Children were ‘at risk of harm’

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A second nursery worker has been struck off after being found guilty of placing children at “unnecessary risk of harm” at Little Reivers nursery in Duns.

Following a two-week Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) hearing at Shielfield Park in Berwick, Nicola Jeffrey was found guilty of shaking a child’s arm after he had injured it, and referring to others as “ugly” and “sloth-like”.

She also grabbed and pulled a one-year-old by the wrist, frightened children, and referred to some as being “like something out of Forrest Gump”.

The incidents happened during Jeffrey’s employment as a room supervisor at Little Reivers nursery between January 2015 and June 2016.

She denied any wrong-doing, but was found guilty of a string of charges.

Jeffrey’s lawyer said she had previously worked in social service for eight years without incident and he claimed she was the victim of a hate campaign by another member of staff.

However, the panel found witness testimonies to be “credible and reliable”.

They said that Jeffrey’s behaviour was particularly serious as the children were in the baby room, and she had been placed in a position of trust.

A spokesperson for the SSSC said: “The panel was satisfied that the witnesses who spoke to the allegations against the worker did so truthfully.

“You shook a child’s arm after he had injured it and grabbed another child by the wrist and pulled the child by the wrist.

This behaviour demonstrates that you placed these children at unnecessary risk of harm and failed to meet relevant standards of practice and to work in a lawful, safe and effective way.

“The panel decided that your fitness to practise is currently impaired as a result of the misconduct found.”

Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association who run the nursery, said: “We are truly sorry this has happened. On becoming aware of the situation, we immediately suspended the person, launched a full investigation and informed the Scottish Social Services Council and the Care Inspectorate.

Earlier this year former Little Reivers worker Teresa Renton was struck off after admitting a number of incidents at the nursery between September 2015 and June 2016.

Berwickshire Housing Association announced last month that the childcare​ facility would close on June 27 as it was not covering its costs.