Last reviewed 12 November 2021

Inspectors have upheld a complaint by the Scottish health secretary, Humza Yousaf, after he claimed a nursery refused to offer his daughter a place.

Yousaf and his wife complained to the inspectorate claiming that Little Scholars Day Nursery in Boughty Ferry had rejected applications for children with Muslim names, including his two-year-old daughter, while accepting children with “white, Scottish-sounding names”.

The Care Inspectorate said Little Scholars nursery had failed to “promote fairness, equality and respect” in its handling of applications following a three-month investigation.

The couple, who are also pursuing separate legal action against the nursery, alleged that their daughter was refused a place on three separate occasions despite the nursery confirming to others with "white-sounding" names it had vacancies.

The Care Inspectorate, the sector’s regulator in Scotland, said:

“We have upheld a complaint in relation to this matter. We found that the service did not promote fairness, equality and respect when offering placements. Every child in Scotland has the right to good quality care that meets their needs and respects their rights.”

“We have identified areas for improvement and we will follow up on these to check on progress. We continue to monitor this service. If we are not satisfied that the improvements required have been met, we will not hesitate to take further action.”

The inspectorate has given the nursery until 12 December to show it is well managed and has “consistent and robust” systems for admissions requests which show “these are processed in a transparent and equitable manner”. In addition, the nursery must ensure its communication with prospective families is improved to demonstrate that applicants are treated in a courteous and respectful manner.

However, the Little Scholars nursery has vowed to challenge the ruling and described the inspectorate's statement as "highly misleading". The nursery, whose owners are of Asian heritage, has instructed lawyers to challenge the inspectorate’s statement about its findings.