Brookside Pre-school in Ipswich branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in critical report

St Johns Playtime Pre-School has been ranked 'good' by Ofsted.

St Johns Playtime Pre-School has been ranked 'good' by Ofsted. - Credit: Archant

A pre-school in Ipswich has been branded ‘inadequate’ by the education watchdog in a critical report.

Children at Brookside Pre-school in Sheldrake Drive are “inadequately safeguarded because not all staff members are sufficiently vigilant or follow basic procedures to ensure children are kept safe at all times”, an Ofsted inspection has found.

Ofsted inspector Hazel Meadows said that children’s learning and development opportunities are not always fully exploited due to variable levels of the quality of teaching, while staff do not always communicate sufficiently with parents about their child’s activities.

However the report praised the new manager and deputy manager for having a “very good” understanding of their responsibilities.

The report said: “They have clear vision and drive and have a focused action plan to make improvements to raise the quality of provision for children’s welfare, learning and development.”

The inspection, carried out on October 23 and published last Thursday, also found children’s independence is encouraged “well” in everyday activities.

But overall, the pre-school was ranked ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted – the lowest of four possible gradings.

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The report criticised staff for not always planning to extend children’s learning.

It said: “For example, on a leaf-gathering outing to the nearby school field, opportunities are missed to help children discover and learn about their environment.

“There is no mention of the wind that is blowing or why leaves fall off trees.

“During the outing, children are directed to move and run until they become tired and out of breath. However, there is no discussion about the effect the exercise has on their bodies, to extend their learning.”

It added: “Overall, children appear happy and confident and their behaviour is good. Children’s vocabulary is well promoted by staff through spontaneous play activities.”

The pre-school was rated ‘satisfactory’ after its last inspection in December 2008, which would now fall under the ‘requires improvement’ category after an Ofsted grading system change in 2012.

A total of 38 children attend the pre-school in a purpose-built building at Gusford Primary School. It also supports children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Ofsted will re-inspect the pre-school within the next six months.

Brookside Pre-school declined to comment.