Pre-school which suffered theft by former treasurer receives outstanding Ofsted rating

Neatishead and Barton Pre-school has been rated outstanding by Ofsted. Picture: Charlotte Drew

Neatishead and Barton Pre-school has been rated outstanding by Ofsted. Picture: Charlotte Drew - Credit: Charlotte Drew

A Norfolk pre-school which had thousands of pounds stolen from it by a former treasurer has bounced back to receive a top rating from education watchdogs.

Neatishead and Barton Pre-school has had its Ofsted rating raised from good to outstanding following a visit from inspectors, who said children 'flourished' and 'made rapid progress' during their time at the 'small and friendly' school.

The pre-school was embroiled in scandal last autumn when Kelly Jones, its 35-year-old former treasurer, admitted theft from the school over a two-year period between 2014 and 2016 during an appearance at Norwich Crown Court.

At the time bosses at the pre-school accused Jones – who took as much as £18,000 – of 'stealing from our children'.

But it has recovered in remarkable fashion from the court saga to achieve the highest rating from Ofsted following its last inspection in July.

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Inspector Helen Hyett said the pre-school's manager provided 'strong leadership' for staff and used her teaching qualification to model 'highly effective teaching strategies', which led to 'extremely good' teaching in literacy and mathematics.

'Staff thoroughly understand how children learn and have very high expectations of what each child can achieve.'

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The inspection report said the children's behaviour was 'excellent' and their listening 'perceptive', adding that additional funds were 'spent very well to help all children thrive'.

It said parents were keen to praise the school's strengths and reported they were 'very impressed' with staff.

Neatishead and Barton Pre-school currently has 15 pupils but can take more than 20 at peak times of the year.

School chairman Charlotte Drew said the success was particularly significant for the volunteer-run school.

'We have excellent staff who have thrived considering all the problems we have had and they bore with us as we went through the difficulties,' she said.

'We are thrilled with the results and thrilled for the children.

'We are a small rural pre-school and our numbers are limited because of our location so the fact that our staff can still produce such fantastic results and achieve such great learning results for the kids makes us very proud.'

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