Dundee’s Little Scholars Day Nursery is standing by the boss at the centre of discrimination claims made by Humza Yousaf.
The Health Secretary and his wife Nadia El-Nakla have lodged a complaint with the Care Inspectorate over allegations their two-year-old daughter Amal was discriminated against when she was refused a place at the Broughty Ferry nursery, whose owners deny the claims.
Mr Yousaf, who went public on the issue in last Monday’s Daily Record, claims Amal was rejected because of her “ethnic” name while other children were granted a space.
Emails to and from manager Michelle Mill, who is still in the post, are said to form part of his complaint.
‘She is professional, compassionate and incredibly hard working’
A spokesperson for the nursery told the Scotland on Sunday: “Our nursery is extremely proud of being open and inclusive to all and any claim to the contrary is demonstrably false and an accusation that we would refute in the strongest possible terms.
“We also stand by the member of staff, named by the media, who has been with us since the nursery opened 14 years ago.
“She is professional, compassionate, incredibly hard working and a valued member of our team.
“In addition to our owners being of Asian heritage, across more than a decade we have regularly welcomed both children and staff from a range of different religious, cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds including two Muslim families currently.
“We have also regularly made arrangements to accommodate different lifestyles by, for example, providing a halal menu for those children who come from Muslim families.”
They added: “We note Mr Yousaf’s call for a Care Inspectorate investigation and this is something we would absolutely welcome.
“We have nothing to hide and look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate the policies and procedures we have in place to ensure we are a nursery that is open and welcoming to all.”
‘No investigation and no apology’
Humza Yousaf says he is yet to receive an explanation from the nursery as to what happened.
He said: “There has been no investigation, no apology and no confirmation that protocols are being introduced to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future.
“In fact, the lack of communication from the nursery has been deafening and, unless we receive answers to our wholly reasonable questions, we will be left to draw the only possible conclusion that we have been discriminated against by either company policy or a rogue employee.”
A spokesman for the Care Inspectorate added: “A concern has been raised with us about this service and we are considering all information given to us carefully.
“If we uphold a complaint we publish the outcome on our website.”
Just days after story broke, Ms El-Nakla opened her heart to The Courier and Evening Telegraph on the “sickening” abuse she and her family had received as a result of going public.
‘Victim blaming at the highest level’
Ms El-Nakla – left in tears by Twitter and Facebook comments – also said it showed an “underbelly of racism” in Scotland.
She said: “What frustrates me is people who have never experienced discrimination in their life are telling me how I should deal with it.
“It is victim blaming at the highest level.”
Little Scholars Day Nursery is run, alongside a chain of care homes, by the Fowdar family who are understood to be of Indo-Mauritian origin.