Nursery partly to blame for child abuse

A lack of formal staff supervision and a "weak governance framework" with "no clear lines of accountability" contributed to "an ideal environment" for a nursery worker to abuse children, says an inquiry.

A lack of formal staff supervision and a "weak governance framework" with "no clear lines of accountability" contributed to "an ideal environment" for a nursery worker to abuse children, says an inquiry.

The review of sexual abuse of children by Vanessa George at Little Ted’s nursery in Plymouth was carried out by Plymouth City Council and found that a lack of formal staff supervision was partly to blame.

George was jailed last year for a minimum of seven years for abusing children at the private nursery and photographing the abuse. The nursery was closed last June.

The Plymouth Safeguarding Children Board review concluded that Little Ted’s "provided an ideal environment within which George could abuse" where staff did not feel able to challenge inappropriate behaviour by George. However, it stated no professional could have reasonably predicted George was a risk to children.

It also blamed an informal recruitment process and stated that the Ofsted inspections of the nursery, which found it to be "good", were either not rigorous enough or the framework for inspections was not adequate.

Ofsted said: "Ofsted has already implemented a number of changes in the way we work as a result of this review and to address the recommendations made."

The review highlighted the danger of mobile phones within nursery settings as well as an urgent need to develop effective staff supervision and training for staff to spot potential signs of abuse.

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