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Two sacked from Cromer children's centre

PUBLISHED: 12:37 24 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 13 July 2010

Two staff have been sacked and security stepped up after separate scalding and escape incidents at a Norfolk children's centre.

Baby Tallis Mose was burned by a hot cup of coffee at the Sure Start centre at Cromer's Suffield Park infant and nursery school in August.

Two staff have been sacked and security stepped up after separate scalding and escape incidents at a Norfolk children's centre.

Baby Tallis Mose was burned by a hot cup of coffee at the Sure Start centre at Cromer's Suffield Park infant and nursery school in August.

Just weeks later a two-year-old girl managed to wander out of the same centre and was found in a busy road outside.

After investigations into the two episodes officials have confirmed that two women staff suspended over the scalding had been dismissed, while an extra gate and supervision had been added following the other incident.

Sixteen-month-old toddler Tallis was on only his third stay at the centre when the accident with the hot drink happened on August 15. His left hand was scalded and needed treatment by burns specialists at Chelmsford Hospital.

His mother Kate Smithurst who runs the Corner Café in Cromer's New Street said the hand was healing but would be scarred pink for two years, and the tot, who had “screamed his socks off” at the time of the scalding, was not returning to the centre.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council, Kate Gooding, said the incident happened when a hot drink was left on the ground outside the centre and the child put his hand in. There was a protocol already in place over hot drinks, and the two suspended women had been dismissed - with replacements being sought.

Ofsted officials had also visited and “advised the centre to ensure staff were aware and understood the existing policy around hot drinks,” she added.

The escape incident happened in early October, during a mid-day spell when parents collected children.

The two-year-old girl, who was not identified, was found in the middle of Mill Road outside the school complex by people in a passing 4x4 car. Shocked witnesses were relieved she was not run over on the busy residential street which is also a bus route.

Mrs Gooding said an extra gate had been fitted to step up security, along with an alarm which sounded while it was ajar, following recommendations from Ofsted.

“We have also commissioned our own investigation in to the running of the centre to ensure all the requirements are being met and to see if any further improvements can be made,” she added.

Two staff now manned the door at change-over times, and a classroom had been reorganised so day care children could not see when nursery children were leaving.

The Cromer centre was opened in March 2006 as part of a government-led scheme to enhance the life chances of children and families in less affluent areas through it Sure Start scheme. It provides a range of services under one roof from child care to health visitors, and advice on debt management, relationships, behaviour, parenting and child development.

Centre head Ian Money has apologised for the incidents but reassured parents it had a good safety record and was committed to ensuring children were safe at all times.


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