'Inadequate' preschool playgroup shuts after inspectors return

July 28 2022
'Inadequate' preschool playgroup shuts after inspectors return

A PRESCHOOL playgroup in Chipping Sodbury which was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted has shut.

Raysfield Pre-school Playgroup, which operated from Dodington Parish Hall (above) closed permanently on July 8, less than three months after the publication of a highly critical report in which inspectors raised concerns over multiple issues, some of which they said "significantly compromised children's safety and welfare".

After the report was made public in April, the playgroup's management committee members issued a statement admitting they had let families down but were "determined to make this right". 

However a monitoring visit by Ofsted in June found many problems had still not been resolved.

The earlier inspectors' report had raised concerns over the entrance doors being left locked, CCTV footage being taken home by staff members and insufficient supervision of children.

This included staff not noticing children pushing each other off plastic crates, or intervening when they hit each other trying to get books, as well as "sitting with their backs to babies in high chairs who are eating their lunch, while they tend to other children" which left them at risk of choking.

The inspectors also said that "most learning is incidental", with a curriculum that was "not well designed".

On a return visit in June, by which time the number of children on the playgroup's roll had fallen from 68 to 51, Ofsted inspector Rachael Williams said: "There is some improvement noted since the previous inspection and the management committee are beginning to monitor the quality of the provision. However, this is limited."

She said some training and support had been given to staff but the curriculum was "not delivered well to older children" and there was "inconsistency" in managing challenging behaviour.

The inspector added: "Staff do not implement their risk assessments effectively to maintain children's welfare, such as keeping them safe when they play in the sun."

Ofsted issued a further welfare requirements notice for the playgroup to improve by July 4, but the group announced it had closed permanently a week before the monitoring report was published.

A message posted online to parents said the decision had been taken with "great sadness", adding: "The team and committee have worked tirelessly to bounce back following the Ofsted inspection. However a recent monitoring visit and further staff resignations has led to the difficult decision to close the preschool with immediate effect."

A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said: "While this is going to be disappointing for some families, the council is writing to the parents and carers of children not beginning school next year to provide details of alternative nursery providers, so that families can continue to claim their free nursery education entitlement in the Autumn term if still required.

"We have also passed on details of Ofsted registered childminders in the area."

Families are being advised to visit the council website at www.southglos.gov.uk/childcare for more information.