Oswestry pre-school held 'no records' on new staff's DBS checks – report

A pre-school in Oswestry failed to carry out background checks on staff, a report has revealed.

But those responsible for Oswestry Methodist Church Pre-School say it was an “admin error” after failing to obtain enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for all staff.

They are now working to resolve it within a two-month deadline set by Ofsted inspector Scott Thomas-White who has rated the pre-school ‘inadequate’.

The Rev Stella Long, who joined the church 12 months ago, said it was her mistake.

“Basically what has happened is there has been a change of minister and I’m afraid with the new minister not realising what is being required one or two things have slipped by,” she said.

“It is in hand and is being sorted. The DBS checks are in hand and we are due to be inspected again by the end of November. By then we are hoping it is going to be perfect.”

Rev Long added: “Nothing else was found. The quality of the teaching was praised, we were given one or two lessons of how to be outstanding, and we will be implementing them for when they (the inspectors) come back.

“It really is just the admin. I’ve never had a pre-school (in my remit) before so I didn’t realise what was required.”

In his report, Mr Thomas-White was critical of the committee, which runs the pre-school and is answerable to the church council.

He said they were not able to demonstrate “robust recruitment procedures” because they “do not maintain important records”.

Mr Thomas-White said: “Safeguarding is ineffective. The committee has employed two new members of staff in the past two years.

“However, there are no records held to demonstrate that they have obtained a Disclosure and Barring Service check and followed appropriate vetting procedures for these staff. The manager is aware of this and does ensure that these unvetted staff do not work unsupervised with the children.

“The records of the Disclosure and Barring Service checks obtained for the rest of the staff are incomplete.”

He also criticised the committee for not supporting the manager, adding: "The manager provides effective supervision for staff. He gives them feedback to help them improve their performance.

“However, despite the manager having contact with children and families the committee do not provide him with supervision. This means they do not effectively support the manager in his role and enable him to discuss any issues, such as concerns about children.”

But the report praised staff and their knowledge of child protection procedures and monitoring children’s learning.

By Emily Lloyd, Local Democracy Reporter

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