‘Role model’ staff improve pre-school but there’s more work to be done

Improvements at a pre-school have been recognised by Ofsted – but more work still needs to be done.

Squirrels Pre-School, which is run from the United Reformed Church, in Keymer Road, Hassocks, was visited by inspector Rebecca Khabbazi on September 14 and her findings were published on October 9.

Squirrels had previously been inspected on April 29, when it was judged ‘inadequate’. Ms Khabbazi raised the rating to ‘requires improvement’ over all, with the children’s personal development, behaviour and welfare judged to be ‘good’ .

Her report stated: “The manager and staff team have worked hard to meet the actions set at the last inspection.

“The manager has increased the training, mentoring and support provided for staff. This has had a positive impact on developing the quality of teaching and children’s learning experiences at the pre-school.”

One of the main concerns raised by Ofsted following the April inspection was the safeguarding of the children’s welfare. The report stated there had been no effective recruitment system in place to ensure all staff employed were suitable to work with children.

Things had changed by the time Ms Khabbazi inspected the pre-school in September.

Her report described safeguarding as being “effective” and she acknowledged recruitment procedures had been reviewed and all staff were now suitably vetted.

Describing the staff as “good role models” who gave the children “gentle guidance and praise”, helping them learn to treat each other with respect, she said: “They encourage children to learn about each other’s lives, which develops their understanding of the wider world.”

When it came to the work which still needed to be done, Ms Khabbazi’s report said managers had to improve the way children’s progress was monitored in order to recognise any gaps in their achievements and plan for their further progress across all areas of learning.

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