Pre-schools say they are stung by Ofsted criticism

Brookside Methodist Church site at Gunthorpe Road EMN-160401-142530009
Brookside Methodist Church site at Gunthorpe Road EMN-160401-142530009
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Inspectors have given a false impression of a Peterborough pre-school, according to its manager, after they rated it as ‘inadequate’.

Helen Jacklin said she was frustrated with Ofsted after it reported that children’s safety was being compromised at Brookside Pre-School in Gunthorpe following an inspection in December.

Duke of Bedford school site at Thorney EMN-160401-142553009

Duke of Bedford school site at Thorney EMN-160401-142553009

The pre-school manager claimed the lowest possible rating was handed out for two “minor points”, both of which were corrected immediately.

One was an administrative error after Ofsted did not receive information on a committee member of Brookside Methodist Church, where the pre-school is based, and the other, it is said, was because an individual who the pre-school knew had access to its kitchen.

Ms Jacklin said she was disappointed by the Ofsted rating but believes parents are more interested in the quality of teaching and outcomes for children which were both rated as ‘good’. She said: “Inadequate would give people totally the wrong impression. We have the full support of the parents. It’s so frustrating.

“At the end of the day, parents want to know their children are receiving a good quality of learning and teaching which the report does highlight.”

Cllr  John Shearman EMN-150329-201252009

Cllr John Shearman EMN-150329-201252009

Ofsted’s report states that safety is compromised because “it is possible for unknown persons to have access to parts of the building where children are cared for.”

But Ms Jacklin said: “Our building is split in half. On the day of the inspection music exams were taking place at the end of the building.

“The steward who is looking after the music exam has a key to get into the kitchen to get drinks and the inspector said that was compromising the safety of the children.

“You can see her point, but we know who that person is. Now they have to knock on the door or ring the bell.”

On the admin error regarding information on the church committee member, Ms Jacklin added: “We know it was received by Ofsted but it was not completed. Within two days of the inspection that form was resubmitted.”

Former Beeches Primary School Headteacher John Shearman, a Labour councillor on Peterborough City Council, said: “It’s unfortunate they have been given this inadequate rating, particularly since the pre-school has been deemed good with the education it offers.

“But it’s a warning to all education institutions that it must have it all its safeguarding paperwork in place and must ensure nobody without appropriate child protection clearance has access to children.

“It’s a lesson for everyone.”

Ofsted has also rated Quality First Childcare Club, based at the Duke of Bedford Primary in Thorney, as inadequate for not guaranteeing children’s safety. It was said to have failed to ensure that entry to the club is secure, meaning that unauthorised people can gain unsupervised access.

But it too was praised for the quality of its teaching.

Manager Gillian Wilmer said: “After 15 years of being judged a good setting we are naturally disappointed to be graded inadequate by Ofsted due to the safety issues raised.

“We have addressed this by improving the security of the building with immediate effect. We would like to reassure parents no incidents have ever occurred relating to the safety aspects noted in the report.

“Putting this aside we are extremely delighted with the comments in the remainder of the report, highlighting the positive elements of the setting.”