Shilbottle pre-school is top of the class

Youngsters at the Friendly Frogs pre-school with deputy manager Nicola Rutherford and manager Christine Cocker. 'Picture by Jane Coltman
Youngsters at the Friendly Frogs pre-school with deputy manager Nicola Rutherford and manager Christine Cocker. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

Delighted staff and children at a village pre-school are celebrating after chalking up top marks from Ofsted.

Friendly Frog Pre-School, in Shilbottle, has been rated outstanding in all areas, following an inspection earlier this month.

It is the second time in a row that the centre, based at Shibottle County First School, has scored the best grade possible, after a similarly impressive performance in 2011.

The glowing report praises the children’s behaviour, the quality of teaching and the positive atmosphere at the site, among other things.

Pre-school manager Christine Cocker said: “We are delighted and over the moon with the report.

“The staff work really hard and it is nice to have recognition for all of the hard work. I am very proud of the staff, they are a fantastic team.

“We were delighted to be rated as outstanding in 2011, so to be able to maintain that standard and be rated outstanding for the second time in a row is absolutely fantastic.”

In her report, inspector Katie Sparrow said that the children have an ‘excellent time in the visually stimulating and highly enabling learning environment’ and that a ‘highly-skilled staff team’ plan a ‘rich and varied educational programme that excites and intrigues the children’.

She added that parents speak ‘very highly’ of the pre-school and comment on the ‘significant progress their children have made in short periods of time’.

The report also states that the children behave ‘exceptionally well’, they are supervised ‘very well’ and the pre-school is ‘safe and secure’.

The quality of teaching is hailed ‘outstanding’ with staff ‘entirely in tune’ with children’s learning, helping the youngsters be ‘exceptionally well prepared for the next stage of their learning, both emotionally and developmentally’.

The report also praises the staff for working closely with the reception teacher at Shilbottle County First School, adding that the children are ‘highly independent, demonstrate advanced self-care skills and have excellent social skills’.

The leadership and management within the pre-school is described as ‘highly effective’.

The report adds: ‘This excellent commitment to improving practice demonstrates staff’s keen ability to maintain the outstanding provision it offers’.

The report states that to further improve the quality of the early-years provision at Shilbottle, the pre-school should ‘enhance the already excellent partnership with parents by offering more detailed information about how children’s learning can be continued at home’.

Looking to the future, Christine added; “We need to carry on doing what we have been doing to make sure that we maintain the standards we have set.

“Each year, we send out a questionnaire to staff and parents to see what we can do to improve things and we take that feedback on board. It is a case of listening to what they want and what can be done to support that.”