Children 'not safe' at Oswestry forest preschool

Harris and Ethan Image copyright Park Hall Forest Preschool
Image caption Robyn Lovelock's sons Harris and Ethan have been attending the preschool for a year and get brilliant care, she said.

Children at a forest preschool, where pupils learn outdoors, are "not safe" and enforcement action is to be taken, Ofsted has said.

Poor safeguarding at Park Hall Forest Preschool in Oswestry, Shropshire, puts children at risk, inspectors reported.

Pupils were expected to wash their hands in "a bowl of dirty, muddy water", and inspectors found "rotting fruit and vegetables" in a play area.

The preschool said parents were "thrilled" with the way it operates.

Park Hall Forest Preschool, which has 42 pupils, was visited by Ofsted in December and rated as inadequate.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Park Hall Forest Preschool is based at the Park Hall Countryside Experience in Oswestry

Inspectors reported finding "rotting fruit and vegetables left in stagnant water" in the area where children play and said pupils washed their hands in muddy water after going to the toilet and before they eat.

Other criticisms included:

  • No appointed safeguarding lead
  • Staff knowing very little about children's achievements and learning needs
  • Children's health and safety not prioritised
  • Poor systems for reviewing accidents and injuries

Ofsted said it intended to take enforcement action, providing a list of six welfare requirements the preschool must enact by 20 January, which included good hygiene procedures.

Preschool manager Lara Lloyd said it was working to address the requirements made by Ofsted, some of which, she said, were because paperwork had not been available to inspectors of the day.

She claimed the rotting fruits and vegetables were the school's compost heap and said work was ongoing to improve handwashing facilities.

"We are a forest school pre-school which is unique in our area and all our parents are thrilled with the way we do things and the education their children receive with us," she said.

Some parents said they were surprised by the report.

Robyn Lovelock from Llangollen said: "I was so disappointed to hear they hadn't had a positive report, my two children have been attending for over a year and received nothing but brilliant care."

Another said he was happy with the preschool and not concerned about the report.

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