A PRE-SCHOOL has been heavily criticised after inspectors rated it as inadequate for the second time in six months.

Ofsted raised an array of concerns over the operation at 345 Preschool in Alresford.

In the most recent visit to the pre-school in July, inspector Melissa Cox found safeguarding was not effective, children’s safety and welfare was not assured and gaps in children’s progress were not closed quickly enough.

She said the committee of the school had a weak knowledge of recruitment procedures and failed to assure the suitability of new staff.

Ms Cox’s report says: “This poses a risk to children, particularly as new staff are left with children unsupervised, including in the toilet area.”

It adds: “On the day of the inspection, an unchecked member of staff took a group of children into a side room and led an activity unsupervised. Leaders were unaware that her suitability had not been assured by the committee.”

The inspector noted that the new manager since the previous inspection in January had used her experience to guide staff on how best to support children’s learning.

The quality of teaching was described as variable, with activities and experiences “not stimulating or challenging enough to enable them to reach their full potential in all areas of their learning”, Ms Cox said.

345 Preschool was first registered in 1989 and operates Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from Alresford Methodist Church Hall in Jacklyns Lane for up to 26 children.

Ofsted set a series of requirements the operation must implement to address issues, with a deadline of September 23.

“Recent changes in leadership, including to the nominated individual of the committee and the manager, have led to a setback in addressing the actions set at the last inspection,” said Ms Cox’s report. “New leaders are unprepared for their roles and further breaches of requirements are identified at this inspection that have a negative impact on children’s safety.

“The registered committee, which is the provider, does not ensure the suitability of temporary staff. In addition, it has not provided an effective induction for the new manager to ensure she has the necessary knowledge and skills to fulfil her role.”

A statement from 345 Preschool committee chair Lisa Green said: “While we are naturally disappointed by the outcome of this report, the newly appointed leadership, along with staff are working incredibly hard towards a positive outcome at the next Ofsted inspection.

“The Preschool has experienced a significant period of change over recent months, and we are excited to begin the new academic year, welcoming many returning children as well as new families to 345. We are working very hard to meet all the requirements that Ofsted have set and we look forward to introducing new facilities and activities which will benefit all of our children. 345 remain committed to making the change needed to ensure the Preschool continues to grow and develop.”

Ofsted will carry out an inspection within six months of their most recent visit to reassess the preschool, which will be January 2020.