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Army preschool where children 'do not feel secure' rated inadequate

PUBLISHED: 16:10 28 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 28 January 2019

Noah's Ark Preschool, based at Robertson Barracks, in Swanton Morley, has been rated inadequate after inspectors found some children “struggle to settle and do not feel secure”. Photo: GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Noah's Ark Preschool, based at Robertson Barracks, in Swanton Morley, has been rated inadequate after inspectors found some children “struggle to settle and do not feel secure”. Photo: GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Archant

An “inconsistent” preschool at a Norfolk army barracks has been rated inadequate after inspectors found some children “struggle to settle and do not feel secure”.

Noah’s Ark Preschool, in Swanton Morley, fell from an overall good rating to inadequate across the board, after a visit from Ofsted inspectors earlier this month.

Inspectors said: “Younger children are frequently overwhelmed by the size of the room that they share with older children.

“Some younger children struggle to settle and do not feel secure. Some children remain upset for the whole session.”

But the committee chairman said they were working with the council to make improvements to the school, based at the Robertson Barracks, near Dereham.

The preschool cares for 11 children aged between one and three, in “one large room”.

Inspectors visited on Tuesday, January 8, following a gap of more than four years since the last inspection, in November 2014, when 30 children were enrolled.

They said the preschool was inadequate in all four areas of assessment: leadership and management; teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare; and children’s outcomes.

The report, published on Monday, January 28, found staff were not teaching effectively or adapting activities to challenge older children; teaching quality was “inconsistent” and staff did not have regular supervision.

But inspectors also found “positive steps” had been taken, such as appointing a new manager who was two days into post with “a comprehensive action plan”.

They also found parents were happy with the service, and kept fully informed about learning.

And the report said staff had “genuine care and concern” for the children and “readily comfort them when they are upset”.

Captain Jason Davies, welfare officer for the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, said: “We have had the Ofsted judgement and we are working with the local authority.

“We have got a lot of help, and individuals assigned to us, and we are very much looking forward to changing the grade for the better.”

Capt Davies, also the chairman of the preschool’s committee, said: “It is on a military base so our numbers do fluctuate.”

And he described the school’s new manager as “enthusiastic” and said: “She is planning to make the site a better place.”

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