My First Skool branch linked to abuse moves on, has licence renewed

A child at the entrance of the My First Skool branch on Toa Payoh Lorong 4. One of its teachers was arrested for allegedly abusing a boy last year.
A child at the entrance of the My First Skool branch on Toa Payoh Lorong 4. One of its teachers was arrested for allegedly abusing a boy last year.ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN

My First Skool branch has licence renewed for 2 years

A childcare centre embroiled in a case of alleged child abuse last year has returned to the good books of the authorities.

The centre, a branch of NTUC's My First Skool chain, has successfully renewed its licence for two years after it was cut to six months following the scandal in July that had shocked parents.

On Friday last week, its principal Jesie Lee sent a letter to about 140 parents to inform them about the renewal of the licence, Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday. "This is great news for us... Your unstinting support and faith in us have encouraged us to journey through the challenging times," she wrote in the letter, which was seen by The Straits Times.

The centre made the news last July when one of its teachers was arrested for allegedly dragging a three-year-old boy across the floor and then pushing him to the ground.

A probe by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), which licenses childcare centres, found evidence of child mismanagement and lapses in some operations at the centre. For example, it did not report the incident to the authorities within 24 hours, as required under existing guidelines.

The centre at Block 192, Toa Payoh Lorong 4 has since set up a feedback hotline and e-mail account to enable teachers to better communicate with parents, said a spokesman.

It also encouraged teachers to take breaks when they are stressed, and to provide support if they notice colleagues having difficulties.

Childcare centres can get a licence for a period of six to 24 months, depending on how they meet licensing requirements. A two-year licence means the Toa Payoh centre exceeded requirements. More than 70 per cent of the 1,101 centres have a two-year licence, ECDA figures show.

The Straits Times understands that the teacher involved in the case is out on bail. Police said investigations are ongoing.

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg

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