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. continue reading…