Parents’ Wishes or Child’s Welfare? – Ofsted’s View

A private nursery in Leeds has complained about the difficulty of meeting Ofsted requirements while complying with requests from parents, following an action taken against it by the inspection body for waking a sleeping child.

The nursery was responding to a request from one child’s parents that the child should be distracted from having a late sleep in the afternoon. The parents said that napping in the afternoon meant that the child’s sleep pattern was disturbed throughout the night.

Ofsted became involved after an anonymous complaint was made to it that staff at the nursery were not letting children sleep. The nursery explained the child’s particular circumstances and said that they were following parents’ wishes. However, Ofsted took the action because, they said, the nursery staff should prioritise the rights of the child rather than requests from parents.

The Nursery manager said, ‘This is a common dilemma for nursery nurses. Parent partnership is part of the Early Years Foundation Stage and good practice…but Ofsted says it is about the rights of the child, and the child needed to sleep.”

An Ofsted spokesman said, ‘While parents and carers may make a formal request for their child to be exempt from receiving the learning and development requirement of the EYFS, there is no provision for a child to be exempt from the welfare requirements. Providers must meet the welfare requirements at all times. In meeting the welfare requirements, a provider must have effective systems in place to ensure that they meet the individual needs of the child. This includes giving due consideration to the wishes of the child’s parents. However, in the event of a conflict between the parent’s wishes and the welfare requirements, the provider must put the safeguarding and best interests of the child as the priority.

We would expect providers to discuss matters such as sleep patterns with parents and to accommodate parental wishes wherever possible, unless these conflict with welfare requirements.’

This is a tricky issue – what are your thoughts?

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