AN INSPECTOR has given an Ellesmere Port pre-school the thumbs-up, in the first full Ofsted inspection at the pre-school in more than eight years.

Ofsted inspector Kayte Farrell paid a visit to Meadowlands Pre-School, based at Meadow Community Primary School, in May this year – their first inspection since November 2013.

The inspector was given a tour of the pre-school, observing the quality of the children's education indoors and outdoors, and discussions were held with staff, parents and children at appropriate times.

The pre-school, for children aged two to four, was given a 'Good' rating in all departments, one rating lower than the 'Outstanding' rating it received back in 2013.

The inspector noted: "All children, particularly those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), receive an impressive start to their education at this pre-school.

"Parents no longer enter the playrooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This helps to keep children safe from infection.

"However, children enter with confidence, excitement and a genuine happiness to be here. They independently find their own pegs and hang up their belongings.

"Staff's expectations of children are high. They instil a culture of positive behaviour and mutual respect. Children have learned the importance of sharing, taking turns and being patient. They are quickly developing important skills needed for school.

"Communication and language development is a particular strength at the preschool. Children confidently hold back-and-forth conversations, both with staff and with their friends.

"They learn new words, such as 'smooth', 'slimy' and 'gloopy' to describe a sensory activity. Children use their growing communication skills to negotiate and compromise with their friends. For instance, they work together to resolve conflict and decide on the best way to share out the resources.

"Children are making good progress in their learning and development."

The inspector added that children with SEND are "particularly well supported" and staff "work tirelessly to provide bespoke, inclusive care and education" for them.

Other positive points, the inspector noted, included literacy development, where: "staff read to children with excitement and enthusiasm. Children giggle at staff's funny voices as they learn to role play familiar stories.

"They demonstrate good levels of recall when remembering different parts of the story. Children have a positive attitude to learning and are clearly developing a love of reading."

The inspector added: "Children demonstrate independence, perseverance and resilience when learning to use safety knives. They work hard to skilfully master the art of the sawing motion needed to cut up raw vegetables.

"Children are determined and their success boosts their confidence and self-esteem."

Identifying where the pre-school can improve, the inspector said: "Staff have supervision meetings and receive support and guidance. However, the training and performance feedback they receive are not specific enough to improve their skills and knowledge further.

"Consequently, there are some inconsistencies in the quality of education. For instance, staff do not always consider how they can include children's next steps within free-choice activities. This means that not all learning opportunities build on what children already know and can do."