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EXCLUSIVE: Four staff suspended and Arbroath nursery closes amid child protection probe

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An Angus nursery has closed suddenly amid a child protection investigation which has led to the suspension of four members of staff.

Lily Pond private nursery in Arbroath shut its doors on Friday afternoon after its operator said the suspensions had left it unable to operate in a “sustainable, safe or responsible” way.

The nursery is based in Arbraoth’s former Ladyloan school.

Police Scotland confirmed an investigation was underway but said no arrests had been made.

It is understood the inquiry has resulted from concerns raised within the past couple of weeks.

The well-established and popular nursery operates in the west wing of the Victorian Ladyloan school, a distinctive sandstone building close to Arbroath FC’s Gayfield Park.

Shocked parents received an email from Cheryl Stewart, service provider of the nursery, around lunchtime on Friday, confirming the investigation and the suspension of four staff members.

“I have been made aware that these allegations have been made however at this moment in time the details of said allegations have not been shared with myself,” it said.

A follow-up email a few hours’ later confirmed the closure decision.

Ms Stewart added: “I confirmed in my previous statement that 4 staff members are currently suspended.

“As we are a small team, this has had a significant impact in our ability to operate to the standards required of us.

“It is not sustainable, safe or responsible to continue to operate as we are not in a position to provide a competent or familiar staff team going forward.

“It is with deepest regret that on that basis Lily Pond Nursery School can no longer operate after close of business today (Friday 21st February 2020).

“This is not a decision which has been taken likely as I am aware of the unimaginable impact that this will have on all families, especially the children.

“I have been seeking the support of the Care Inspectorate and local authority to assist with providing support to parents on how they can seek alternative childcare arrangements.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support to everyone involved during this difficult period.”

When contacted, the nursery declined to comment.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police Scotland, along with partner agencies, are working in conjunction after receiving allegations against staff at a nursery in Arbroath.

“Inquiries are at an early stage.”

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: “We have been notified by the care provider of their intention to cancel the registration of Lily Pond Nursery.

“We understand this is a difficult time for the families of children who attended the nursery.

“Our priority is always the health, safety and wellbeing of children.

“We will continue to work with colleagues at Angus Council.

“Anyone with a concern about a care service can contact us on 0345 600 9527.”

An Angus Council spokesman said: “We are aware of ongoing inquiries with regards to a privately-owned nursery in the area.

“While we have no input to or involvement with the nursery concerned, we stand ready to provide support to parents and families seeking alternative nursery provision.”

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