Peterborough pre-school ‘devastated’ after inadequate Ofsted rating vows to become outstanding again

The manager of a pre-school rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted has vowed to bring it back to ‘outstanding’ after being left devastated by the regulator’s verdict.

By Joel Lamy
Monday, 19th July 2021, 4:54 am

Youngsters attending Dogsthorpe Community Pre-School in Poplar Avenue were said to be able to climb up car tyres which were stacked against spikes fences, while water was not available for a ‘water wall’ activity.

A report from inspector Carly Mooney also said play areas were “not safe” with staff having not assessed all the risks and that the children could “easily access some areas currently not being used due to thorny brambles and the high level of the grass”.

In addition, the children were said to not be receiving “the education they deserve” as they “do not receive high-quality learning experiences that stimulate and motivate them to learn”.

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Dogsthorpe Community Pre-School EMN-210715-155420009

It was stated: “Some children wander around the setting unsure of what to do.”

Despite this, most children were said to appear “happy and confident” and had “daily opportunities to listen to stories and sing songs”.

Relationships with parents were also described as being “positive” with parents speaking well of the staff.

The Ofsted report added: “Management of the setting is weak. Although leaders recognise that the quality of education is poor, not enough is being done to drive improvement.

“Staff have had limited professional development opportunities to help them improve their childcare knowledge and teaching skills. Staff do not work together well as a team and morale appears low.

“This contributes greatly to the inadequate early years’ experience children are receiving and means that they are not being well prepared for their future learning.”

The report also claimed that Ofsted had not been provided with the “necessary information to carry out suitability checks on a nominated individual. This is a legal requirement of registration and means that the setting has been operating incorrectly for some time”.

It was stated that the pre-school could not provide evidence that it had carried out enhanced criminal records checks when recruiting and that “children with special educational needs and/or disabilities do not get the support they deserve to meet their needs”.

The pre-school - which was said to have 27 two to four-year-olds on its books - had previously been rated ‘outstanding’ after its last inspection in 2012.

It has now been given seven improvements it needs to make.

Pre-school manager Karen Bromley said: “My staff and I are completely devastated with this judgement.

“While we as a team had identified the areas that needed improvement, without the strength and support of a management committee we didn’t have the vehicle to move things forward at an acceptable pace.

“Following the death of our chairperson Mr Malkin in December 2019 Ofsted were notified that we had had a change in our registered person. When meeting with the Ofsted inspector in June 2021 we were informed that the outgoing nominated person must notify them themselves so the new registration did not stand.

“In February 2020, with the support of the local authority, my deputy and I began looking at an alternative management structure. The Covid pandemic then hindered our progress.

“Despite the overall judgement of inadequate and how bad the report reads our parents know how hard we as a team work to support them and their children.

“Over the summer period we aim to secure a new management structure. We will work with the local authority to continue to improve.

“We as a team are committed to the families we serve. We were the first ‘pack away’ setting in Peterborough (2012) to achieve an outstanding judgement from Ofsted which gave hope to other similar settings. With the support of my team and the new management structure we will achieve outstanding again.”

Ms Bromley said the pre-school has done the following things to improve:

. Continued professional development including on special educational needs and disabilities for all staff

. Cleared the overgrown garden

. De-cluttered the outdoor play area ensuring safety

. Filed vetting processes and records

. Changed planning to include children’s tailored interests

. Enriched outdoor learning experiences

. Held regular staff meetings

. Held a planning meeting ready for next term