Fraserburgh nursery Happy Days has been criticised by a watchdog over its “weak” level of care during the pandemic, with poor measures to prevent the spread of infection among the failings.
Representatives from the Care Inspectorate visited the facility in November to check its Covid-19 compliance, and have now released a report detailing their findings.
The nursery, within the North Links leisure centre, has been rated “weak” for its level of care and support due to a lack of infection control, hazardous fixtures and staff who were “not competent”.
Happy Days has the capacity to care for up to 30 children under 12-years-old, and was temporarily closed during the early stages of the national lockdown.
Its manager says she has challenged the grade awarding, saying it was “completely unfair”.
The Care Inspectorate paid a virtual visit on November 2, before following up in person on November 9.
It found that some children’s details had not been updated, while others were allowed to start there without any information in place.
The Care Inspectorate’s report said: “This meant staff were not informed on how best to meet children’s care and support needs putting children at risk of harm and emotional distress.”
Concerns were also raised regarding infection prevention at Happy Days nursery.
Inspectors noted that procedures had changed during the pandemic, with the addition of posters and hand sanitiser at the pick-up point and enhanced cleaning procedures in place.
But they said: “Infection control procedures were not followed by staff when completing a nappy change.
“Aprons and gloves were worn, however, these were not removed when putting on the clean nappy and dressing the child, potentially causing contamination and risk of infection.”
Changes to the interior of the nursery had been described as “attractive,” with the installation of new windows to allow ventilation also welcomed.
Inspectors noted that a trellis with fairy lights was dangerous as the battery pack could be reached by children, and it was immediately removed.
The Care Inspectorate called on nursery staff to look at how the length of time children spent playing and learning outdoors could be improved, adding: “Some children did not access outdoor play every day.
“Opportunities were available to go to the local park or beach, but the play experiences were time restricted and not suitable for children with additional support needs.”
Inspectors noted that parents were “confident” in the level of care on offer at Happy Days, and saw “very positive” interactions between staff and children.
But they said: “Some staff were not skilled and competent when working with children with additional support needs.”
Management were praised for ensuring members of staff wore face coverings and alleviating employees’ anxieties and worries about working during the pandemic.
Nursery manager Heather Campbell said they were given examples of what would constitute a “weak” and a “very good” rating.
She said: “The work we are doing and evidence we have accrued since reopening in August are on a par with a ‘very good’ example.
“Our children are safe and well looked after, our parents are happy and we are following all the rules regarding Covid-19.”