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Owner’s fury as Heworth House Nursery shuts
A NURSERY which was given the all-clear after it was the subject of a child welfare investigation has closed – with the owner claiming the business was “destroyed” by the way the probe was conducted.
Heworth House Nursery, in Melrosegate, was one of two nurseries at the centre of inquiries launched by Ofsted, City of York Safefuarding Children Board and North Yorkshire Police in August last year, following complaints about the care and supervision of children.
Six female members of staff were arrested, but no action was taken against them.
Ofsted said earlier this year that “prompt and appropriate action” had been taken by Lynne Dyrdal, the owner of Heworth House and Little Joe’s Nurseries, and City of York Safeguarding Children Board confirmed that the joint investigation was over.
But Mrs Dyrdal said at the time that her business had been “left in tatters” by the inquiry, and the number of children at Heworth House had fallen from 30 when the investigation began to only four. She said she planned to seek damages.
Her solicitor, Mark Burn, confirmed yesterday that Heworth House had closed. “Mrs Dyrdal is devastated,” he said. “She spent 30 years building up the business which she believes has now been destroyed.”
Mr Burn criticised the way in which the inquiries were conducted, “with police on the nursery doors,” when the complaints had related to procedural and administrative issues.
He said Mrs Dyrdal would be speaking to a barrister next week about the options for taking legal action for damages. He said Little Joe’s, situated in Hospital Fields Road, remained in business and was seeking new children to attend.
A spokesman for the City of York Safeguarding Children Board said that all of the agencies involved in the investigation – North Yorkshire Police, Ofsted and the Board – had exercised their statutory duties within clear regulatory frameworks.
“These frameworks exist to keep children safe and to ensure that children’s needs and safety are the paramount consideration whenever concerns are raised,” he added.