Families may have to pay extra or move children to another preschool after public funding was pulled from a Perth nursery over inadequate standards.
Last week, Care Inspectors published a report outlining coronavirus protocol failings uncovered in November at independent Four Seasons Nursery.
The West Mains Avenue preschool was graded “unsatisfactory,” the lowest possible score, and were assigned a checklist of improvements to make.
Bosses say the inspectors are now content that the situation has improved, however Perth and Kinross Council have since pulled the private nursery’s public sector funding – which helps support the 1140 hour early education and care provision.
The local authority’s contract for the nursery to provide care on its behalf will end next month.
It comes after another assessment 18 months ago, when inspectors labelled the venue as “adequate” however “a number of issues with medication” were raised and parents also flagged concerns over high staff turnover.
A nursery spokesperson said: “At Four Seasons Nursery, our main priority is to provide a safe, nurturing environment in which our children can flourish in all aspects of their development.
“Four Seasons Nursery last received a full inspection from the Care Inspectorate in August 2019.
“Since then we have recruited a new management team who have received support from the council and Care Inspectorate, which has been effective in raising the standards in the care that we provide.
“This is evident in the feedback we have received from the parents of the children that attend our establishment.”
It is understood the local authority’s decision was formed after the latest inspection at the nursery, which has capacity for 50 youngsters, but was not entirely based on the coronavirus failings raised by inspectors.
Letters have been sent to parents explaining that the nursery’s contract will lapse shortly before the new financial year.
A council spokesperson said: “Parents in Perth and Kinross have a right to expect an appropriately high level of quality in early learning and childcare (ELC) provision for their child.
“As a council we also want to ensure that this is delivered both in our own ELC settings and in those of our partner providers.
“Where we identify that improvement is required in the standards and quality of these settings, we will offer advice and support with the aim of seeing that improvement made.
“In this instance, while ongoing support has been given to the partner provider, we do not consider the setting able to deliver and sustain the high quality of ELC provision we would want and expect for children in Perth and Kinross.
“As a result, our contract with them will be terminated with effect from 26 March 2021.
“We have provided families affected by this with relevant information regarding alternative options to continue to access their statutorily-funded ELC places.”
Findings published this month showed serious concerns over face coverings, hand-washing and the amount of time children were spending indoors.
Local MSP Roseanna Cunningham says she wants to see a resolution found which “avoids the upheaval and distress” of relocating children.
The SNP MSP said: “Having been contacted by the owner and several parents of children attending the Four Season Nursery expressing their concerns about this removal of support, despite steps having been taken to address the points raised by the inspection, I have written to Perth and Kinross Council and to the Care Inspectorate with the hope of resolving the issue.
“It is my hope that both the council and the Care Inspectorate will work with the owner to find a solution that would enable the council-funded places to continue.
“I know that the parents are very keen to avoid the upheaval and distress which this could cause their children at a time when so much else is very uncertain.”