Preschool stepping in right direction

Stepping Stones Pre-school staff and children celebrate their good Ofsted report.

Stepping Stones Pre-school staff and children celebrate their good Ofsted report. - Credit: Archant

Stepping Stones in Bideford received first ever ‘good’ Ofsted - turning it around from ‘inadequate’ in just nine months.

A BIDEFORD preschool has turned itself around after going from an ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ Ofsted ranking in less than 12 months.

In its last inspection in 2012, Stepping Stones Preschool, a registered charity based at the Pollyfield Centre in East-the-Water, was told it needed to make vital improvements.

But in just nine months and following a change in management, Ofsted inspectors who visited the preschool in September said it engaged the children and made them feel safe.

The report said: “Significant changes have taken place since the pre-school’s last inspection to improve the quality and outcomes for children. There has been a re-organisation amongst staff.

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“The new manager has embraced the staff team’s experience and knowledge and uses this efficiently to improve the provision for the benefit of the children.”

The report also stated that the rooms had been reorganised and de-cluttered, children learnt about staying healthy and the pupils entered the building ‘with ease’.

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Manager Kellie Fowler said as a result of the report the pre-school had been able to employ two apprentices, while all staff were either qualified or working towards further early years qualifications.

“This Ofsted is a result of the dedication of the team working to improve and also our own professional development, which has a direct impact on the children,” she said.

“Thank you also to the parents for all their support.”

Rachael Taylor, whose son Noah attends Stepping Stones, added: “The staff have really been so committed and worked so enthusiastically over recent months to change this service provision from what seemed a weak and dismal setting to a wholesome and nurturing one where every child’s needs are met.”

In January Stepping Stones will be adding a baby room to its facilities.

The pre-school began life as a playgroup set up in an old Nissen hut by a group of local mums in 1968.

It was housed at East-the-Water Primary School but moved to its new home at the Pollyfield Centre in March 2012 after the school reclaimed the facilities.

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