Playgroup shows good improvement

Playgroup manager Sandra Hardy with Poppy Hagan, Poppy Luxton, Reuben Lomax-Aspden and Emile Mathias. Picture: OX64615 Antony Moore

Playgroup manager Sandra Hardy with Poppy Hagan, Poppy Luxton, Reuben Lomax-Aspden and Emile Mathias. Picture: OX64615 Antony Moore Buy this photo

First published in The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter, also covering West Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425437

A PLAYGROUP which had been described as inadequate by Ofsted inspectors has now been told it is good.

Donnington Playgroup was re-registered with the Donnington Doorstep Family Centre as its new provider last summer after the damning report.

It was previously run by a charity but it was taken over by the centre and in its first visit by Ofsted under the new provider it was praised in all areas of inspection.

The centre, in Townsend Square, which now looks after 19 children, was told in a report published on Friday: “Children play in a rich and stimulating environment that offers plenty of variety, interest and enjoyment. Staff demonstrate a confident knowledge and understanding of child development and are effective in supporting children to progress well in all areas.”

Inspectors visited the playgroup on December 12.

The report, by inspector Sue Skinner said: “Children are happy as they play and learn in the large outside space. They extend their understanding of the natural world as adults provide exciting opportunities for them to make dens using branches and twigs.”

It added: “Children at the playgroup are safe and well protected.

“The provider, manager and staff have a good understanding of their responsibilities regarding the safeguarding and welfare requirements.”

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Sandra Hardy, who was appointed playgroup and early years manager in July, said they were extremely pleased.

She said: “The whole centre has been revamped and is now being run by Donnington Doorstep Centre.

“We have got a whole new staff team, brand and setting. We have no connection to the old setting. I describe it as a new playgroup in old walls.”

Mrs Hardy added: “For the last six months we have been working very hard to make sure we are doing well.

“We really started from scratch around June to be ready for Ofsted inspectors any time after September; we knew they would be due after then.

“Things can only get better from here and we are so proud and pleased that in such a short space of time we have achieved so much.”

The playgroup had been criticised when Ofsted visited in March last year, for failing to keep the regulator informed about management changes, and for assessment systems which did not enable cover staff to plan consistently for children’s individual needs.

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