Three cheers for pre-school success

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It’s three cheers for a Southwater pre-school as it celebrates a hat-trick of ‘outstanding’ Ofsted reports in the space of 12 years.

Heather Clarke, manager of Southwater Village Hall Pre-school in Church Lane, said she was proud to receive the rating. The pre-school is now being used as one of ten examples nationally for ‘getting it right first time.’

JPCT 090713 S13281334x Southwater Pre School, good Ofsted results -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 090713 S13281334x Southwater Pre School, good Ofsted results -photo by Steve Cobb

“It does take a lot of hard work and as it says in the report, it doesn’t happen like magic,” explained Heather.

“It’s a team effort and is really down to the dedication of staff and them going above and beyond their hours that they’re paid to do. I’m really proud.”

The report by Ofsted, which was published on July 3, states that high-quality teaching and interaction with children is the cornerstone of the pre-school’s success.

It said: “Outstanding provision is difficult to achieve, and just as challenging to sustain. This is all the more challenging where committee-run groups have regular changes in leadership and share use of the premises. Southwater Village Hall Pre-School shows it can be done.”

JPCT 090713 S13281365x Southwater Pre School, good Ofsted results -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 090713 S13281365x Southwater Pre School, good Ofsted results -photo by Steve Cobb

Secretary of the pre-school committeee Claire Copleston puts the pre-school’s success down to the multiple learning techniques it has.

She said: “It’s a great achievement and I think it’s all down to Heather and her dedication.

“I think the variety and making things real for the children like using real money in the cafe, the real china cups and real fruit and vegetables is something the children really enjoy.”

Damian and Clare Barker took their triplets Oliver, Zac and Megan on a taster day on Tuesday, July 9, before hoping to enrol them at the pre-school in September.

Clare said: “We’ve just moved back from Dubai and researched on the internet and saw they got Ofsted ‘outstanding’ and a really good reputation. I’m so excited.”

The pre-school relies heavily on donations and currently has 94 children enrolled and can have up to 84 pass through its doors in a day.

It also operates a pack-away setting transforming the village hall into two classrooms, office and garden area.

But despite the three consecutive achievements, manager Heather still hopes to continue to improve. She said: “I think it’s the passion, our love for children and that we’re always willing to try new things.

“With new children coming in September we will have to look at new and innovative things for those children.

“I’ve been here 17 years and manager for 12 and I love what I do.”