Fringe Box



Godalming Preschool Rated ‘Inadequate’

Published on: 8 Jul, 2024
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2024

By Emily Dalton

local democracy reporter

A Surrey preschool has been slammed with the lowest Ofsted rating for a “chaotic environment” where some children “wander around looking for somewhere to sleep”.

Little Rays preschool in Godalming was inspected for the first time on March 18 this year since it opened in December 2023. Catering for children ages 2-11, Little Rays provides childcare, outdoor learning sessions, breakfast club and after school club.

Managers at the pre-school have said they are “extremely unhappy” with the rating and claim it was “totally inaccurate”. They said that they have put in a complaint about the inspection as part of Ofsted’s complaints process. They claimed the inspection took place two days after the school was vandalised and the inspector showed “no empathy” to their situation. Ofsted said they could not comment on individual complaints when contacted.

Extract from the Ofsted report

The Ofsted report, published in June, claims that the manager and staff do not have sufficient understanding of their responsibilities to keep children safe. and that children are not supervised well enough. For example, the inspector flagged that children were observed to ride around the garden on bikes with food in their mouths. They said that this does not adequately protect children from the risk of choking.

It adds that frequent shouting creates a ‘chaotic environment’. The report reads: “Although children are initially enthusiastic to join in with activities, they become bored and distracted. This is a result of weaknesses in the curriculum and poor organisation in the daily routine. At these times, staff struggle to regain children’s attention. The staff talk louder and raise their voices to try to engage children. This adds to the noise levels.

“Children mimic staff by shouting, which creates a chaotic environment. As a result, children do not benefit from the intended learning and their behaviour deteriorates. This impacts on children’s personal, social, and emotional development.

Highlighting the preschool’s successes, the report said the arrangements to support children’s learning are more fruitful outside. It added: “Children love being outdoors in the fresh air. They have a natural curiosity to explore and investigate.” The preschool was also praised for the fact that managers and staff value parents as partners in their children’s learning. They offer a friendly greeting when parents arrive to drop off and collect their children.

Sleeping arrangements for children are reported as not effective because there are not enough areas where kids can sleep. The report said: “Children wander around looking for somewhere to sleep. Staff do not always notice when children are showing obvious signs that they are tired, eg yawning and rubbing their eyes.”

However, managers claimed their staff had recent safeguarding training and criticised the effectiveness of a hypothetical question to these issues. Both have criticised the Ofsted inspector for her unfair report, saying Ofsted’s one-word rating can “do a lot of damage” and ruin their business.

An Ofsted spokesperson said that there is often a lot of work that goes behind the scenes of an inspection with a thorough quality assurance and moderation process. Ofsted said they do not comment on individual providers or complaints, but said it is not entirely down to one individual inspector who makes the decision.

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