A NEWLY opened nursery has been slammed by Ofsted for putting children at "significant risk of harm" due to failures in referencing staff members.

Best Friends Private Day Nursery and Pre-school, which opened in Tyldesley in 2021, received a damning 'inadequate' rating following an inspection in September.

The nursery is stated to have "not followed procedures" when giving out references, possibly leading to unsuitable staff being employed at other sites.

“Leaders have failed to share critical information to help inform a recruitment decision,” the Ofsted report said.

“This means that potentially unsuitable staff are able to work at other settings which place children at risk of significant harm.”

Following the report, the nursery, which is based on the new retail park on Mosley Common Road, was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted. 

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Despite these setbacks, parents interviewed by Ofsted describe the setting as "amazing" and detailed how their children's confidence and social skills have come on.

Staff were commended by inspectors for developing "warm, happy relationships" with the children and developing their vocabulary skills through "skilful questioning repetition".

Children with disabilities or additional needs are also said to be well supported in the nursery, while safeguarding was well understood by staff who were reported to be knowledgeable on warning signs of abuse and risk.

The inadequate Ofsted rating is said to be a matter of frustration for the nursery, who believe this one failure has "undone their hard work".

They said they understand why they have been given this rating and have vowed to change.

A spokesman for Best Friends said: “Whilst the Ofsted report is full of praise for the amazing team we have at Best Friends and notes that children attending are ‘safe and secure’ and that ‘staff have warm, happy relationships with children’, it makes clear there is one area where we had fallen short of our high standards and that alone has had a huge impact on the outcome of their report.

"This pertains directly to an issue at our Nursery Support Centre where a request for a background reference was not responded to in a timely manner.

“Despite this being a one-off occurrence, Ofsted understandably have a no-tolerance policy on such breaches of their guidelines and as result the setting has been issued with an inadequate rating. 

"It is hugely frustrating to see that an administrative error has undone the huge amount of work the whole team at Best Friends have done to make the nursery one of the most popular and well-respected nurseries in the area.

“Our Nursery Support Centre has carried out a full investigation surrounding this issue and the systems and procedures linked to this have been amended to ensure the organisation is able to consistently meet the strict requirements of Ofsted. 

"We look forward to welcoming Ofsted back to the nursery when we are certain the outcome of their inspection will truly reflect the high quality childcare delivered by the nursery and its team.”