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Magpie Pre-School in Boughton-under-Blean, between Canterbury and Faversham, given 'inadequate' Ofsted rating

A "chaotic" pre-school has been ordered to improve after inspectors found children were at risk of choking.

Ofsted discovered some youngsters wandering around "aimlessly unnoticed" by staff during an inspection of the Magpie Pre-School in Boughton-under-Blean, between Canterbury and Faversham.

The pre-school has an inadequate rating
The pre-school has an inadequate rating

The damning report also revealed some parts of the day were "chaotic", with children seen standing on chairs for some time before staff noticed.

An inspector gave the pre-school an inadequate rating – the lowest possible – and urged bosses to make improvements.

"Staff carry out risk assessments but these are not effective in ensuring and maintaining children's safety," it states.

"Following a recent incident, the provider has made some adaptations to the security of the garden.

"However, this has not been fully effective, and hazards still remain. Children also leave the snack table unnoticed and wander with food in their mouths, which poses a risk of choking.

"Some parts of the day are chaotic, and staff do not meet the needs of all children."

"Children stand on chairs for some time before staff notice. These aspects do not meet children's welfare and safety needs."

An inspector from the education watchdog visited the pre-school – which looks after youngsters aged between two and four – on May 10, with the report published last month.

Children were found to enjoy playing and exploring in the garden, "show delight" as they dig in the sand and make sandcastles and enjoy reading the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

"All children are included in this as they share out the items in the story," the report says.

"However, some parts of the day are chaotic, and staff do not meet the needs of all children.

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"Also, staff do not support children's understanding of listening to others, which inhibits them in learning skills for the future."

Inspectors identified key times of the day, such as circle times and transitions around lunchtimes, when "staff do not plan well enough".

"Subsequently, children struggle to hear the staff and the noise level continually rises," the report adds.

"This hinders children's social development and listening skills."

But the inspector found children have opportunities to develop their small- and large-muscle skills and are encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyles.

They also found partnerships with parents are good and the manager is supportive of her staff team – providing "regular opportunities to enhance their well-being and develop their professionalism".

A spokesman for Magpie Pre-school said: "We are disappointed with the recent Ofsted report, whilst at the same time, encouraged by the overwhelming support from our parents and carers who have reassured us that they and their children are very happy to be at Magpies.

"We accept and embrace the advice and guidance we have received since the inspection and are working as a team to make all necessary improvements to improve our rating to where we know it ought to be – Good."

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