STAFF at a nursery in Rhu have been told they must drastically improve the quality of service provided to children after a scathing Care Inspectorate report highlighted “significant cause for concern”.

Kanga Rhu Preschool was the subject of an unannounced visit by the regulatory body in October 2018, with a full report of the findings only just published.

The facility’s quality of management and leadership was graded as unsatisfactory, the lowest classification available, while it was rated as weak in each of the three other criteria assessed: quality of care and support, quality of environment and quality of staffing.

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The inspection report states: “For several years, this service was managed through a peripatetic management arrangement. However, it was very clear that this arrangement was no longer working effectively. We found that there was no clear direction for the service.

“For the most part there was no manager in day-to-day charge to manage the service, support staff and ensure quality outcomes for children.

“Staff were attempting to carry out management responsibilities over and above those of their own roles, when they were neither registered nor equipped to carry out these additional responsibilities.

“There had been a significant drop in standards and in the quality of outcomes for children which gave us significant cause for concern.”

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The report notes that staff were not being supported on a day-to-day basis by management and were expected to perform tasks which were “clearly outwith their remit,” leading to them becoming “demoralised, stressed and frustrated and on one occasion this frustration was evident in how a child was treated”.

It adds: “We found that staff were trying their best to provide quality outcomes for children but this was seriously compromised by the current staffing model.

“While the staffing model in place at the time of inspection complied with the prescribed adult to child ratio, the layout of the premises required at least three staff to provide positive outcomes for children.

“This meant that staff were working with additional pressures, which made performing their roles extremely difficult.”

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The report does mention that inspectors observed positive relationships between staff and children and overall staff were “kind and caring in most interactions”.

Feedback from parents and carers also reflects more favourably, with responses indicating they were happy and satisfied with the service and one parent commenting: “Kanga Rhu has a lovely positive atmosphere and the staff are excellent.”

However, several recommendations from a previous inspection which took place in March 2016 had not yet been addressed.

“At this inspection, we found that the entire building needed to be decorated,” the latest report says.

“In some areas we were concerned that there was a smell of dampness. Many of the carpets were worn and dirty in places. Many surfaces were dusty and dirty, which gave the environment an unloved feel.”

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Further requirements have been put forward following the inspection which must be met by June and July this year in order for the nursery to tackle the issues raised.

Anne King, manager of the facility which is run in partnership with Argyll and Bute Council, said staff are working hard to improve the service.

She said: “Since October we have engaged with Argyll and Bute Early Years staff on a very regular basis.

“We agreed on an action plan formulated from the oral feedback given at the time to ensure our service secures the necessary improvements.”