Asquith Day Nursery make significant investment to ensure complete peace of mind for parents

Asquith Day Nursery make significant investment to ensure complete peace of mind for parents

Fortress nursery scans parents’ fingerprints when they pick up their children

Mark Prigg, Tim Ross and Laura Lambert
14.07.10

London’s first “fortress nursery” is to open within weeks amid rising fears about the safety of children.

Asquith Day Nursery in West Dulwich is installing an £80,000 security system, previously only seen in secure facilities, to ease parents’ fears after a spate of shootings and stabbings in Lambeth.

Surrounding the school is a wooden fence more than six feet high and leaves no possibility of peering into the outdoor areas or windows.

In order to collect their children, parents have their fingerprints scanned at an outer set of doors before entering a frequently changed pass code at a second set.

There is also a list of names with accompanying photos to identify those who have been cleared to collect one of the children, which staff check manually.

Nursery manager Michaela Waitman said: “Every parent we have spoken to about the new security and educational programmes loves the concepts.”

Asquith now plans to spend £1.8 million rolling the scheme out across the company’s 84 nurseries nationwide.

However, experts today accused the nursery of introducing excessive measures, and warned that the high security could affect children’s development.

Simon Davies of Privacy International said: “Children have a right to privacy, to develop in a normal environment so they can become normal people. It is a difficult balance between children being safe and having freedom, but this is overkill.”

Margaret Morrissey, founder of campaign group Parents Outloud, said the scheme was “bizarre”.

“Quite frankly there isn’t that sort of security in Wandsworth prison,” she said. “Nobody is going to convince me that anywhere — let alone Dulwich — needs that kind of extreme security.

“After the care that children are given, the safety of access is the priority for parents. But any nursery that goes to the level of finger-printing has obviously got far too much money and ought to be reducing the fees. It will make children very nervous and over-protected.”

Asquith Nurseries CEO Andy Morris today defended the move. “Our top priority is child safety and security,” he said. “This pioneering programme goes further than ever before towards providing a totally safe environment for children entrusted to our care by parents. I have banned mobile phones from all our nurseries to make sure no one can photograph children on the premises.”

Ofsted obliges nurseries to carry out Criminal Record Bureau checks and suggests verbal references for staff. Asquith also insists on written references.

But how can smaller Day Nurseries afford this type of Security?

Asquith Nurseries is indeed a very large group, with a portfolio of 84 nurseries nationwide, the financial status of Asquith does allow them to make this size-able investment in ensuring all children in their care are kept as safe as possible.  Asquith Nurseries have stated their intension to spend in the region of £1.8 million in rolling this new security scheme out to all 84 of it’s day nurseries.

Organisations the size of Asquith are few and far between, and with the vast majority of the UK’s day nurseries consisting of much smaller companies, the ability to invest in the new security demands of parents is simply not a financial option.  However, the majority of Day Care Nurseries and Private Schools do have the ability to reclaim £1000’s back from the revenue in the form of overpaid taxes, as well as reducing the amount they will have to pay in forthcoming years.  As an owner of a commercial property, Day Care Nursery owners are entitled to make a Capital Allowance claim on their building(s).

The result of a Capital Allowance will allow you to invest back into the business, enabling you to purchase items such as:

  • New Equipment and Apparatus
  • New Security Systems
  • Safe Outdoor Playing Areas
  • Building Extensions
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    Capital Allowances are a tax payers right! It is NOT an avoidance strategy.

    For further information on making a Capital Allowance claim on your Day Nursery and to arrange your FREE site survey, please visit our site www.salmon-business.com

    alternatively, call one of our Capital Allowance specialists on 01246 293011.