Clavering & Arkesden Preschool

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About Clavering & Arkesden Preschool

Name Clavering & Arkesden Preschool
Ofsted Inspections
Address Clavering And Arkesden Preschool, Stortford Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4PE
Phase Childcare on Non-Domestic Premises
Gender Mixed
Local Authority Essex
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this early years setting?

The provision is good

Children benefit from their time at this nurturing pre-school.

Staff create a warm and homely atmosphere where children feel safe and secure. The environment, both indoors and outdoors offers engaging activities for children, who are inquisitive explore independently. They have the time and space they need to discover, try out and revisit their ideas.

For example, children work together and take turns when completing floor puzzles. They listen to each other about where they think the puzzle pieces may fit. This demonstrates children's perseverance and determination.

Children are excited and motivated to learn.... They enjoy getting ready for outdoor play and demonstrate their independence as they put on their coats and wellington boots. They make the most of being outside as they explore nature during forest school sessions.

They search for sticks, stones and feathers to build bird's nests. Staff weave mathematical concepts into their discussions as they plan the nests' size and shape. Children behave very well.

They develop positive relationships with staff who they seek out for reassurance and comfort. Staff plan activities that teach children to understand and identify their emotions. Children confidently talk about what makes them feel happy, sad and nervous.

They say they 'smile when they are happy'.

What does the early years setting do well and what does it need to do better?

The curriculum is broad and balanced. Children make good progress in all areas of learning.

The well-designed environment encourages children to become independent learners, who are curious and imaginative. The effective key-person system ensures that staff know children well and can identify their next steps of development accurately.The newly appointed manager is ambitious and inspiring.

She is motivated to implement positive change and identifies areas for future development. She places high value on the well-established team, and uses their knowledge and skills effectively. The manager has developed an effective working relationship with the committee, who support her well in her new role.

Staff are highly motivated to provide all children with the best opportunities to flourish. They are keen to continue to learn and update their knowledge. For example, staff have recently expressed a desire to progress their understanding of special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Staff work closely with parents and other professionals to ensure that children with SEND are well supported.Daily routines promote a child-led approach to teaching and learning. However, routine times of the day sometimes interrupt children's play and engagement.

Staff do not always consider the needs of children who are not yet ready for longer periods of concentration. For example, children wait for extended periods of time before they are called to come for snack.Children are developing a love of literacy.

They sing songs, join in nursery rhymes and enjoy cuddles as they listen to stories. Children have fun exploring the texture of dough. They roll and manipulate the dough, which helps to strengthen the small muscles in their hands in readiness for their early writing.

Children are becoming confident communicators. As they build vehicles with construction blocks, they express their excitement with suggestions to one another. They are highly engaged in their role play and keen to show visiting adults what they make.

They say, 'it's a flying car with rocket boosters!'.Children develop positive attitudes to healthy lifestyles throughout routine times of day. For example, they independently wash their hands before mealtimes.

They enjoy time in the garden for fresh air. Children acquire many skills that help to prepare them when they move to school. However, staff do not yet make full use of the close links with the host school.

As a result, children's transitions to school are not always fully effective.Parents say that their children are very happy and settled at the pre-school. They appreciate the effective methods of communication, which keep them well informed of their children's time at the pre-school.

Staff encourage parents to extend their children's learning by giving them ideas about the types of activities they can do at home with their children.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.All staff access a broad range of training to help them safeguard children.

They know about signs and symptoms of abuse and are clear about the procedures to follow if there is a concern about a child or a family. Staff understand wider safeguarding issues, such as radicalisation and child sexual exploitation. Furthermore, they understand the importance of whistle-blowing and who to report a concern to in the local authority.

Processes for recruitment of new staff are effective. These, and the regular checks of ongoing suitability, help to ensure that all staff are suitable to work with children.

What does the setting need to do to improve?

To further improve the quality of the early years provision, the provider should: refine the organisation of routines to promote children's engagement and learning opportunities during all times of the day nexpand on the links with feeder schools to ensure all children are well prepared to transition to school.

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