SINCE this article was published, Hunsdon House was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted in 2015. See its latest Ofsted report here.

SERIOUS safety concerns have been raised by school inspectors scrutinising an an Oxford nursery school.

The privately-run Hunsdon House Nursery School, in Headington, was issued with a notice to improve after failing in six areas of inspection in June and failing to meet four legal requirements relating to safeguarding.

It was criticised for lax security leading to “serious safety concerns” according to the Ofsted report published this week.

Last night staff at the Osler Road nursery moved to reassure parents their children were in safe hands and admitted the inspection was a wake-up call.

In the report the government schools inspector Janice Leo said: “There is no thorough system in place for assessing risks and no record of safety reviews to show the action taken as circumstances change.

“Security regarding access to the nursery is lax, allowing adults to walk in at any time with no guarantee they will be seen before entry.”

Nursery teacher Helena Davey said: “It woke us up in terms of what we had to do. The main issues were health and safety in terms of the security and general risk assessments which we have now sorted out.

“We have a new lock on the gate and we have done a lot of new paperwork for risk assessments.

“These were things that were overlooked but now have been put in place.”

The nursery was also criticised as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks were not in place for temporary staff.

Inspectors ordered the nursery to get enhanced CRB checks for everyone working with the children, take steps to prevent intruders entering the premises, conduct a risk assessment and keeping a written record of complaints.

The nursery first opened in 1923 but was registered under new ownership in 2005 and currently has 44 children on the roll.

Although the overall report was rated inadequate, some aspects of the care were praised and the nursery received good ratings in six areas, including the extent to which children achieve and enjoy their learning.

The report added: “The overall quality of this provision is very mixed with children benefitting from strong staff support and effective use of resources to make good progress, while serious safety concerns have the potential to compromise their well-being.”

The report was sent to parents last week.

Mrs Davey said: “The administration and the gate definitely had to change. The teaching and learning side of things was so good so we were quite sad that the administration side let us down.

“The fact we have a notice to improve doesn’t affect the teaching and learning children receive.”

She said teaching was “something we take pride in”, along with the rapport children built up with the staff.

Mrs Davey said: “I would say not to judge the nursery on this alone.

“There is a wonderful environment for children here.

“We are taking on board what Ofsted has said and endeavouring to make sure things will improve.

“We have put a lot of those improvements in place already.”

She was confident the notice to improve would be removed as soon as the nursery school was reinspected.

Inspectors will revisit the nursery within the next few months, with a full inspection within two years.