Manager of St John’s Playtime Pre-School in Ipswich claims Ofsted ranking upgrade to ‘good’ is deserved

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 upgraded to “good” by the education watchdog after concerns were raised in a critical report last year.

St John’s Playtime Pre-School, based at St John’s United Reform Church in Cowper Street, was rated “requires improvement” by Ofsted after an inspection in November last year.

Arrangements for coaching and training staff were not “effective” and children’s independent skills were not fully developed, the Ofsted report said.

But after a follow-up inspection in October, the education watchdog has now rated the pre-school as “good” after praising the level of teaching and highlighting “strong” partnerships between parents and other early years professionals.

Kellie Jay, manager of the pre-school, said the new ranking was “deserved” because of how hard staff had worked over the last 12 months.

Mrs Jay joined the pre-school as an assistant seven years ago before becoming the manager at around the time of the inspection last year.

She said: “We are very, very pleased. The whole team has worked really hard to put in place all of the changes needed, and it is very reassuring to know that the changes I have put in place are working.

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“Ofsted have made it tougher with all the changes but all the parents are really pleased and happy with everything we are doing and our goal is to be rated outstanding. We only need to make two changes to get that and I hope we can keep it going.

“Hopefully we will be able to get more children on our books.”

There are 48 children up to the age of five enrolled at the pre-school, with eight full-time members of staff.

The latest Ofsted inspection said the pre-school has not received an “outstanding” grading yet because the routine at mealtimes is “not always efficiently organised”, resulting in children occasionally becoming “bored and restless”, while the outdoor learning environment “does not consistently support children’s development in all areas of the educational programme”.

But it said: “Teaching and learning are good as staff have a secure understanding of the early years foundation stage and how children learn.

“(There are) good teaching strategies and well-planned, purposeful activities (which) support children’s individual needs. Consequently, children make good progress.

“Children form close relationships with their key persons, who are extremely attentive to their needs. This helps them make effective emotional attachments, gaining the confidence to play and learn with their peers.

“Children are protected from harm as staff demonstrate a secure knowledge and understanding of their responsibilities with regard to safeguarding children and ensure children’s safety is robustly maintained.”