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Photos row nursery fury after upgrade

THE Government education watchdog Ofsted has been accused of dou- ble standards by a pre-school in Linton dubbed “inadequate.”

There was a public outcry by par- ents after Cherubs, which meets at Linton Village Hall, was down- graded from “outstanding” be- cause the manager occasionally took photos to reassure parents their children were happy. The nursery has now been re- classified as “good” but manager Cindy Fox is still reeling from four months of stress and the fear she might lose her business.

Mrs Fox said: “Following the Oc- tober inspection, the pre-school was under the very real threat of closure as it was unable to request any government funding for new children who wanted to join. “The threat has now been lifted following the recent re-inspection

where Cherubs was graded as good in all four areas. “The support received from all parents whose children attended Cherubs during this time has been nothing short of brilliant and has helped us get through what has been a very stressful time.” Parents leapt to the defence of Cherubs and a petition attracted al- most 2,500 signatures. The case was even raised in the House of Com- mons. Mrs Fox’s husband Steve said: “We had parents and settings [other establishments] from all over the country commenting on the pe- tition, stating that they had a simi- lar policy in place and have not been penalised for it, which indi- cates inconsistencies or double

standards.” Cherubs had a policy in place and always adhered to it. Steve added: “We still feel that no rules were broken and if we cannot take and privately share photos with parents there should be a total ban on sharing photographs through social media.”

The nursery has changed its poli- cies and no longer takes pictures of the children. However, Mrs Fox has complained to the Ombudsman about the original classification. Even if the Ombudsman finds in Mrs Fox’s favour, Ofsted is not obliged to change or remove the contentious report from its website. Mr Fox said: “We are still waiting for the Ombudsman to re- view our case as we still

30 Carys makes light work of title

A BARMING teenager lucky to be alive after being born severely premature is targeting the Olympics after winning a regional weightlifting title. Carys Harper, 15, who attends St Augustine’s Acad- emy in Maidstone, won the Lion Heart category at this year’s Celebrate Maidstone awards for overcoming dif- ficulties to achieve great things. Born 12 weeks premature and weighing only 3lb, Carys – daughter of Zoe Reed and step-dad Chris – was initially unable to breathe without an incubator. Diag- nosed with dyscalculia, a brain disorder causing diffi- culty in making arithmetical calculations, she struggled at school but with the help of Jayne Bradshaw, her men- tor at St Augustine’s Academy, she refused to give up. Her fighting spirit led her to take up kickboxing, re- ceiving her junior black belt in March 2013. Teacher Michael Blackford introduced her to

April 2016 No. 228 News Care home to shut

THE best efforts of campaigners, including local MPs, have failed to prevent the closure of the Dorothy Lucy centre. 4

Election decision

KENT’S controversial police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes will not restand. 5

Friday is market day

A FARMERS’ market will take place every month in Jubilee Square.

8 Moving from Mote

MAIDSTONE Mela will be held in the town centre for the first time, this September.25

Photos exhibition

MORE than 50 people attended the launch of the Yalding Riverside Pop Up Gallery.

Religious concern

A PROPOSAL to rebuild a mosque in the town centre has been criticised.

Worship dates cut

SOME church services have been temporarily axed in a re- structuring programme.


Comment 34-3546-47 Crime Reports 35

weightlifting and, in just two years she has gone from beginner to competing at a national level. Carys won silver in the British Schools Weightlifting Champi- onship in February 2015 and gold in the 2015 London & SE Junior Championships, 18

Hospital woe

01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

DRASTIC financial measures have been necessary to keep afloat the Kims private hospital, which lost £15m in its first year. Full story – page 20.

ANIMALS were released during a Staplehurst farm break-in.

Obituaries 44 Parish Councils 45-47

HYMNS, prayers, readings and the national anthem could mark the Queen’s birthday in Boughton Monchelsea; free dog-waste bags might be provided in Chart Sut- ton; turkeys and peacocks were stolen in Hunton; flooding con- cerns were raised in Loose; mem- bers in Yalding were to be gagged to stop them speaking out.


Book at Tel 0800 689 7888 29 28

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