'Exemplary' pre-school near Northampton graded 'outstanding' in all areas by Ofsted

A pre-school near Northampton where children play with the freedom to enjoy their own interests has been graded outstanding in all areas in their first inspection by Ofsted.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 2:37 pm
The children at Little Acorns Pre-School were praised by inspectors for their "exemplary behaviour".

After waiting 30 months for its first visit Little Acorns Pre-School, based in Moulton Community Centre, has been given top marks by the education watchdog.

In a glowing report published on January 10, inspectors praised children's "exemplary" behaviour and staff's willingness to let youngsters steer what they learned about.

Manager Rachael Egleton told the Chronicle & Echo: "We're really pleased with what the inspectors found and the support we've had from parents.

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"It was our first inspection since we opened in 2017 so you don't know what to expect. But we set a benchmark that we would get a "good" rating at least - so this is an amazing result."

The report poured praise on how children were free to explore their own interests while playing and how staff would listen to their games so they could steer their learning.

As an example, inspectors pointed to how staff saw a group of children drawing wiggly lines on the pavement and expanded it into a search for worms in the garden and a spontaneous "wiggly worms" song.

In another case, children created a "roadway" in the play area outdoors and staff helped children to learn the importance of road safety by getting involved with command words like stop and go.

The report reads: "Children happily focus attention on their play and learning with great enthusiasm. Staff have extremely high expectations for all children. Children's behaviour is exemplary.

"Staff are very perceptive and use this skill to observe children's interests to extend their learning. The high-quality levels of teaching are based on what children know and can do, and what they could usefully learn next."

The pre-school in Moulton is the second branch of the Little Acorns provide set up by Rebecca Burnage and Jo Bailey, who have an existing site in Brixworth that is also rated "outstanding".

Rachael said: "We have an early years advisor from the county council, Lisa Bigley. At a time when the county council is struggling with cuts I can't understate how helpful she has been to us."