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Nurseries boss says all-clear is too late
THE owner of two York nurseries at the centre of a child welfare investigation says receiving the all-clear from watchdogs has come too late to prevent her business being “left in tatters”.
Ofsted launched an inquiry into Heworth House and Little Joe’s day nurseries last August following complaints about the care and supervision of children, part of an investigation also involving City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police.
Six female members of staff were arrested, but no action was taken against them. Ofsted has now said “prompt and appropriate action” has been taken by the nurseries’ owner, Lynne Dyrdal.
A March inspection found the nurseries “fully compliant” and City of York Safeguarding Children Board has confirmed the joint investigation is now over.
But Mrs Dyrdal said her business had been wrecked by the inquiry.
The number of children at Melrosegate-based Heworth House had fallen from 30 when the investigation began to only four, and she said numbers at Little Joe’s, in Hospital Fields Road, had more than halved. Her solicitor, Mark Burn, said four nursery staff had now been made redundant.
Mrs Dyrdal said: “I’m very sad and distressed, because after 30 years of hard work, my business and reputation have been left in tatters. Children have been ripped away from nurseries where they were happy and loved, and staff have had their careers ruined.” Mr Burn said the inquiry was an overreaction to “procedural issues”, such as risk assessments, which needed “tightening up”.
He said: “It just seems as if it was a sledgehammer to crack the proverbial nut.”
Ofsted’s report said the complaints related to safeguarding, promoting children’s health, behaviour management, staffing arrangements and supporting children with disabilities at both nurseries.
A spokesman for the Safeguarding Board said: “We have been unable to update parents until the nursery owner had been made fully aware of the investigation’s findings.
“We remain committed to keeping parents informed and are currently in communication with the owner regarding the next steps.
“We will provide an update to parents as soon as possible.”