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Dan Powick, owner, Rendlesham Day Nursery and Bridge Farm Day Nursery
Karen Quinton, manager, Bright Stars Childcare Services
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YES - When Dan Powick opened Rendlesham nursery with his wife Tina in 2005, one of the first things they did was to fit webcams into the nursery. Mr Powick only wanted to employ staff members who felt confident enough in their own skills to be happy to work with the webcams in place.
Mr Powick said: “We have not had a single negative response to the webcams in almost a decade of running our nurseries.
“All access requires passwords and usernames and we are aware of who is online at all times. A parent can only see their child for the exact times that they are at nursery and are denied access as soon as they leave. We believe that this makes the ‘security’ argument against webcams redundant. We have also been able to rewind the CCTV and show a parent how a child had fallen and hurt himself or herself.”
Mr Powick believes webcams provide parents with peace of mind regardless of whether they choose to use the service or not because staff members know they have to perform to a high level all the time.
Using webcams in the nursery has “helped to establish an environment of mutual trust and respect” according to the nursery owner, who has since opened another nursery fitted with webcams. Mr Powick believes they have contributed to the outstanding Ofsted grade the nurseries have achieved.
He said webcams can be particularly effective for parents using childcare services for the first time to put their minds at rest and have confidence about leaving their child.
NO - Karen Quinton operates Bright Stars Childcare Services in her family home in Sutton-in-Ashfield and believes the use of webcams in childcare settings are “obtrusive.”
Ms Quinton said: “My staff and I work hard to build strong relationships and trust with both parents and children and always give an honest account of a child's day.
“I do however have an open door policy so that parents can pop into nursery whenever they feel like it and hold regular in room supervisions of all my staff to ensure their conduct is professional and appropriate with both children, parents and colleagues.
“There is so much pressure on nurseries and staff from Ofsted (and some parents’) perceived expectations that everything should be perfect 100 per cent of the time but as I consider myself to be a realist, how can that be.”
The nursery has age specific rooms and is this year celebrating its tenth anniversary with a celebration day for children and parents to explore and play in the nursery.
Ms Quinton believes high quality staffing is achieved through training and having detailed policies and procedures in place.
She said: “What is necessary is excellent two-way communication systems so that children and parents are connected with the setting, feel involved, listened to, respected and included.
“Children will be involved in accidents and incidents will happen, but if you have a dedicated and highly trained and supported staff team who have a genuine interest and devotion for young children then I don't believe cameras are necessary.”