Littlehampton pre-school praised by Ofsted

JUBILANT staff at a pre-school in Littlehampton have been celebrating after Ofsted hailed the institution as ‘good’ following its latest inspection.

The Alpha Pre-school, based at the Baptist Church, in Fitzalan Road, was praised by the education watchdog for the strong links forged by the pre-school staff with the children and parents, as well as the organisation of staff and management.

The latest result was an improvement over the site’s 2011 inspection in which inspectors judged the centre to be satisfactory – one level below good.

In the most recent report, published last week, the inspector, Rachel Southern, said: “Staff have high expectations of all children at the pre-school.

“They encourage children to be enthusiastic in their play and children are eager to join in activities. Key staff engage and motivate children well, talking about what they are doing and asking appropriate questions.

“For example, at snack times, staff sit together with the children and ask questions about their home lives to encourage responses from children. As a result, children are chatty and feel comfortable sharing their news and home events with their key person.”

The inspector continued by saying that the staff supported children in learning effectively because the quality of teaching provided ‘rich and varied experiences’ for the youngsters.

She praised the pre-school’s staff for keeping records up-to-date about how the children’s education was progressing.

“Assessments are precise; staff assess children formally when starting at the setting,” she highlighted. “Well-qualified staff provide detailed two-year checks, including information from parents and considerations for next step learning.

“Staff closely monitor children and record next steps, ensuring children progress well and are prepared for their transition to school.”

The inspector added that the children were encouraged to join in with activities and to talk about their home life during lunch times.

However, Mrs Southern did say that, although play and learning was generally good at the pre-school, staff sometimes missed opportunities to explore children’s varied, cultural backgrounds.

“Play resources do not fully reflect the languages, cultures and religions of children and families attending the pre-school,” she said.

Consequently, this was ultimately holding the pre-school back from becoming an outstanding institution. 

The inspector hailed the positive links forged between staff and parents which ultimately benefited children’s education.

However, Mrs Southern did note there were some small areas that could be bettered to further improve children’s education.

She said: “On occasion, staff miss opportunities to develop children’s thinking about mathematical concepts relating to weight and measure.”

A spokeswoman from the pre-school said they were ‘pleased’ with the report and were happy with the points raised by the inspector.

The school caters for 23 children aged between two and five.