members of staff.
Inspectors noted that staff numbers were “insufficient” and plans for children’s care were “not used effectively”.
They found that staff did not always “appropriately and sensitively” meet the needs of children, while some youngsters were found to be “distressed” and “disinterested” and staff were unable to support them.
Meanwhile, inspectors said that lunch and snack times were “not a positive experience” for most children.
The lunch area was found to be noisy and busy with staff unable to supervise the youngsters properly.
Children with dietary requirements were also not given the proper care and attention and there were occasions when they weren’t given the correct portions of food.
Inspectors said that the nursery missed opportunities to extend children’s learning experiences as some youngsters were seen to be wandering around with little interaction from staff.
They reported that personal protective equipment and soiled clothing were not stored appropriately while nappy changing areas were “disorganised”.
Inspectors claimed that this could put children at risk of infection.
Worryingly, inspectors also said that security arrangements were “not well considered” and there was potential for children to walk out of the nursery unnoticed.
They also found gaps in the outdoor fencing where youngsters could escape.
Parents had shared their concerns with inspectors about staffing changes and poor communication, while staff themselves said they had limited “quality” time to sit and play with youngsters.
They also recognised that the care, support and interactions they had could all be improved.
The Care Inspectorate has made a number of requirements and improvements for the nursery to make.
These include updating children’s personal plans and, within a fortnight, ensuring the nursery is kept clean and safe.
Aberdeenshire Council has been approached for comment.