Friday, 20 October 2017

Pre-school on the up after 'good' rating by watchdog

Pre-school on the up after 'good' rating by watchdog

CHILDREN and staff at a pre-school are celebrating after it moved from being rated as “requires improvement” to “good” by an education watchdog.

It represents a huge turnaround for Sacred Heart Pre-School as two years ago Ofsted rated the facility as “inadequate”.

In December 2015 inspectors found that safeguarding was “ineffective” and that children were left to “occupy themselves” for long periods.

They also found that there was no promotion of the children’s understanding of safety, healthy eating or independence skills.

A follow-up inspection in May 2016 revised the rating to “requires improvement” saying that it was too soon to see the impact of new systems the management team had introduced to improve children’s learning.

It noted that some members of staff lacked confidence and skills to plan for children’s needs while it needed to improve engagement of some parents and their children’s learning and development.

But the latest inspection, in May, upgraded the rating to “good” in all areas and fell just short of the top rating of “outstanding”.

Inspectors found that the pre-school now provides a “stimulating range of activities” to challenge the children and encourage them to join in while also addressing their individual needs.

They also found that staff support children’s communication and language development and use “skilful questions” to help them think and solve problems.

Partnerships with parents were now “strong” and the sharing of information provides a “consistent approach” and supports their involvement of parents in their children’s learning.

It also said the manager had implemented “effective improvements” since the last inspection and the service is regularly reviewed with parents, children and staff.

It fell short of the top rating because staff have not developed an effective way of sharing information with other settings the children attend and, at times, they miss opportunities to support children to develop an awareness of technology and its uses.

Veronika Cintra, who became manager of the Greys Hill nursery in November, praised the “new ideas” of the management committee. She said: “A couple of years ago we had a really bad report but we have turned it around. The committee invested time and money in us and I became manager in November.

“With a new set of minds and ideas things started to improve. We put in so much time and effort and got a very good report. The feedback was so positive and we were told we were just short of an ‘outstanding’ rating.

“There was so much improvement and we now want to carry on and improve further.” Miss Cintra offers regular coaching and support for her staff to develop their knowledge and skills.

Staff help the children’s understanding of healthy lifestyles and good hygiene procedures. They also help children make healthy choices at snack times and children have regular physical exercise.

Miss Cintra was deputy manager at the time of the first inspection and became acting leader the following year before applying for the full-time permanent position. She said: “I plucked up the courage to apply because I felt so strongly about improving the pre-school.

“We have closely monitored teaching and that children’s individual needs are met. We also made sure management and the committee gives enough support and we are really strong on safeguarding.”

She added: “The behaviour was really good and the inspector commented on how well behaved the children are.”

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