THE boss of a Hagley nursery has hit back after Ofsted rated a popular day care facility 'inadequate' - branding the ranking "grossly unfair".

Squiggles Day Care & Activity Club has been ordered to make improvements after it was inspected by the watchdog last month.

In her report, following the visit in December, Ofsted inspector Mary Henderson said the nursery in Station Road was not meeting the staff to child ratios to fully assure children's safety, and she criticised the facility for failing to ensure "staff deploy themselves effectively to meet the needs of all children".

She added that the nursery "failed to identify and address weaknesses in provision that need swift action" and added: “Staff do not consistently promote children's listening and understanding skills to the highest possible level.”

Nursery owner Paul Sheeran, however, hit back - saying: "We feel a bit hard done by."

He told the News the report referenced a "snippet in time" and he said: "We were found to be out of ratio only for 20 minutes. Two children arrived earlier than they should have done; the parents were going Christmas shopping - and that put us out of ratio."

He said he felt the 'inadequate' rating was "grossly unfair" and added: "We're thinking of appealing. We feel it's very harsh.

"Our parents are very supportive - we have explained the situation and all are behind us 100 per cent.

"We're going to take it further. We're drafting a response."

He said "it shouldn't have happened but it did happen" and said the manager in charge at the time was no longer working at Squiggles - and he added: "We feel a little bit of leniency should have been given."

He said the nursery's previous rating was good and added: "Outcomes and learning - the important things - were rated as 'good'."

The report praised the facility on a number of points.

It said staff develop positive partnerships with parents which helps them to continue their child's learning at home; and added that staff have strong relationships with other providers, including local schools, which helps to ensure continuity for all children's care and learning.

The report also praised the facility for helping to "identify and close any gaps in children's learning quickly" through the manager's tracking of the educational programme and effective monitoring of the learning and development of individual and groups of children.

The inspector, however, said the nursery must take steps to ensure the correct staff-to-child ratios are met to promote children's safety effectively and to ensure staff are effectively deployed to meet the individual needs of all children and to promote their welfare consistently.

The nursery has also been advised to improve the quality of the early years provision by making better use of self-evaluation and monitoring to ensure areas for improvement are identified and acted upon swiftly - and bosses have been advised to cut background noise to support children's listening and attention skills to promote their communication to the highest possible level.

A spokesman for Ofsted said the nursery would be reinspected within six months.

To read the full report click here.