Two 'outstanding' nursery schools close after force-feeding inquiry

The owners appealed their six-week suspension, but say they will now not reopen even if given the go ahead. Credit: ITV News

Two nurseries under investigation by Ofsted after accusations of force-feeding a child are to close after the owners announced their retirement.

Nursery directors Roger and Lesley Bates have been running Redroofs nurseries at two sites in Bristol and South Gloucestershire for 37 years - but have now decided to resign their registrations as early-years providers.

Both branches were temporarily closed by Ofsted after a member of staff complained about the alleged force-feeding of a three year old girl with special needs by Mrs Bates.

It was claimed she did this by "forcing her mouth open, squeezing her cheeks and putting the spoon with food on it into the child's mouth".

"The member of staff described the child as being unable to communicate, talk or walk and the incident had left the child extremely distressed," a Care Standards tribunal heard last month.

Ofsted carried out a visit and said they found no evidence of children being force fed, but staff had given "conflicting accounts".

Nothing was proven against Mrs Bates, but Inspectors had concerns about a lack of understanding about safeguarding issues - and closed the nurseries for six weeks.

Mr and Mrs Bates appealed the decision at a tribunal - but the suspension was upheld.

They were due to find out tomorrow if the temporary closure would be lifted, but they say they will not reopen even if given the go ahead.

The site in Warmley. Credit: Google Earth

The tribunal heard Mr and Mrs Bates had "outstanding" Ofsted inspection ratings for both nurseries.

The couple said they were "absolutely devastated" and denied any child had been at risk of harm.