A NURSERY manager has spoken about the difficulties of running a setting in the current climate after its latest Ofsted inspection.

Kaleidoscope Drighlington, in Adwalton Court, Hodgson Lane was visited by the education watchdog on June 14.

The nursery – which provides full day care for 212 children aged 0 to 11 – was rated 'requires improvement' by inspectors.

It marked a drop from its previous 'outstanding' status.

Jane Middlebrook, managing director of Kaleidoscope Drighlington, revealed recruitment over the past two years has been “incredibly difficult”. 

She had employed agency staff for the first time in the nursery's 32 year history.

This was sparked by a combination of reduced numbers wanting to train in early education, Brexit, and the after-effects of the Covid pandemic.

She said: “Our staff have worked incredibly hard over the past five years to ensure that the children in our care receive the best quality pre-school education possible.

“Understandably we cannot train transient staff to the same high standard as those who work for us permanently.

“The inspectors recognised that although all children were happy and well cared for across the nursery, standards of teaching were lower in the two rooms where we employ agency staff.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kaleidoscope Drighlington, in Adwalton Court, Hodgson LaneKaleidoscope Drighlington, in Adwalton Court, Hodgson Lane (Image: Google Street View)

The inspector found children aged 16 months to three years old were being cared for by either newly recruited staff or agency staff.

It means routines and boundaries are inconsistent to this age group.

The report said: “Staff do not encourage all children to participate in planned activities, like circle time, which results in children missing out on these positive learning experiences.

“At other times, lots of children excitedly descend on newly set up activities, like painting.

“Staff do not consistently support children to learn boundaries or encourage them to wait for their turn.

“As staff become too busy trying to manage all children, the experience becomes less purposeful.”

Long-term staff look after the babies and pre-school children and, in light of staffing issues, care for a high number of key children.

The report said: “These staff acknowledge the difficulties this poses and how they are trying to do their best for the children.”

The children they look after have more effective routines, with staff actively engaging with those who are reluctant to join in with circle time activities.

The report also said: “The youngest babies are supported to develop close bonds and attachments to key staff.”

Ms Middlebrook said the Drighlington nursery is now under new management and, following a rigorous recruitment campaign, more permanent staff are employed.

Parents have met with staff amid efforts to highlight the nursery's action to maintain high standards.