Northampton nursery owner says Ofsted inspection did not influence decision to close one of its sites

Owner says closure earlier this year was as a result of staff member on long-term sick leave

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:57 pm
The Dovecote Nursery was closed in February this year.
The Dovecote Nursery was closed in February this year.

The owner of a chain of children's nurseries in Northampton says an Ofsted inspection had no influence over its decision to close one of its sites earlier than it originally announced.

The Dovecote nursery, operated by The Nannery Ltd, also known as Home From Home, closed its premises in Kislingbury in February.

The owner of the nursery, Maria Noble, says the inspection was not the reason for the closure and stated that it was closed because of a member of staff's long-term sick leave.

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A Northampton nursery manager says a visit from Ofsted did not influence her decision to shut one of her properties.

"The nursery closed prematurely as explained to parents, due to the [member of staff's] illness," she said.

"We gave notice to the Dovecote owners of the building lease and exercised a break clause back in October 20 and the nursery has since been sold. We had another site in mind to move to but decided to not go ahead with this.

"The [senior member of staff], in January 21, had an unexplained illness and had notified us of their long term illness. It was during their initial absence that we had an Ofsted inspection with no immediate actions or sanctions. Ofsted had graded us Good in January 2018 and in September 2019 and an action was raised on February 22 after the nursery had closed.

"Ofsted intervention did not close the nursery.

"The ripples of COVID has had a fundamental influence on our company with 350 children to now 160 children. We continue to work hard to keep things positive."

In a statement released to the Chronicle & Echo this week, Ofsted said it had carried out the visit on January 20 and a report was published on February 22.

A spokesperson for Ofsted said: "We found that the provider was not meeting all of the requirements of the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and it was our intention to take action to ensure the provider put matters right.

"However, the provider resigned their registration for this setting before any action was issued by us."

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.