Head’s vow to turn things around as £1,000-a-term nursery falls from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’ amid takeover talks

Ofsted logo. Picture: OFSTED

Ofsted logo. Picture: OFSTED - Credit: Archant

Bosses at a once outstanding Colchester nursery branded ‘unsafe’ in a damning Ofsted report have vowed to turn things around as takeover talks with an elite education provider resume.

Chiefs at Holmwood House School Nursery in Great Horkesley, which costs parents £1,069 a term for one full day per week, are implementing an urgent and robust view into standards after inspectors warned youngsters are not safe there.

Concerned assessors ranked the nursery, owned by the top-rated Colchester independent school Holmwood House, as ‘inadequate’ overall with good ratings for quality of teaching and outcomes for children following their most recent visit in January.

“Children are not safe,” inspector Daniella Tyler wrote in her report. “Staff fail to take swift action to safeguard children. Training provided to staff on how to respond to child protection issues has been ineffective.”

She also described the nursery’s safeguarding procedure as “poor” and suggested child protection training has been “ineffective”, putting children at risk.

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The rating comes as Bellevue Education – an organisation which describes itself as representing a group of ‘world class’ institutions – continues to discuss whether they will buy the nursery and preparatory school from current owners PFC Education LLP.

Headmaster Alexander Mitchell said: “The outcome of the Ofsted inspection at the nursery is unacceptable.

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“The inspection took place in January and we have now put in place an urgent and robust review of our processes and procedures, including additional staff training, to ensure that we now meet current regulatory requirements in these important areas.

“We are sorry this has been necessary to do. Ofsted will visit the nursery again after Easter to confirm that we have rectified the deficiencies.

He added: “The nursery, like Holmwood House School, prides itself on its breadth of education, nurturing environment and dedicated teaching community, enabling each and every young pupil to thrive and achieve.”

Representatives for the school said that Bellevue Education are fully aware of the current situation at the nursery.

Bosses have been working closely with Mr Mitchell and the nursery team developing and implementing plans to address the very specific issues outlined by inspection reports, a school spokesman added.

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