Crossways playgroup responds to Ofsted 'inadequate'

Crossways playgroup responds to Ofsted 'inadequate'

Published by George Sharpe at 11:28am 12th June 2019.

The council says they could lose funding.

A VILLAGE playgroup, judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, has appealed the decision and made a complaint to Dorset Council about how its Early Years service responded to the report.

In a statement to parents Crossways Playgroup administrator, Andrew Brewer says: “We do not accept the report’s findings that the setting is ‘inadequate’ and we have already lodged a complaint/appeal with Ofsted. In addition we have made a complaint to Dorset Council about the way Dorset Early Years have treated both the setting and our staff. In particular their insistence that the setting close last Wednesday causing great inconvenience to parents and disappointment to the children…We have checked the legality with solicitors who work for the Pre School Learning Alliance of which we are members.“

Mr Brewer refutes one of the key claims in the Ofsted report which said that the child safeguarding and staff recruitment procedures were not being followed. He says the playgroup has not recruited staff for many years : “Both agencies have confused contracted staff members with ‘bank’ staff. Both are checked but only appointed staff go through a vetting process. We have not appointed a member of staff for several years and so the process was not applicable in this case. Bank staff are checked for safeguarding purposes the same as relief/cover/supply teachers in our schools. All of this is detailed in the Playgroup’s policies which were up to date and available."

The letter to parents also says that the inspector arrived late because of travel problems and as a result was unable to speak to parents in the morning to get their views of the service provided.
“At the end of the day we remain committed to continue to provide the childcare that is best for your children. Please feel free to ask any of us about these matters. All feedback is important to us and can be kept on file for future correspondence with Ofsted,” said Mr Brewer.

The playgroup is run by a committee and receives funding to provide free early years education for children aged two, three and four years.

Local councillor Nick Ireland has backed the playgroup which he says has been working with Early Years to improve and had expected, on their advice, to get a ‘good’ rating: “The playgroup has appealed the decision, but Ofsted still published its report and the council may have to withdraw funding because of the decision.

“Without the funding from Early Years, the playgroup could close.”

Dorset education and early help briefholder, Cllr Andrew Parry, says a decision about continued funding for the playgroup will be made ‘within a week, or so’: “Our advisors have been working with the playgroup to try and help them improve and we’ll continue to support them,” he said.
Said Mr Brewer on Tuesday: “As the matter is likely to go into the hands of the legal team at the Pre School Learning Alliance it is probably not appropriate to make any public comment.”

By Local Democracy Reporter, Trevor Bevins 

The Wessex FM Newsletter


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