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Flood-hit Perth nursery will lose council contract if improvements aren’t made

The ABC nursery at the North Inch said the damage it suffered after the floodgates were left open had hampered its progress.

ABC Nursery exterior
Perth's ABC Nursery has been graded weak and unsatisfactory. Image: Google Maps.

Council bosses say they will end their contract with a Perth nursery if improvements demanded by the Care Inspectorate are not met.

The ABC Nursery next to the North Inch was rated “weak” and “unsatisfactory” in its last report.

Inspectors found children playing with “potential choking hazards”, an unacceptable lack of basics such as toilet rolls and paper towels and “significant concerns” about infection, prevention and control measures.

ABC Nursery bosses say the Perth business has faced “unprecedented challenges” – including damage after the North Inch floodgates were left open last October.

But they insist they are “fully committed to regaining our position as the foremost nursery in Perth”.

Deep flood water in children's nursery classroom
A flood damaged classrom at the ABC Nursery in Perth. Image: ABC Nursery.

It comes after Perth and Kinross councillors met to discuss the latest inspection report and the progress that had been made since.

They were told an early years team had been working with the nursery prior to and since the last inspection in February 2024.

This has involved weekly visits to the Rose Terrace premises, as well as daily unannounced visits.

Flooding up to the windows outside ABC Nursery basement premises on Perth's Rose Terrace
The premises were badly flooded in October. Image: ABC Nursery.

An external consultant was brought into the nursery at the start of May.

They have since been brought on board as a full-time manager.

And councillors were assured there had been a “marked improvement” over the past few weeks.

Perth and Kinross Council makes ABC Nursery position clear

The council’s strategic lead for education and learning Sheena Devlin said the new manager would be expected to set in place standards and ensure staff are held to account.

She added: “It’s not just us who’s commenting on the improvement.

“We know that parents and carers are commenting on the significant changes they have seen… So we do have confidence in what we have seen them do previously and what they have done in a short period of time.”

Perth and Kinross Council logo on wall of council HQ in Perth
Perth and Kinross Council may have to borrow significantly more. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

But Ms Devlin also assured councillors if improvements are not made “the position has been made clear – we will not continue to be in contract with them”.

The council’s quality improvement officer for early years and primary Annie Carr echoed this pledge.

She said: “We were also extremely clear that if progress was not made we would have to consider removing the funding for the [age] three-five children and support families and carers to find alternative settings.

“Initial work to support this has started in the background.”

Perth flooding placed ‘immense burden’ on nursery team

Following the meeting, ABC Nursery’s director Alan Morgan said his team had “faced a series of unprecedented challenges” over the past year.

Flooded ABC Nursery office
The nursery’s office was flooded too. Image: ABC Nursery.

He said: “The retirement of our long-standing manager and the departure of several experienced staff members necessitated a significant transition period.

“Our new manager – who joined us in June – brought a fresh perspective from their background as a primary school teacher.

“However, the steep learning curve of the childcare sector and the unfortunate flooding incident in October added to the complexity of their role.”

ABC Nursery’s pre-school rooms, offices and staff room were swamped in October 2023 after the North Inch floodgates were left open during torrential rain.

Deep water high up floodgate at ABC Nursery premises, perth
The sight that greeted ABC Nursery staff after Perth was battered by flooding last October. Image: ABC Nursery/

The repairs have taken almost nine months to complete.

Mr Morgan said this had “not only affected our physical premises but also placed an immense burden on our team”.

He added: “We appreciate the concern shown by the council and the community.

“We want to assure everyone that we are fully committed to regaining our position as the foremost nursery in Perth.

“We believe we are now coming out of the other side of these challenges and look forward to a brighter future.”

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