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I am trying to make an informed decision about which nursery is best for my two year old daughter. Since watching a recent documentary about poor standards of care, I am really worried about leaving her. How can I make sure she is safe?

Gina Johnson, Wimbledon

You are right to be cautious because although all nurseries are monitored by Ofsted (the body responsible for guaranteeing nursery standards). There are obviously some organisations that have managed to mislead the inspectors.

The most important thing you can do is ask lots of questions, use your eyes and ears and make sure you have a thorough look round. Check how many qualified early years specialists are working in each room, watch and listen to how they speak to the children, look at the equipment to see that it is well looked after and clean.

Ask to see the loos and changing facilities and try to be there during meal time to see how the children are fed and whether the staff ratio allows each child to take time to eat in pleasant surroundings.

However, by far the best test is to look at the children. Are they happy, purposefully involved and able to look you straight in the end eye? This will tell you more than all the inspection reports.

If you think you would be happy working in this environment there is a very good chance that your child will feel comfortable too.

Natalie Daubney – Qualified Nursery Assistant and mother of two

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