Friday, 19 August 2022

Pre-school shuts after 35 years

BADGEMORE Pre-School in Henley is to close after almost 35 years.

Trustees say that dwindling child numbers and increasing financial pressures have made it unviable. The pre-school will shut on May 25.

The news comes less than a month after it was told it needed to improve by education watchdog Ofsted.

Badgemore Primary School, which shares the site in Hop Gardens, had considered taking over management of the pre-school but considered this too onerous.

Pru Sly, who chairs the pre-school, said: “It is a great shame to be losing this community facility. However, it is clear that the pre-school is no longer tenable.

“On a personal level, as a parent of an ex-pupil and someone who has been involved in the pre-school for five years, I am very sad to see it shut.

“We would like to thank our staff and parents for their support over the years and wish them all the best in the future.”

In February, the pre-school was granted planning permission to demolish its former home. It had no use for the temporary building since the children had been relocated to the primary school.

South Oxfordshire District Council gave consent after hearing the classroom had become too expensive to maintain and had fallen into disrepair.

Then in April, Ofsted inspector Helen Harnew gave the pre-school a rating of “requires improvement”.

Mrs Harnew said the effectiveness of the leadership and management team needed to improve as did the personal development, behaviour and welfare of the children. She said: “The provider has not kept Ofsted up to date with changes to the management of the pre-school to ensure that they can complete all required suitability checks promptly.”

She said the acting manager and staff had not received “effective” induction and supervision to help them to build on their practice and understand their roles and responsibilities fully. Newer staff were not secure in their knowledge of some procedures and the manager and staff had not had opportunities to update their knowledge.

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