Investigation after Westhoughton nursery worker accused of calling disabled children 'retards' on Facebook
A NURSERY worker has been suspended after she was accused of posting offensive material about disabled people on her Facebook page.
Ms Hunter has been suspended until the outcome of the investigation.
Pictures alleged to have been posted show adults with Down’s syndrome with an offensive caption, and words such as “retards” are shown on the page to describe children with special educational needs.
Screen grabs of the posts, seen by The Bolton News, have been handed over to Bolton Council, which works with the nursery.
New Beginnings has been found to "require improvement" by the government’s education watchdog.
The nursery was given the lowest rating by Ofsted, with inspectors describing it as inadequate in January last year.
They said: “Some staff have been employed without the provider taking sufficient steps to check or keep records of their suitability.
“This means the provider has not safeguarded children’s welfare.”
Bolton Council workers were drafted in to help the nursery raise standards and it rose to an Ofsted grade three rating — which indicated it required improvement — in August, 2013.
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But then it slipped to “inadequate” in October last year and the government education watchdog took enforcement action and issued a “welfare requirement notice”.
This means the nursery has to “ensure staffing arrangements meet the needs of all children, to ensure their safety and to make sure that children are adequately supervised at all times of the day”.
It must also “ensure all staff understand the safeguarding policy and procedures, in order to respond in a timely and appropriate way to any safeguarding issues”.
In April, the nursery was upgraded to “requires improvement” and Ofsted found “checks are carried out on all staff in order to ensure children are cared for by suitable adults” and that “the nursery had made rapid progress in improving the quality of care and teaching since its previous inspection”.
The nursery confirmed Ms Hunter had been suspended and an investigation was underway.
Sharon Ward, owner of the nursery, stressed the allegations were not related to the nursery.
She added: “We were told about this by the local authority. It is nothing to do with the nursery.
"Parents have been informed about the suspension and that it is something to do with Facebook.
“We take safeguarding very seriously and parents have been very supportive.”
The nursery has informed the relevant bodies, including the council.
Ms Hunter's Facebook page now has privacy settings which mean that no comments are now visible.
She declined to comment when approached by The Bolton News.
One person, who did not want to be identified, said: “I think the posts are disgusting and anybody who thinks that should not be educating children.”
New Beginnings Childcare Limited was registered in 2012 and is privately managed, operating from two floors of a converted police station in Westhoughton.
It employs 17 members of childcare staff.
There are 79 children on its roll, and the nursery receives support and advice from the local authority.