Angry parents have slammed Ofsted for downgrading an ‘outstanding’ rural nursery to just ‘good’ because it does not teach toddlers about ethnic diversity.

The education watchdog even penalised Town and Country Kiddies Nursery in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, for not having enough pictures of black and Asian people on the walls.

In their report inspectors criticised the nursery–which caters for children aged from just eight weeks to 11 years as it also offers a kids’ club–for failing to teach youngsters about other cultures.

It stated: ‘Staff do not provide enough opportunities for children to develop a strong sense of belonging at the nursery and to learn about people who are different to themselves.’

As a result, the nursery was stripped of the ‘outstanding’ status it was given in 2012 and is now rated as just ‘good’.

Around 97 per cent of the population in the town to which the nursery belongs are white.

Parents today blasted Ofsted, branding the decision to mark the nursery down as ‘politically correct nonsense’.

One mother, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Just because the majority of the kids are white shouldn’t be used as a stick to beat the nursery with.

‘The nursery does an excellent job, the atmosphere is inclusive and the staff break their backs to help every kid. This Ofsted report is a kick in the face for them and is yet another example of political correct nonsense.’

Clare Worrell, 36, who sends her 16-month-old twins Henry and Grace to the nursery, said: ‘Ofsted have nothing to base this report on.

‘I do not know one ethnic minority family in Market Rasen.

‘How can the school be classed as not ethnically diverse when there’s no call for it?

‘There’s only white people around here. It’s a great nursery and they shouldn’t be penalised for this.’

A father added: ‘One word can be used to describe that report–wrong. What planet do these Ofsted inspectors live on? How can you teach two or three year olds about racism?

‘Kids that young treat each other the same whatever their skin colour. They just see kids as kids and that’s as it should be.’

Another mother, whose two-year-old daughter has been attending the nursery for a month, added: ‘I wanted my daughter to come here as I had heard amazing things from other parents.

‘The nursery has a brilliant reputation. I think Ofsted’s comment that the nursery isn’t ethnically diverse enough is pathetic.

‘How can the nursery be ethnically diverse when there are hardly any ethnic minority families in the area?

‘My daughter has lived her time at the nursery so far and I’m so pleased with the staff.

‘Ofsted are being totally unfair. This is a brilliant nursery–I haven’t got a bad word to say about it.’

Louise Davies, who owns the nursery, has also expressed her concerns over the Ofsted rating system.

She said: ‘There are things they’d like us to do over and above–children having understanding of other people and different cultures.

‘It comes with living in a community where there isn’t a great deal of cultural and ethnic diversity.

‘They’re not seeing that on a day to day basis, unlike nurseries in London where they do.

‘One of the things the inspectors said was that we needed to put more pictures of people from ethnic cultures on the walls of the nursery.’

Ofsted changed the rules on grading schools and nurseries last September meaning they now have to meet additional criteria to get an ‘outstanding’ rating.

Ms Davies added: ‘There’s a really strong focus in the new criteria that the whole workforce needs to be delivering exceptional practice. But it’s unrealistic.

‘It’s an ideological view, and it is not commercially viable. We can’t operate a team that’s without exception.

‘For us to continually strive towards the ‘outstanding’ would become more and more commercially unviable. ‘At the end of the day it’s all very well chasing something but it’s an unrealistic criteria.

‘We need to provide childcare for people to go to work and not worry about an ideology that Ofsted have.

‘If anything, we’re in a stronger position now than in the last inspection in 2012.’

Ofsted initially published their report from the inspection this week on their website–but bosses have now temporarily withdrawn it following a backlash from furious parents.

An Ofsted spokesman said today: ‘The regional director is seeking to speak to the owner about her concerns, and we have withdrawn the report while we review the case.

‘Following this a decision will be taken about next steps.’

The row comes 18 months after Middle Rasen Primary School, which is a mile away from the nursery, was penalised by Ofsted for effectively being too English.

Inspectors said the school was ‘not yet outstanding’ because pupils’ cultural development was limited by a ‘lack of first-hand experience of the diverse make up of modern British society’.

Pupils at the rural primary lacked ‘first-hand experience of the diverse make-up of modern British society’, declared the watchdog.

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