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Kidderminster pre-school to close after 'inadequate' Ofsted report
7:00am Monday 20th January 2014 in Local
A KIDDERMINSTER pre-school is to close after a damning Ofsted report prompted authorities to withdraw funding.
Staff at St Ambrose Pre-School are "devastated" by the report, which ruled the nursery inadequate in December.
Manager Sharon Kennedy said the pre-school was already in financial difficulties and the recent Ofsted report was the "straw that broke the camel’s back."
The pre-school, which is committee-run, is based in a self-contained building in St Ambrose Roman Catholic Primary School.
Its nursery education funding from Worcestershire County Council will be withdrawn from Wednesday, February 5 and the pre-school will be using its remaining funds before closing on Friday, March 28.
Ms Kennedy said in a statement: "St Ambrose Pre-school staff were devastated by our recent Ofsted inspection judgment. Our parents are our best critics and we have been overwhelmed by their support.
"The school [St Ambrose Primary School] are looking in to the possibility of a new provision although this is only in the planning stage.
"The school are understandably cautious as they will be affected by the same financial constraints that affected the current pre-school."
Parents have praised staff and expressed sadness about the closure as they say it is the only Roman Catholic pre-school in the area.
The Ofsted report, which was published on December 11, said that children's safety is "compromised" as "risk assessments are ineffective" and staff do not have a "secure knowledge of safeguarding procedure relation to the use of mobile phones".
It also stated that the "quality of teaching is poor" and "children are not always engaged in their learning".
The pre-school sent out a letter to parents before Christmas responding to the criticisms which said: "We feel our strengths and dedication to the children’s development may have been overlooked by the Ofsted inspector, who instead criticised areas which were in some part beyond our control."
Parent Kate Brazil said: "I moved my eldest daughter from Blakedown to St Ambrose Pre-School and she just thrived. My youngest is there now, she's also thrived. Us parents are completely dumbfounded by this Ofsted inspection.
"It's a Roman Catholic pre-school and as far as I'm aware, I don't know any where else that has one in the area."
She also told The Shuttle that if parents had known about the financial difficulties, she was sure some would have been able to offer support.
The letter to parents added that it was also a "traumatic time" for the staff, all of which will lose their jobs at the end of March with many having worked there for 20 or more years.
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