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'Inadequate' playgroup vows to make rapid improvements

Forncett Village Hall, where Forncett Playgroup is based. The playgroup has had its Ofsted rating dropped from 'good' to 'inadequate' after a recent inspection. Picture: Google Maps

Forncett Village Hall, where Forncett Playgroup is based. The playgroup has had its Ofsted rating dropped from 'good' to 'inadequate' after a recent inspection. Picture: Google Maps

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Leaders at a playgroup where children are not challenged to learn say they are already working to address inspectors' concerns.

Little Tractors Playgroup, in Forncett St Mary near Long Stratton, saw its Ofsted rating drop from “good” to “inadequate” following an inspection in November which found a string of failures.

The inspection report said children were “often left to play on their own” while staff “do not see when children put themselves in risky situations” such as climbing on chairs.

The playgroup said it was aware there were “areas that needed improving” and that a plan has been put in place to address the issues.

The report said staff at the playgroup “target their teaching” towards the needs of older children, often leaving younger members of the group behind. It said: “Young children and those who are new to the playgroup do not receive equally challenging opportunities. Staff do not place a strong enough focus on supporting young children’s social and emotional development or encourage them to engage in activities.”

The report said the playgroup’s management committee “does not have a secure understanding of their role and responsibilities” which had resulted, among other things, in “ineffective” safeguarding and poor staff performance management.

But the inspector did note the efforts made by staff to promote healthy eating for the children, in partnership with parents, and that children had developed a “sense of responsibility”, readily helping with tasks such as preparing for snack times or tidying away toys.

Melissa Large, chairman of Little Tractors Playgroup, said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the results but the staff and committee are committed to bringing that rating back up to where it should be.

“There have been a number of changes in leadership over the last 18 months so it has been difficult to keep continuity, but we have recruited a new leader who started on Thursday.

“We have held meetings and put an action plan in place so we are confident moving forward that we will improve.”

Forncett Playgroup currently has 23 children on its roll aged two to four and provides daytime sessions during school term time.

Its previous Ofsted report, published in October 2015, rated the playgroup “good” in all areas.

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