Investigation closes Redroofs Nursery

December 05 2016

TWO nurseries have been temporarily closed pending an investigation after their owner was accused of force-feeding a child with special needs.

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TWO nurseries have been temporarily closed pending an investigation after their owner was accused of force-feeding a child with special needs.

Redroofs Nursery, which has branches in the Kingsway, St George and Poplar Road, Warmley, was closed by education watchdog Ofsted following a complaint by a member of staff over force-feeding.

Nursery directors, Roger and Lesley Bates, appealed against the six-week suspension, which started on November 4.

Although nothing has been proven against Mrs Bates, the Care Standards Tribunal has upheld the decision saying the suspension was '"proportionate".

Mrs Bates has said she is "devastated" at the thought of anyone thinking she would intentionally harm a child.  

The tribunal heard that a complaint had been made by a member of staff that on September 9 Mrs Bates had forced a three-year-old child with special educational needs to eat by "forcing her mouth open, squeezing her cheeks and putting the spoon with food on it into the child’s mouth".  

The member of staff said the child had been left unable to communicate, talk or walk and was "extremely distressed".

The tribunal heard there had been previous allegations involving Mrs Bates force-feeding children. 

One allegation, dating back to 2012, centred on Mrs Bates putting food on a spoon, opening a child’s mouth and force-feeding them, leaving the child “gagging and being sick”.   

In another allegation, a member of staff claimed Mrs Bates picked up a cup and placed one hand on the back of a child’s head while trying to pour the milk into the child’s mouth. The child did not open her mouth and the milk spilled down the front of her clothes.

The suspension is due to expire on December 15, but could be cut short, or extended, depending on the investigation.

Both Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council have been working with parents to help them find other options for children funded by them.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: “Ofsted have alerted us about their decision to suspend a provider with two nurseries, one in South Gloucestershire and one in Bristol, due to safeguarding concerns. 

"Parents were informed of this decision on Monday 7 November. We have been working with parents of children which we fund to help them find alternative provision and minimise disruption for children and families. As always our top priority is to protect children’s well-being. We are liaising with Ofsted and monitoring this situation very closely.”