INSPECTORS have criticised an Oxfordshire nursery for poor observation and unhygienic practices.

Petit Enfant Day Nursery, in Madley Park, Witney, was rated inadequate following an Ofsted inspection last month.

Inspectors highlighted a range of issues, including concerns over frequent staff changes which made children and parents unsettled.

Inspector Hayley Marshall said: “Poor observation, assessment and planning, and quality and availability of resources for all children hinder their development in all areas of learning.”

She described how children drank from each other’s cups, risking a spread of infection, and were discouraged from washing their own hands and wiping their own noses to manage their own personal hygiene.

Children were also given limited options about what they could play with and how.

Ms Marshall said some children quickly tired of their environment as the activities on offer were uninspiring, leading to unpredictable behaviour.

She said: “For example, they pull each other to the floor by their clothing, attempt to bite each other and kick the doors.

“This leads to children feeling unsettled and hinders their enjoyment of their time at the nursery.

“There is little opportunity for children to work through these feelings and emotions because staff do not always explain to them the consequences of their behaviour.”

The fee-paying private nursery opened in 2007 but was taken over by Co-operative Childcare in June 2012. There are currently 118 children on roll aged between six months and eight years, and 18 members of staff work there.

Parents are charged up to £45 a day for babies up to the age of two, or £42 for older children.

A spokesman for Petit Enfant said: “We have a new senior management team in place which is taking action to meet the issues raised.

“We are investing in new resources to provide a high quality learning experience, we are providing additional training and we are confident we can make progress quickly.

“Our refurbishment programme started this week and our new manager, Gareth Jones, who starts in early December, has more than 17 years’ experience working with children.”