A NURSERY has been rated as ‘inadequate’ after fears were raised over children’s welfare in an inspection by Ofsted.

Shepherds Spring Nursery and Pre-School, in Smannell Road, was inspected by the education watchdog on August 6 after it received concerns about the safeguarding and welfare of children.

Ofsted enforced action on the provider to implement a system to ensure all staff have clear understanding of what they must do and to make sure that staff supervision is implemented and effective.

During a visit on September 3, inspectors noted that the nursery had undertaken action following the welfare notices.

But in a report published on September 19, inspectors noted that despite staff completing safeguarding training, many were not clear about the process to follow if they have concerns about a child’s welfare.

The report added: “A system to monitor staff practice and provide coaching and support to staff has been implemented by the new acting management. However, it is too early to recognise the impact of this on staff retention and the quality of teaching.”

But inspectors also raised concerns that children were not undergoing a challenging experience, with youngsters not making enough progress.

“Staff do not always plan how to extend activities effectively. Staff miss opportunities, for example, to challenge older children’s interests to enable them to use their knowledge and skills in different ways.”

“Pre-school children quickly lose interest and stand around aimlessly at times.”

It added that older children often “look bored and are not inspired or encouraged enough to participate in activities and further develop their skills. This does not help prepare them for their eventual move on to school.”

Inspectors said that outdoor activities did not “sufficiently challenge” the physical abilities of the older children.

However, the nursery was praised for how staff talked to and encouraged babies to play, and its action to address gaps in children’s learning, adding: “Staff work in partnership with a range of professionals to meet the needs of specific children.”

Inspectors also commented that children enjoy freshly cooked nutritious meals and are encouraged to use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and join in social conversation at the table.

A spokesman for the nursery and pre-school said: “There have been managerial and trustee changes to the setting since the Ofsted inspection in February 2018. Since then, there have been notable improvements at the setting. We are working hard to address the Ofsted actions for improvement, with support from Hampshire County Council’s services for young children teams.

“The leadership and management team and trustees at Shepherds Spring Pre-school and Nursery are encouraged that Ofsted have confirmed we have met the welfare requirements appropriately, following an unannounced visit earlier this month; and we are therefore confident that we are on the right track to achieving a ‘good’ rating in the near future.

“The management, trustees and childcare practitioners are continuing to work together to ensure that the children in our care are safe and have the best possible chance in developing the skills they need to succeed in life.

“In addition to this, we continue to develop a partnership based on trust with the parents so that together we nurture their child to enable them to reach their individual goals.”