Gallery: Top Ofsted grade for Heathlands pre-school in Rushmere St Andrew

Staff and children at Heathlands Community Pre School celebrate an outstanding in the latest Ofsted

Staff and children at Heathlands Community Pre School celebrate an outstanding in the latest Ofsted report. ,

Thrilled staff at Heathlands Community Pre-school in Rushmere St Andrew are celebrating an “outstanding” rating in their latest Oftsed inspection.

Inspectors visited the committee-run pre-school in November and awarded an “outstanding” rating in all areas based on the well-being of children, how well early years provision meets the needs of children, and the effectiveness of leadership and management.

Manager Irene Greenfield said: “We are thrilled because the staff and committee have worked very hard to achieve this.

“We have improved the leadership and getting staff to work on particular areas of practice, and we’re particularly pleased with our outdoor area which the parents have raised a lot of money for.”

In the previous Ofsted inspection in 2008, the school, which caters for children aged up to five, was rated “satisfactory”, but in the latest report inspectors praised the contribution of Ms Greenfield, who joined in January 2013.

The report noted: “The manager is passionate in her pursuit of excellence and sees parents as her main resource in helping children achieve the best possible progress”, adding that “children make outstanding progress in all areas of learning because the quality of teaching is consistently of a very high standard, providing imaginative and innovative activities in a highly stimulating and fully child-centred environment”. Among the improvements are working on activities for two-year-olds who are at a different stage of development to three- and four-year-olds, improving literacy and numeracy activities to prepare children for primary school and a revamped indoor area.

Ms Greenfield added: “There has been a lot of pressure on us because an inspection had been due, but it helped us make changes quickly.

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“Outstanding was what I was aiming for, but to get the rating first time was the icing on the cake.”

The school is now looking to add a canopy outside to allow children the chance to get fresh air when the weather is poor, and improving provisions for children for whom English is an additional language.

But Ms Greenfield has put the school’s success down to staff engaging with parents.

She added: “Parents are the experts in their children, so they are welcomed into the school and their information helps us with the children’s learning.”