Playgroup’s safety procedure criticised

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Soham Playgroup, which is based at The Weatheralls primary school was inspected last month when inspector Jacqueline Baker said it needed to bring about a “rapid change” to its practices.

One of the key failings in the playgroup’s provision was, according to her report, that the provider, the Soham Playgroup Committee, had failed to notify Ofsted of changes to members which was a requirment of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The report said that background checks had not been carried out for these individuals but added; “The potential impact upon children is reduced as these people do not have direct contact with children at the playgroup.”

But according to the inspector it “still posed a safeguarding concern.”

“This is exacerbated by the length of time persons unknown to Ofsted have been holding responsible positions on the committee,” said the inspector. “Children’s overall safety is compromised because of the committee’s weak understanding of safeguarding procedures. In this instance the need for suitability checks to be carried out for committee members.” She said advice about how to rectify the situation had been ignored by the committee .

However the report said teaching at the playgroup was good and children were well prepared for their moves to nursery. Parents also praised the staff for the progress made by their children .