Toddler 'assaulted' using 'Supernanny' naughty chair

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A nursery school owner with more than 20 years experience has appeared in court accused of assaulting a toddler while using a disciplinary technique used in Channel 4's Supernanny television programme.

Olive Rack, 56, is alleged to have "over-reacted" when she saw the two-year-old girl hit a baby on the head with a toy. She was charged with assault after "dragging" the child to a so-called naughty chair and poking her in the forehead while telling her off.

The prosecution has been brought by Northamptonshire Police, despite the parents of the alleged victim having made no complaint. They still send their daughter to the £130-a-week Tresco House day nursery in Kettering, which Mrs Rack runs.

The case was brought after Gillian Whall, a local authority education adviser, saw the incident during a routine inspection of the nursery, which cares for 14 children, in July last year.

Mrs Whall told Daventry magistrates' court yesterday that she was "horrified" by what she saw.

She said she had seen the two girls playing together with lightweight plastic building bricks when the older girl "tapped" the other on the head. The younger child showed no reaction but Mrs Rack then stepped in to discipline the girl.

Mrs Whall said: "She grabbed the little girl by her arm and pulled her across the room so that her feet virtually didn't touch the floor."

After forcing the little girl to sit on a child's chair, Mrs Rack continued to berate her. Mrs Whall went on: "Olive was stood shouting at her. She took a finger and put it to her forehead and pushed her, I think it was twice - her head jerked back."

David Malone, for the defence, said that Mrs Rack had seen the older girl hit the baby with a foot-long piece of wooden railway track - not a lightweight plastic brick.

Taking a child to a "naughty chair" was a technique used by Jo Frost, the child specialist on Channel 4's Supernanny programme, he said.

Mrs Whall took the "distressed" older girl to calm down. She said she saw no injuries on her head.

The trial continues.