THE Co-operative Childcare has defended its Oxfordshire nurseries after it was revealed half have been judged inadequate.

It comes as results of a monitoring inspection following a damning report into the organisation’s Blackbird Leys Nursery, in Cuddesdon Way, were made public.

Now it has emerged three of the six Co-operative Childcare nurseries in Oxfordshire were rated inadequate by Ofsted in the past year.

Along with Blackbird Leys Nursery – where the issues were so serious its registration was temporarily suspended last month – Petit Enfant Day Nursery, in Madley Park, Witney, received inspectors’ lowest grade in November 2012 and Petit Enfant Day Nursery, Carterton, was deemed inadequate following an inspection in May.

A monitoring inspection at the now reopened Blackbird Leys nursery took place on July 22, and found satisfactory improvements were being made.

Inspector Susan Gregory said there had been good progress, while the four days during the nursery’s suspension were used for a “comprehensive training exercise”.

She said: “Considerable effort to review documents, clean and refresh the areas used by children and organise staff to ensure children and families will know who their key person will be has taken place.”

She said staff had a “positive attitude”.

Co-op spokesman Rachael Jones, from PR firm Seal, said: “We would like to reassure parents The Co-operative Childcare is committed to offering high-quality childcare at all settings.”

The Co-ops other three nurseries, Rose Hill, Oxford Station and John Radcliffe, all have good ratings.

The two Petit Enfant nurseries were taken over by the Co-op last year, and the organisation has since spent nearly £250,000 on the fabric of the buildings, equipment, toys and outdoor play areas.

New managers Gareth Jones, for Madley Park, and Danielle Taylor for Carterton, have been appointed.

Ms Jones said: “We were aware from the outset these nurseries lacked investment from their previous owners and that some practices within these settings did not reflect The Co-operative Childcare’s high standards.

“We are working with the teams and the local authority to improve the quality of childcare in these settings.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said he was planning to visit Blackbird Leys Nursery this week and would be asking what steps were being taken.

He said: “That any nursery is inadequate is bad but to have three raises concerns about whether the standards of operation at each nursery are being properly overseen by the Co-op.

“This is something they have to address urgently.”

The Madley Park nursery was revisited by inspectors on Friday, results of which are yet to be made public.

Ms Jones said new employees had now been appointed, including two senior area managers who will be taking responsibility for improvements in all the organisation’s nurseries.


Jenni Scott, right, from Cowley, has two children at the good rated Rose Hill nursery, Aphra, two, and Bruno, who will be one this month.

She has been using the nursery for just over two years.

She said: “It all looks fine and I hear they enjoy themselves.”

She said news other Co-op nurseries were failing was “obviously concerning” but changing nurseries was not a step to be taken lightly.