Parents: Critical Ofsted report 'ignores strengths of pre-school'
PARENTS have rallied to the defence of a Stapleton 'outdoor led' pre-school which received an Ofsted report accusing staff of putting children's safety at risk.
Government inspector Victoria Nicolson visited Out There Kindergarten, based at Stonechat Gardens, back in November.
In a report released following her visit, the provision was given an inadequate rating, stating: "Weaknesses in leadership, management and safeguarding compromise children's safety and well-being. Staff do not support all children to learn how to keep themselves safe."
The report went on to criticise leadership and management, the quality of teaching and outcomes for children.
Owner Jenny Bough said she believes Out There has been subject to an unfair inspection and has submitted a complaint against the inspector and inspection process.
Out There opened in Brislington in September 2017 and received a Good rating from Ofsted in July of the following year, with the report stating that safeguarding is effective. “The manager ensures that staff implement all safety routines and procedures meticulously. Risk assessments are robust. Children are safe on and off site. Staff teach children safety rules effectively,” the report said.
A second branch opened in Stapleton in September 2018 with Ofsted visiting 26 days later.
The subsequent report was scathing, and in contrast to the one given to the Brislington branch. It was judged to require improvement in two of the four categories and was given inadequate ratings in a further two categories.
Parents have leapt to the defence of the pre-school, which offers all-day care for two to five-year-olds with a focus on outdoor learning.
Anna and Tom Houghton, whose daughter has attended Out There Stapleton since it opened last September, said they “could not be happier” with the care provided.
“Our daughter can be very shy and quiet and sometimes finds it hard to adjust to new people and places, however thanks to the wonderful staff she settled in straight away.
“We could not be happier with the staff and we have seen our daughter's confidence grow day by day both at kindergarten and at home. She completely thrives in being in an outdoor environment and the forest school setting is perfect. We are saddened at the report but continue to fully support Out There Kindergarten as we know it is the best place for our daughter.”
Parent Emily Davies said the report failed to acknowledge the positive work being carried out.
“As a parent of a child who attends both the kindergarten in Stapleton and the one in Brislington, I am disappointed that the real benefits of Out There have not been highlighted in the report.”
Ms Bough said: “We were very disappointed and surprised by our Ofsted outcome as we do not believe the report is a true reflection of who we are and what we do at Out There Kindergarten. Neither do we feel it paints a fair picture of what the children and families truly experience in our setting.”
Ms Bough said she was expecting a further inspection this month and was confident of receiving at least a good rating.
“On the day of the inspection and immediately after we responded quickly and appropriately to the actions given by the inspector. We believe that we have shown a great commitment to making further improvements and a willingness to learn. We have very thorough action plans resulting from not only the inspection but also from our self evaluation and parent survey responses.
““Like many of our parents, we feel the inspector has missed the point about Out There Kindergarten. In failing to mention many of the positives that occur such as how quickly the children settle and how their speech and language develops rapidly due to quality interactions, the report fails to highlight the quality of care and education in our setting. It also fails to highlight any of the skills and capabilities within the team.”