There are lots of discussions going on at the moment about working mums and the need for affordable childcare. With the average cost of a day nursery being £177 per week per child (much more in London) parents need to seriously look at their pay and circumstances before making a decision to stay in work after having a child.
After deciding nursery is for you next comes the choice, and really you only have your feelings and instinct to go on. As we have seen in the news even with Ofsted registration nurseries with all the right credentials are only as good as the staff running them.
This is what happened at a nursery in Cheshire.
A 3 year old girl escaped from a nursery unnoticed and walked half a mile home. She walked along a wooded path, past a pub, a shop and the path she followed is quite hidden from view. I imagine the thoughts that are flying through your mind at this moment, add to them her walk was in the vicinity of a canal. Luckily she arrived home safely knocking on the door shouting “Mummy I’m home”.
How did this happen? The child went to the toilet alone, not unusual I imagine for a 3 year old but the school and nursery are undergoing some work and workmen were in and out of the buildings, that in itself should be enough reason to accompany a lone child. There are 11 staff for 40 children and when the child left the nursery no-one noticed she was missing until a headcount, by that time she had arrived home and her mother had contacted the staff office. It is believed she walked out through a door and gate left open by workmen.
The privately run nursery which is attached to a school have all declined to comment and Ofsted investigated. This nursery has been previously praised for its wide range of activities and effective policies for safeguarding children, but policies need to be acted upon every day there is no room to be complacent.
Although this happened under circumstances different to the usual running of the nursery staff can get into a routine and things become lax when everything usually runs smoothly, and obviously no extra provision was put in place. The local council provided advice and support to the nursery and I imagine staff will be more alert and will review procedures after their shake up.