Worried about childcare: ask the expert


I am unhappy about childcare in my nursery. My two year old appears scared of staff.  They are unfriendly to me, never say hello and ignore my son when he comes in. I also find him abandoned in a corner on his own when I pick him up. He had a couple of accidents-bruised nose, scratches and bumbs. He comes home dehydrated and very thirsty – his daily sheet shows he has dry nappies all day long.Once they called me asking me where he was despite him being there! The last incident was when he left the nursery unnoticed and another parent found him outside and brought him back! The staff informed me about this incident when I came to pick him but played it down. I feel someone hurts him there as he seems terrified of some of the staff, clinging to me and holding tight, which is unusual as he is very sociable and likes company otherwise. Also he is terrified when I want to change his nappies, screaming and holding his hands in front. He gets happy as soon as he is dressed again. I don’t want to cause problems or accuse anyone, but I feel something wrong is going on in the nursery. What can I do?

Answer by

For you as a parent knowing your child is safe and happy is your priority and the concerns that you are having are serious. As such, you should request a meeting with the nursery manager immediately. It is advisable to have someone else with you at this meeting such as a friend or relative. At the meeting, explain all the problems and concerns you have described below and how they have not been resolved. It would also be advisable to provide this information as a signed letter to the nursery manager and keep a copy for yourself. If you decide to remove your child from the nursery, this may be useful if you need to prove why you have removed your child from the nursery without giving notice. You could also speak to the parent who found your child outside, and ask if they will provide a statement. You may need to seek legal advice.

If you wish to take the matter further, you should contact the manager of the Early Years Team within the local authority and let them know what has happened. They can advise you on what you should do and may decide to investigate the nursery. You can get contact details for your local authority from your local phone directory, or online at www.direct.gov.uk/en/Dl1/Directories/Localcouncils. You can also contact the Ofsted helpline to make a formal complaint on 0845 640 4040. They and the local authority can make any necessary investigations and decide whether the nursery is providing a good standard of care. Ensuring the safety of all children attending the setting is a priority.

Daycare Trust is a national childcare charity working to promote high quality affordable childcare for all. www.daycaretrust.org.uk.

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