Playgroup issues complaint about Ofsted report


Playgroup managers have made an official complaint to Ofsted about their latest report.

Shekinah Playgroup was rated ‘requires improvement’ following an inspection on May 5 – but managers said they disagreed "with some of their findings”.

Their view was echoed by a parent, who described the playgroup as a “home-from-home” for her children.

Shekinah, which is based at the Baptist Church, in Western Road, had been rated ‘good’ following the previous inspection in June 2015.

While two categories – the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and the outcomes for children – maintained that rating, the personal development, behaviour and welfare of children was rated ‘requires improvement’, as was the effectiveness of the leadership and management.

In her report, inspector Hannah Barter raised the issue of children’s behaviour, saying staff did not know how to respond to “negative behaviour” and did not have the ability to teach youngsters how to behave appropriately.

Ms Barter gave examples of “inappropriate” behaviour in her report, stating: “For example, when staff tell children to sit and listen to the story, they kick and hit a staff member while other children ignore staff and walk away.”

Her findings were not supported by parent Sarah Pandit, whose four-year-old daughter and three-year-old son attend Shekinah.

She said: “It’s a home-from-home setting. The staff are friendly and brilliant with the kids and I think the report is totally inaccurate. It’s such a friendly place.

“My daughter has just turned four and she’s learned to read quite well. It’s definitely down to the nursery.”

Ms Pandit said staff at Shekinah were “absolutely devastated” by the report and added: “They are family to us. They are lovely people and the children are all happy there.”

Looking at the playgroup’s strengths, Ms Barter said all children made good progress.

Staff were seen to provide them with an “interesting environment”, arranging activities that grasped their imaginations and engaged them in learning.

A playgroup spokesman said: “We have made an official complaint about the report and Ofsted are looking into it.

"The original report we received was full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors as well as inaccuracies and contradictions.

"The report has been rewritten by Ofsted to correct their errors, but is still the subject of the complaint as we disagree with some of their findings.”

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