Abuse case: Centre's licence tenure cut to 6 months

SINGAPORE - It was once considered a childcare centre with high standards of care.

But NTUC My First Skool in Toa Payoh Lorong 4 was put on a six-month probation effective on Thursday.

It also had its licence tenure reduced from 24 months to six months - because of the July 5 incident where a part-time teacher allegedly abused a three-year-old boy. The teacher was later arrested and sacked.

The centre was handed the letter by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) on Wednesday and will have to abide by certain conditions and be subject to regular spot checks.

ECDA chief executive Lee Tung Jean said the centre was found to be inadequate in areas such as:

- Support and training of teachers

- Ability to handle difficult situations

- Standard Operating Procedures for reporting incidents

- Layout of the centre

- Age-appropriate programmes for the children.

In a statement to the media, NTUC First Campus said My First Skool will take the following measures at all its centres:

- Enhance communication by encouraging parents to work closely with principals and openly share feedback and suggestions.

- Investigate thoroughly and promptly all cases of injury, accident or mishandling that are reported. An independent review panel to assess complex cases will be set up.

- Reinforce the importance of proper care for children and remind staff that it is their duty to report questionable practices.

- Step up support for teachers NTUC First Campus Chief Executive Officer Chan Tee Seng said: "Our team of 1,500 educators are strongly committed to strengthening the trust with the parents at our centres in the months ahead.

"We look forward to their support, patience and partnership, so that we can achieve our common goal for the children under our care."