SAFETY of children at the Hills-borough Day Nursery in Bishop-stone is at risk according to the schools watchdog.

The nursery, which operates out of a family home, has 37 children in the early years register on its roll, and has been running since 1995.

It was deemed to be good in its most recent inspection in 2010, but was judged inadequate during an inspection in November.

The nursery is disputing the report in its entirety and says it has begun legal proceedings against Ofsted.

The critical report laid out a number of problems with the nursery, and regular inspections will now take place.

The inspectors said: “Children do not make sufficient progress in their learning because staff do not plan and provide a suitable range of activities to build on what children already know and can do. The quality of teaching and support for children’s individual learning varies considerably across the setting.

“Some children show they are unsettled for much of the morning and staff do little to engage the children in interesting activities and enjoyable experiences.

“This does not support children's emotional well-being and help them prepare for changes in their life.”

The report raised further doubt around the suitability of management and staff, despite a new manager being put in place last year.

“The inspection was carried out following concerns that manager and provider do not have relevant knowledge or qualifications,” the report said. “Also that there is poor organisation and risk assessment and that education, planning and assessment is not sufficient.

“The leadership in the nursery is in a state of transition. There has been a recent change to the manager. She has taken some positive steps to improve the provision for children and the quality of staff practice, though it is too early for this to be fully effective.

“The provider has failed to notify Ofsted of a change to the partnership forming the registered person. This is an offence. The provider also does not have a robust system in place to ensure the suitability of staff as required.”

A spokesman for Hillsborough Day Nursery said: “Formal complaints about the report and the inspection have been lodged with Ofsted via ourselves and our solicitors.

“We are working with the local authority to meet all requirements within the early years foundation stage.

“For nearly 20 years Hillsborough has and continues to provide innovative and unique childcare through the nursery and our forest school where children continue to develop at their own rate.

“The progress of children once they have left the nursery has been excellent. Former and existing parents remain happy with children’s progress.”