Steeple Morden pre-school regains ‘good’ Ofsted rating

Staff and children of Smarties Pre School in Steeple Morden celebrate a good Ofsted rating. Picture:

Staff and children of Smarties Pre School in Steeple Morden celebrate a good Ofsted rating. Picture: Nick Johns - Credit: Picture: NICK JOHNS

Staff and youngsters at a Steeple Morden pre-school are thrilled to have regained their ‘good’ Ofsted rating.

Smarties Pre School and Out of School Club’s rating went from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ after they were inspected by the schools regulatory body in May 2017.

The Ofsted report cited that “not all staff have a clear understanding of how to safeguard children”, “staff do not receive training or guidance in relation to protecting children on an ongoing basis”, and “the management team does not provide staff with supervisions to identify their individual training needs” among the reasons why.

In September 2017, the rating increased to ‘requires improvement’, and in December that year Ofsted received concerns that Smarties were not meeting the legal requirements in the ‘statutory framework for the early years foundation stage’ and noticed issued a notice to improve.

Since these inspections, the committee and staff have been determined to regain their ‘good’ rating, and have now done so in all four categories in Ofsted’s latest report.

A Smarties spokeswoman said the committee is “so pleased that the efforts of the staff, under the superb guidance of Michelle Wilson – who came in as operations manager in November 2017 – have been recognised”.

Michelle said: “When I joined Smarties I knew the job I had facing me, what I didn’t know was what an amazing, passionate and professional team I inherited. “They had been let down badly by poor management and inadequate training. They saw my vision for the future of smarties and were behind me 100 per cent and more. Smarties has come back better than ever and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

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Michelle’s recruitment saw a change in the staff structure with Rachel Smith and Georgina Dowley taking deputy roles and re-energising the team.

The spokeswoman continued: “The committee has taken great pleasure in watching the confidence and happiness of the team grow and as such know that they are providing a happy atmosphere for the children in their care.

“The inspector noted that: ‘staff know the children well and plan interesting learning experiences’, ‘staff successfully promote children’s language and literacy skills’, ‘Children are treated with respect and benefit from the staff’s gentle and caring approach towards them’, ‘staff are good role models for children and provide a calm and consistent approach when managing children’s behaviour.’

“We are extremely proud of what has been achieved over the last 12 months and the commitment shown by every staff member. It is self-evident that they love Smarties and are passionate about providing a meaningful Early Years’ experience for the children who attend.”

To read the full report go to