An Angus nursery manager was accused of misconduct towards children by her colleagues during a company course on whistle-blowing.
Dianne Brown, originally from New Zealand, is accused of describing one child as “looking a bit spastic” in a photo.
She apparently said “I wouldn’t say that to their face” when challenged by a fellow member of staff at the Busy Bee Nursery in Montrose, which now trades as Little Beehives.
She is also accused of using “inappropriate restraint” on a four-year-old girl by strapping her into a buggy to manage her “challenging behaviour”.
It is claimed she then told the child “a baby is laughing at you” and “if you act like a baby I’ll treat you like a baby”.
Ms Brown is facing four charges of possible misconduct at a disciplinary hearing of the Scottish Social Services Council’s conduct sub-committee, which began on Monday.
The offences are all alleged to have occurred in May 2014, the same month Ms Brown completed her BA in child practice at Edinburgh University.
Carol Craig, operations manager of the Little Beehive Nursery Group, told the committee she was approached by a member of staff raising concerns about Ms Brown’s actions just two hours into a course on whistle-blowing.
“We were conducting training at Dundee University on child protection, with specific relation to whistle-blowing,” she said.
“We had the whole company there and a member of the team from Montrose came forward at a break to say she had a concern about something from the previous day.”
Mrs Craig told the committee she had been informed that Ms Brown had put an older child into a buggy in the baby room as a form of behaviour management. She then asked for full details of the incident to be written down by the whistleblower.
When she received them she decided to suspend Mrs Brown on full pay pending an investigation.
Mrs Craig said Ms Brown should have taken the child out of the baby room and spoken to her one-to-one rather than restraining her in a buggy.
She said the allegation that Ms Brown had described one of the babies as “looking a bit spastic” had been made at a later date.
Mrs Craig said she was told the registrant had made the comment when staff were emailing out pictures of the children taken during the day to their parents.
Mrs Craig said that Ms Brown had 33 years’ experience in child care and had helped introduce new approaches.
She had initially been appointed as an assistant lead practitioner but had been promoted to manager in the February before the alleged offences took place.
Ms Brown has now left the UK and did not attend yesterday’s hearing at Compass House in Dundee, nor did she have any legal representation.
The hearing continues.
A spokesperson for the Little Beehive Nursery Group said: “Dianne Brown left our employment whilst she was suspended pending investigation.”