Mystery surrounds closure of Northampton nursery ran by beleaguered operator

Two scathing Ofsted reports, sister site shut down and owner told to pay £40,000 in compensation

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 12:05 pm

A Northampton nursery - part of an independent chain in the town that has come under fire for unfairly sacking a pregnant employee at one of its other sites - has closed.

Churchside, run by the Nannery, shut at some point after an Ofsted inspection in February last year, which rated it as 'inadequate'.

Children at the Spencer Avenue nursery were not appropriately safeguarded and staff's interaction with the kids varied in quality, according to the education watchdog's report.

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Home from Home, known as Churchside, on Spencer Avenue, Northampton. Photo: Google

"Children's health, safety and welfare are compromised. Staff do not always follow appropriate procedures when managing medicines," Ofsted's report, published in June 2020, reads.

"The provider does not ensure that she has a good knowledge and understanding of the signs that may indicate a child is at risk of being exposed to extreme views or behaviours.

"Furthermore, not all staff are clear on the policy with regard to allegations against staff and who to refer concerns to."

Ofsted told The Nannery, which ran Churchside at the time, to make a raft of changes by March 18.

The inspection in February 2020 came six months after another visit from Ofsted which also rated it as 'inadequate', the lowest possible score, having previously been 'good'.

The Nannery closed another premises in Kislingbury, called The Dovecote, in February this year, which the operator insisted was due to a long-term staff illness and not an Ofsted inspection.

Maria Noble, who runs the nursery group which is also known as 'Home from Home', was ordered to pay £39,535 in compensation to The Dovecote's former manager for unfair dismissal and not allowing her to attend hospital appointments.

The Nannery was also put up for sale last year, with sealed bids required by July 15, 2020 - it is unclear whether or not the firm is still up for sale or not.

It is not clear when Churchside shut as its page on The Nannery's website is still live but Ofsted has confirmed to this newspaper it is closed.

Despite the closure of Dovecote and Churchside, The Nannery Ltd operates three other nurseries in Northampton - Village View, in Great Houghton, Parkside, on St George's Avenue, and Riverside, on Crow Lane.

The Nannery has been contacted for comment.