NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'Immediate concerns' of closed Hamilton School nursery

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Media captionInspectors did not believe pupils were safe at The Hamilton School

Inspectors had 14 "immediate concerns" about a private Aberdeen nursery which has closed down, it has been revealed.

A decision was taken over the weekend not to reopen the Hamilton School nursery, after the school itself was ordered to be closed.

The Care Inspectorate said it had decided to make its nursery inspection concerns public as soon as possible.

Police, who are making inquiries at the school, said two women, aged 65 and 25, had been charged.

The Care Inspectorate said there were nursery issues including medication, support for children with additional needs, staff turnover, and leadership.

Annette Bruton, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: "There were 14 immediate concerns raised by our inspection team when we visited the Hamilton School nursery.

"These were: medication; mealtimes; milk feeds; sleep arrangements; outdoor play; assessment of risk in the toilet area; engagement with children; support for children with additional needs; supporting children's behaviour; toilet training and support with toileting; staff turnover and deployment; communication; planning for children's interests and abilities; management and leadership.

"Senior staff from the Care Inspectorate are in Aberdeen to meet with parents and families whose children attended the nursery and our helpline is open on 0845 6009527."

She added: "We stand ready to support other nurseries and childminders in Aberdeen seeking to expand, where it is safe to do so.

"Our urgent application to the court last Friday to close the nursery was necessary to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of young children who were not safe.

"The decision of the provider to close the nursery is, we believe - given the evidence we hold - in the best interests of children, although we know this makes it a very difficult time for parents and families."

Image caption Braeside School has reopened to accommodate pupils from The Hamilton School

A disused primary school has opened to accommodate pupils from the private school.

Inspectors had said they were not confident that pupils at The Hamilton School were "safe and well cared for".

Aberdeen City Council said it had worked over the weekend to prepare Braeside School to enable it to take the pupils.

The Scottish government ordered an immediate inspection of The Hamilton School earlier this month after complaints from parents and staff about the nursery prompted a police investigation.

'Sad time'

On Friday minsters ordered that the school be removed from the Register of Independent Schools.

A joint statement from Aberdeen City Council, Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate said fully qualified teachers would staff Braeside School, including a very experienced head teacher, and that educational psychology services would also be on hand.

One parent, Hamed Aljabri, who had three children at The Hamilton School, said of Braeside: "We know nothing about the school. We are really not happy with the condition of it.

"It's a kind of intermediate measure. It is a very sad time."

The Education Scotland inspector's report said the Hamilton School had an "outdated and punitive approach to managing children's behaviour".

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