MP’s anger as Ofsted leaves parents and staff in limbo

Andrew Selous
Andrew Selous

An MP is pressing for a resolution to the withdrawal of a childcare group’s Ofsted registration which has left staff and parents in limbo since Easter.

Andrew Selous, MP for South West Beds, claims the education watchdog is being “unfair” over the protracted saga involving Bluebell Childcare’s re-registration – which, to date, has forced it to keep some of its pre-school services closed for almost a month.

Ofsted has told the LBO that Bluebell’s registration was withdrawn “pending an investigation into safeguarding concerns”, however the childcare group denies an investigation is taking place.

Bluebell – which operates a playgroup, after school club and playscheme at Southcott Lower School and Little Bluebells Playgroup and after school club at Hockliffe Lower School – has said it has needed to re-register with Ofsted following changes to its organisational structure. It adds that it is waiting for a date for a re-registration visit from Ofsted to allow it to resume normal operations.

Mr Selous said: “I am chasing Ofsted to get back to Bluebell Childcare and tell them what they need to do.

“I do not think it is fair that they do not know what they need to do.

“I will continue to chase Ofsted, I think they should get back to Bluebell in a timely manner and let them know what they need to do so Ofsted is satisfied.”

A spokesperson for Bluebell Childcare, which also runs after school clubs at middle schools across Leighton Buzzard, said: “Due to a change in the organisational structure we can conform that Bluebell Childcare are undergoing the process of re-registration with Ofsted. We were advised that our operations would not be affected.

“Unfortunately due to delays in the administrative process we are unable to deliver normal service in our pre-school settings.

“We have informed all parents and carers of the current situation and are trying everything within our power to ensure that Bluebell Playgroup and Little Bluebell’s Playgroup are up and running again as soon as possible.

“We are very grateful to all our parents for their patience and support whilst we try to rectify the matter.”

One parent, who did not wish to be named, is unhappy that his two-year-old daughter has not been at nursery at the Southcott Lower School site, since the Easter holidays.

He said: “It is not a good situation for us parents, and not a lot of information has been given to us. It is very concerning that the nursery is not registered with Ofsted.

“They claim that it is Ofsted that are to blame and they are not happy with the situation but that doesn’t help us. My daughter has not been at nursery for weeks, I am very angry.”

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the registration of this early years setting was resigned pending an investigation into safeguarding concerns.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further while this is ongoing.”