CHILDREN were seen climbing on units, wandering around aimlessly and being told they could not join in with activities by staff at a pre-school which has been graded as “inadequate”.

The damning report published by Ofsted on April 18, following the March inspection, comes less than a year after Pippins Pre-School, in Appleshaw, near Andover, was graded as “requires improvement” by the education watchdog in June 2018.

Despite the pre-school stating on its website that the team has been “working very hard in the background” since the June inspection, the necessary improvements have not been made and the inspector downgraded the rating to the worst category.

Inspector Melissa Cox found that on occasions, unsafe behaviour was left unchallenged, such as children climbing up and balancing on top of wooden play kitchen units.

She added: “In addition, weaknesses in planning adversely affect children’s level of motivation and some children wander aimlessly around the room, hide under tables and fail to engage positively with each other.”

All areas of the pre-school, which opened in 1996, were graded as inadequate including leadership, teaching, personal development, outcomes for children and behaviour.

The report noted a decline in the quality of teaching, planning and general organisation, which it said had a “considerable impact on children's progress and well-being”.

The inspector also found a failure to “robustly check the validity of staff’s qualifications at recruitment” which led to a breach in the qualification requirements.

However, she said the new manager had made some improvements, including “staff identify children’s next steps in learning accurately, although weaknesses in how staff use what they know about children’s learning remain”.

Safeguarding was said to be “effective”.

The inspector found that some staff do not “display enthusiasm to help children learn new skills, and staff do not interact and engage effectively with the children”.

She added: “For example, during a focus activity, staff fail to adapt their interactions to suit the older and younger children present. Older children quickly become bored and their behaviour declines, while younger children move away as the instructions are too complicated for them to understand.”

Children were given some opportunities to develop and improve their independence skills, however, the inspector said these were not inclusive, explaining: “staff turn some children away and tell them that they cannot join in despite there being enough space to accommodate them”.

The inspector found that weaknesses in teaching resulted in “poor outcomes” for children, with the report saying: “Children are not making expected progress in their personal development and do not develop the necessary confidence, understanding of boundaries or required social skills in readiness for school.”

Ofsted found a strength of the pre-school was the basic learning opportunities children received to support their “readiness for school” such as putting on their own coats and wellies for outdoor play.

Pippins, which has 17 children on its roll, has been given various targets in order to meet the requirements of the early year’s foundation stage and Childcare Register.

These include improving staff’s understanding of how to manage children’s behaviour; ensure that qualifications requirements are met at all times; improve the quality of teaching; and plan more effectively. The pre-school has been asked to make these improvements by 5 June this year.

The Andover Advertiser has asked Pippins Pre-School for a comment.