Northampton playgroup slips from one of town's best rated nurseries to 'requires improvement' in new report

Noah's Ark Playgroup has come up short in its most recent inspection by Ofsted.
Noah's Ark Playgroup has come up short in its most recent inspection by Ofsted.

A Northampton nursery that was once in the running for "pre-school of the year" has come up short in a new inspection.

In 2015, Noah's Ark Playgroup was awarded the highest grade available by Ofsted when it was ranked as "outstanding" in every area.

The watchdog praised the school for its "exceptional range of activities" for its children with "outstanding teaching" from staff during play.

But now, four years later, the nursery in St Crispin's Drive has slipped in its newest inspection and has been marked down as "requires improvement" in every area.

The new report, based on an inspection in July and published last week, reads: "Due to inconsistencies in teaching, not all children make the progress of which they are capable.

"Although over half the staff are qualified, they do not always use their skills to help children to develop.

"At times, staff interactions do not help children to learn. For example, as children build with blocks staff rarely speak to children. When staff do speak, they ask questions that children can answer easily."

Additionally, Ofsted were critical of how the nursery had not kept them up to date on changes to its staff, and said this meant their safeguarding was not as effective as it could be.

However, the watchdog was impressed by the nursery's well-behaved and independent children and complimented staff for regularly praising the toddlers' achievements.

Ofsted also remarked that Noah's Ark had an effective SEND provision - but cautioned that lapses in teaching and a lack of challenging activities meant some children were not developing as well as they could.

Noah's Ark - which operates on the same site as St Luke's CEVA Primary School and was a finalist in 2017 for Nursery World's Pre School of the Year award - was ordered by Ofsted to improve its understanding of safeguarding and to work on challenging their children more regularly.