A NURSERY has come under fire after failing to hire a senior member of staff seven times.

Dalrymple Early Childhood Centre has been blasted after it couldn’t fill the post despite multiple advertisements and five rounds of interviews.

It meant one woman, Cindy O’Driscoll, was left to run two primary schools and the nursery herself.

The Dalrymple head was forced into the position after no one else was deemed fit enough to take on the role.

School inspectors gave the nursery scores of satisfactory, adequate and weak after they visited while the post was vacant.

Cumnock Chronicle:

Dalrymple Primary in contrast was rated as good all round, East Ayrshire Council’s Governance and Scrutiny Committee heard this week.

Finally after the eighth advertisement begged for a new start, the position was filled in January.

Councillor Elaine Dinwoodie said: “I’m disappointed the early years wasn’t doing well. It proves it is too much for someone to be responsible for two primary schools considering the geography between the two.”

Speaking at the meeting, she said Ms O’Driscoll found herself in the position of running three centres.

Littlemill and Dalrymple are the only schools sharing the same headteacher in East Ayrshire.

But despite this it was pointed out that the Dalrymple Primary school outcomes are some of the best seen lately.

Doon Valley Labour Councillor Dinwoodie said: “At the end of the day this is our future. We need to get it right.”

Committee chair Barry Douglas said: “We see the Dalrymple Primary school doing well but the Early Childhood Centre has issues to improve.”

He said recruitment problems could be exacerbated because of the school’s rural position and that people could be drawn to Glasgow instead.

The nursery was ranked weak for leadership of change and satisfactory for all the other categories.

The Care Inspectorate judged the nursery as adequate in quality of care and support, environment and staffing. Ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion was rated as weak.

Children were described as friendly and inspectors said they benefited from a caring family ethos at Dalrymple. Staff were praised for knowing children well and working together as a team.