INSPECTORS have branded a pre-school “inadequate” despite being full of praise for the quality of education it provides.

Ofsted published its findings last week following a visit to Puddleducks Pre-school, in Recreation Road, Colchester, last month.

The service was deemed inadequate overall after the inspector raised concerns over its leadership and management and in the area of personal development.

Behaviour, attitudes, and the quality of education were, however, rated as “good”.

Gazette: Ofsted visited Puddleducks Pre-schoolOfsted visited Puddleducks Pre-school

Outlining their concerns, Ofsted inspector Stef Montgomery noted that “children’s safety could not be assured” because of a lack of in-depth safeguarding knowledge among staff.

The report continued: “Managers do not monitor or identify gaps in staff's knowledge to keep children safe from abuse, nor do they provide sufficient training for staff to raise their understanding of how to keep children safe from abuse.

“Staff do, however, understand the process to report any concerns they may have about a child or a member of staff.”

The pre-school was praised for offering a “good, child-led curriculum” which focuses on “children’s emerging interests”.

The inspector observed children developing their early mathematical and writing skills and said that parents speak highly of the staff.

A spokesperson for the pre-school said: “We are working hard with our early years education partner to improve this grading and have an action plan in place to support staff to further their knowledge and understanding of female genital mutilation, radicalisation, and exploitation, including the signs and symptoms that children may be at risk.

“We have provided high quality care and education for the children of families in the community of New Town for the past 28 years, within a safe and stimulating environment, meeting children’s individual needs and we will continue to do this to the best of our ability.”

Staff also thanked parents who contacted the pre-school with messages of support following the inspection.

The childcare provider has been given until the end of this month to train its staff on safeguarding measures.

It was the facility’s first inspection since the Covid pandemic. It received an overall rating of good at two previous inspections in 2017 and 2014.