Pre-school criticised for ‘dirty’ sandpits and contamination risk
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A Suffolk pre-school has come under fire from inspectors after insects and weeds were found in sandpits on site.
Mendlesham Pre-school, in Old Station Road, was judged 'requires improvement' by the regulator following an inspection in May - a disappointing outcome after its 'good' rating in June 2016.
The pre-school, which cares for children aged two to four, received the rating across the board, from the effectiveness of leadership and management to the quality of personal development. behaviour and welfare.
In particular, Ofsted took issue with the staff's failure to promote good health among the children to reduce the risks of cross-infection.
The inspectors wrote: "Staff do not promote children's good health well enough.
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"For example, the sandpits in the garden are not covered. Consequently, the sand is dirty and contains insects and weeds."
Annette Chilvers, pre-school leader, said action has since been taken to improve hygiene conditions - for example the sand has been thrown away and the sandpits thoroughly cleaned out.
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The pre-school was also criticised for having low expectations of the children, providing a lack of opportunities for staff to discuss their performance with management, and failing to encourage younger children's attempts at experimenting with sounds and words.
However Ofsted praised the pre-school for fostering "friendly and trusting" relationships between staff and parents, providing "occasional opportunities" for staff to observe each other at work, and developing "close emotional attachments" with the children.
The inspectors added: "Children are happy and settled. They feel safe and secure in their relationships with staff. Children develop close emotional attachments, confidently seeking out staff for a cuddle or to share in their play."
The pre-school was given a deadline of May 31, 2019 to reduce the risk of cross-infection and promote children's good health at all times, and to improve supervision of all staff.
It will have until July 31 to improve the quality of teaching, specifically "to provide children with sufficient challenge and motivation to learn and guide the development of their capabilities".