Pre-school loses its ‘good’ rating

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A Newmarket pre-school is working to get its ‘good’ rating back after being judged to ‘require improvement’ by Ofsted inspectors.

In its latest report, Ofsted said Little Buds Pre-School, in Brickfields Avenue, needed to establish regular staff supervision and appraisals, and improve its evaluation of children’s learning, to return to a ‘good’ rating.

Inspectors also said the pre-school had not reported significant changes to Ofsted and that routines for nappy changing had not been “consistently applied”.

Sandra Smith, one of the pre-school managers, said she was aware of improvements that needed to be made and was confident the rating would change by the time of Ofsted’s next visit.

Lead inspector Jacqueline Mason said: “Overall, children’s progress ensures that they have the key skills needed for the next stage in their learning.

“Children have good friendships with each other and actively seek out others to share play experiences.

“However, because activity planning is not robust, some children are not sufficiently engaged in activities and staff do not routinely encourage children to participate.”

The report said: “Children benefit from a range of play materials to support their learning and development. Consistent routines help children to know what happens next throughout the day.”

“Outdoor play is time-tabled to ensure that children have daily opportunities to be outside. They develop good physical skills as they play on the public playground that includes swings, climbing frames and balancing equipment.”

Managers and staff were praised for providing “a welcoming environment in which children are secure, happy and confident to express themselves”.

The report added: “Staff check and change nappies, but this is not always carried out frequently enough to ensure that children are comfortable.”

The pre-school, which opened in 1990, employs six staff who care for 44 children in the early years age range.

Mrs Smith said: “We were pleased with our Ofsted report. There are a few things that we have got to improve on, but hopefully we will come up to a ‘good’ rating again.

“They said children were progressing well, had good relationships with parents, and were secure and confident with expressing themselves, so we were really happy with it.”