Lancaster University Pre-School Centre gains third ‘outstanding’ Ofsted inspection in a row

Staff and pupils at Lancaster University pre-school celebrate their Ofsted. Photo by Ben Bibby.
Staff and pupils at Lancaster University pre-school celebrate their Ofsted. Photo by Ben Bibby.

Staff and pupils at Lancaster University’s pre-school centre have been celebrating their third successive Outstanding Ofsted.

The centre, which cares for 220 children from babies to four years old, passed with flying colours – for the third time in a row – after a recent inspection.

Lancaster University pre-school. Photo by Ben Bibby.

Lancaster University pre-school. Photo by Ben Bibby.

The report singles out the ‘infectiously enthusiastic’ and ‘extremely knowledgeable’ staff and refers to ‘extremely happy and confident children’.

Highlighted as ‘outstanding’ weren the effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare, and outcomes for children.

There was also praise for the highly qualified and experienced management team for their clear vision and exceptional hard work to achieve the vision.

“Roles and responsibilities are clear and deeply embedded, allowing the staff team to carry out the day-to-day running extremely confidently,” said inspector Vicky Armstrong.

Lancaster University pre-school. Photo by Ben Bibby.

Lancaster University pre-school. Photo by Ben Bibby.

The highly qualified and well-experienced staff actively challenged stereotypical ideals and all children developed a ‘can-do’ attitude as they tried new things.

“Partnerships with parents are exemplary,” added the inspector. “A variety of communication methods are used. This ensures parents are fully informed about their child’s progress and emotional well-being on a daily basis. Skilful staff ensure that they communicate with families according to their needs.”

The inspector added the children were extremely well prepared for transition both within the pre-school setting and when they moved on to school.

Within the centre, transition was gradual and particularly child-led.

Staff and pupils at Lancaster University pre-school celebrate their Ofsted. Photo by Ben Bibby.

Staff and pupils at Lancaster University pre-school celebrate their Ofsted. Photo by Ben Bibby.

Staff had exceptional links with local schools and worked closely with teachers to ensure they prepared children with the skills needed.

They ensured parents and children were fully informed and knew what to expect when they moved on to the next stage.

The report said children had access to a superb outdoor area, which allowed staff to provide an extensive variety of interesting and exciting activities.

Head of commercial services at Lancaster University, Jo Hardman, said: “One of our missions at Lancaster is to deliver excellent education across the board and this commitment extends to the children who attend our Pre-School Centre.

“The staff there are absolutely dedicated to providing the best possible experience for the children.

“They work closely with parents to make sure every child learns and develops in the right way for them. Their work is outstanding, and it is wonderful that Ofsted recognise this. Well done to the whole team!”

The Pre-School Centre, registered in 1992, is located within purpose-built premises on the university campus in Lancaster and is managed by Lancaster University.

It serves the university staff and students and employs 51 members of staff.

All childcare staff hold appropriate early years qualifications from level 3 to level 6.

The manager and a number of staff hold ‘early years’ professional status.

The centre is open Monday to Friday from 8.15am until 6pm, all year round.

In 2018 the Pre-School Centre was awarded the National Day Nurseries Association Nursery of the Year (North) award.

And, this year, the staff received an Outstanding Contribution award at the university’s own annual staff awards.