A pre-school in Luton has been criticised for having insufficient fire safety equipment.
According to Luton Today, a report by Ofsted inspectors highlighted how children at Butely Road Pre-School were at risk, as the safety precautions were substandard.
It transpired pupils were not evacuated when the fire alarm for the adjacent Pirton Hill Infant School rang.
The report by the school inspection body read: “The provider failed to check that sufficient action was taken, following previous examples when the fire alarm bell was difficult to hear.”
Butely Road Pre-School was also criticised for not having fully developed a shared understanding and responsibility of how to protect children with its host school.
In addition, inspectors voiced concerns that such a scenario had occurred previously and how this was in breach of the legal requirements that had been established by the Childcare Register. They urged the education establishment to make sure its premises and equipment were safe and secure for looking after children.
The manager of Butely Road Pre-School has now remedied the shortcoming, but nevertheless inspectors have emphasised the gravity of the situation, which put children and staff “at immediate risk” and could have had serious consequences in alternative circumstances.
A spokesperson from Luton Borough Council said how the bell had been “fixed within two hours” and the issue was “self-referred to Ofsted” by Butely Road Pre-School.
While one of the alarm sounders in the school had temporarily ceased from functioning, the visual alarm in the same room was flashing and bells were working in all the other areas of the building, meaning they could be heard.
Fire safety breaches are treated with the utmost severity and earlier in March the owners of a guesthouse in Wokingham were fined £3,000 in total for the inadequate maintenance of the emergency lighting system and fire-resistant doors, and the fact that a suitable fire risk assessment had not been carried out.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.