A new manager of a pre-school which plunged into special measures after being rated as ‘inadequate’ has pledged to turn its fortunes around.
Helen Wilson is already looking forward to Wisbech St Mary Pre-School being re-inspected by Ofsted after leaders immediately addressed issues the education watchdog claimed was putting children “at risk of harm”.
Mrs Wilson took on the role just two weeks after Ofsted judged the Churchfield Way school as ‘inadequate’ overall in a damning report.
The pre-school was previously rated as ‘good’, but it dropped to the lowest possible grade following an inspection last month.
The report, published last week, said the setting did not meet legal requirements as not all members of staff who came into contact with children had undergone checks to ensure they are suitable to be working with children.
It also said there was no clear record of staff checks and vetting processes.
“This places children at risk of harm,” said inspector Julie Meredith-Jenkins.
But following Ofsted’s visit, the pre-school quickly resolved the problem and now all staff have completed and obtained the so-called Disclosure and Barring checks.
A proper record of checks is also now being kept.
Speaking on behalf of the pre-school, Abi Payne, chairman of the pre-school committee, said: “The pre-school received an inadequate rating but this has already been rectified and we look forward to being re-inspected.”
The issue of checks meant the pre-school was rated as inadequate for the effectiveness of leadership and management, and also the well-being of children who attend, but it scored ‘good’ in how it meets the children’s needs.
The report said: “The quality of teaching is good.
“Staff provide an interesting and stimulating environment, and are skilled in knowing when to step back or intervene to support children’s learning.
“As a result, children are highly motivated and engaged in their learning.”
Praise was also given to the pre-school’s key person system.
“Children have secure attachments with their key persons, who respond in a sensitive way to children’s needs,” said the report.
“The system is effective and, as a result, children have friendly and caring relationships with the staff, and each other.”
It also said children behave well, and are encouraged to be independent.
Mrs Payne said: “As a preschool we like to pride ourselves on the relationships we build with both the children and parents and carers.
“We also like to think of our teaching as good and that we structure each child’s learning to their individual needs and targets, and the inspector noted this.
“The staff, committee and parents are all in full support of the pre-school and feel it does an amazing job with the children and it is a lovely environment for them to learn in.”
The pre-school, which saw the retirement of leader Mary McClagish at the end of the spring term after 29 years in the position, is currently undergoing building works while a new conservatory is erected.
“This will be a fabulous new addition to the preschool,” added Mrs Payne.