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Cold Ash Pre-school retains 'outstanding' status

Children 'exceptionally well-prepared for the next stage in their learning'

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886633

Cold Ash Pre-school retains 'outstanding' status

COLD Ash Pre-school is celebrating its second outstanding Ofsted rating in four years.  

The pre-school, based at the Acland Hall was inspected in July and judged ‘outstanding’ in every area.

This included outcomes for children who attend it, their personal development, behaviour and welfare, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the setting.

The outstanding result matches the pre-school’s level from 2015.  

Pre-school leader Candice Kilbane said: “We are so thrilled for everyone involved with the pre-school that we have achieved this result for the second time.

“The pre-school team has spent the time since the previous inspection continuously striving to be the best that we can be and to give the children who come to us the care and opportunities they need to develop their creativity, resilience and willingness to have a go.

“This time in a child’s life and education is so important.

“It’s the time when they’re working out how they feel about learning and it’s our job and our privilege to inspire, challenge and learn with them.”

Ofsted said that children at the pre-school were “exceptionally well prepared for the next stage in their learning” and those with special needs or disabilities promptly received additional help.

Teaching was found to be “consistently receptive, imaginative and pitched at just the right level to challenge the thinking and creativity of each child”. 

“Highly observant staff” also knew when to use positive approaches to social challenges and when to give children the opportunity to practice their skills.

Safeguarding was also found to be effective. 

Inspectors said that the parent committee had made “a massive contribution” to improvements, which had helped staff to deliver new ways of inspiring children.

The report praised pre-school leader Mrs Kilbane, describing her as a “highly qualified, enthusiastic and inspirational teacher”.

Chairwoman of the management committee Sharon Moore said: “This is the highest grade awarded by Ofsted and is a truly massive achievement.

“Our last rating in 2015 was outstanding, but Ofsted has raised the bar since then so to maintain our outstanding status is remarkable.

“This brilliant result is due to a fantastic team effort, the hard work of all the staff led by the inspirational Candice, Clare’s excellent administration skills, the committee’s dedication and perseverance and all the contributions that all of our families make to the pre-school.”

The pre-school started life as a playgroup in 1970.

It re-registered in 2019 to form a legal entity as a charitable incorporated organisation.

The pre-school employs eight teaching staff, one administrator and is governed by a management committee of volunteer parents from Cold Ash and the surrounding area.

It is funded by West Berkshire Council as children aged three and four are entitled to 15 hours a week free pre-school education.

To improve, Ofsted said that the pre-school needed to “extend the excellent outdoor pursuits already in place to further encourage children to take even more responsibility for caring for the world around them”.

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