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09th Sep 2021

Cruel nursery worker removed for “physical and verbal abuse” of toddlers

Laura Grainger

“The children in question should be able to access their nursery without feelings of fear and distress.”

A worker from a nursery near Glasgow has been struck off for cruel behaviour, including physical and verbal abuse, towards the toddlers in his care.

Josh Doherty, of Little Flowers Nursery in Renfrew, instilled fear and anxiety in the children he was supposed to look after, a regulator report found.

The report by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) brought to light a number of shocking revelations about his behaviour.

This included grabbing toddlers by the face to force them to look at him, threatening a little boy who became distracted, and saying a little girl who was upset by his presence “better watch it.”

One girl was left so traumatised that she would come home from nursery crying.

Glasgow Times reports that last September Doherty told a three-year-old girl: “Why are you crying? That’s it, I’ve had enough and I’m going to be speaking to your mum.”

She got upset at seeing him in the garden the next day. He followed her inside, sat on a small table and held her hands as he said: “You need to stop this, this is ridiculous.”

When the tot turned to look at another nursery worker, her grabbed the sides of her head and forced her to face him, saying: “I’m talking to you, you need to look at me when I speak to you. That is very rude.”

The other staff member said the girl was inconsolable and another employee took over, to which Doherty said the child was “one for the watching” and that she puts “that crying business on.”

The SSSC’s report found that Doherty lacked compassion and understanding for the toddlers he was supposed to care for, while failing to consider their ages or needs.

“The panel considered that your conduct amounted to physical and verbal abuse of children and that your communication with the children was inappropriate,” the report said.

“The children in question should be able to access their nursery without feelings of fear and distress. The panel concluded that your behaviour was at the higher end of the scale of seriousness.”

Doherty’s repeated behaviour, along with the lack of accountability for his actions, prompted a removal order from the watchdog.

“The panel viewed your conduct as a pattern of behaviour which might be reflective of your values and your temperament that may not be compatible with working in the social services sector,” regulators continued.

“The panel considers that a removal order is the most appropriate sanction as it is both necessary and justified in the public interest and to maintain the continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession.

“…The panel took the view that the need to protect the public and uphold confidence in the profession outweighed your right to work in the sector,” it concluded.