Dorchester on Thames Pre-School

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About Dorchester on Thames Pre-School

Name Dorchester on Thames Pre-School
Ofsted Inspections
Address Horsa Hut, Dorchester St. Birinus School, Queen Street, Dorchester-on-Thames, WALLINGFORD, Oxfordshire
Phase Childcare on Non-Domestic Premises, Full day care
Gender Mixed
Local Authority Oxfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this early years setting?

The provision is good

Children are happy and enjoy their time at the pre-school.

They show they are confident and feel safe in the care of the kind and dedicated staff team as they separate from their parents at the door. This is a continued change that the staff have maintained since the pandemic. Children show they are eager to learn and that they enjoy the activities on offer.

For example, as the children play with the puppets, they have fun creating stories with their friends and acting these out. Outside, children have many opportunities to build on their larger physical skills, as they climb on apparatus and use wheeled ride-on toys.C...hildren love to explore a variety of sensory textures, such as noodles with chop sticks, wet sand in the construction area and natural resources.

Staff offer children a good amount of praise and encouragement, which in turn helps children to share, take turns and play cooperatively. Staff support children effectively to be responsible helpers and to gain independence. Consequently, children are keen to do things for themselves, such as wiping their own noses and changing their shoes.

Staff support children's communication skills well, overall, through consistent discussions.

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

The quality of education and children's overall experiences in the pre-school are good. Staff know the children well and provide a calm and positive learning environment.

Staff have a clear understanding of how to embed the curriculum to maximise learning opportunities well. For example, as children explore with straws and pom-poms, staff interweave mathematical language to encourage children to count, learn about shape and colour. Activities such as these allow children to repeat tasks and refine skills for their eventual move to school.

Staff are deployed well to meet the needs of the children. They implement planning and maximise children's learning in a wide range of activities that interest them. This enables children to make effective and sustained progress.

Staff provide an environment that is rich in language. Staff communicate consistently with the children, which helps them learn to talk and understand well, overall. Children enjoy listening to stories.

Staff read these with enthusiasm, which helps to develop children's concentration skills. However, at times, staff do not give children enough time to think or express their thoughts and ideas before asking further questions.Children learn to follow a healthy lifestyle.

They enjoy their food brought in from home and eat together socially. Staff encourage children's independence at meal and snack times and offer good support as needed. Staff help children to understand the importance of good dental hygiene routines and support children in brushing their teeth after mealtimes.

This supports children to lead a healthy lifestyle.Children, overall, respond well to the changes in the routine and stop and listen when staff clap to indicate this. However, at times, some disruptions to play can be avoided, especially at snack time when all children stop their play to line up to see if it is their turn for snack.

This often leaves some children frustrated as their play is disrupted when it is not their turn.Children behave well, know the names of their friends and are building meaningful relationships with each other. Children show they are developing good friendships and they clearly enjoy spending time together.

For instance, children are heard calling to their peers to join in with their play as they pretend to be superheroes.The committee and manager work well together and support the staff team appropriately. Staff show they are dedicated to their roles and comment they are happy in their work.

All staff receive regular supervision and training opportunities, which in turn helps to enhance their professional development.Partnerships with parents and other professionals involved with children are strong. Staff ensure they obtain a good amount of information from parents when children first start.

Parents comment positively about the pre-school, staff and how their children are progressing. Staff work closely with local schools to effectively support children's transfer to full-time education. This helps to promote continuity in meeting children's needs.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.There is an open and positive culture around safeguarding that puts children's interests first.

What does the setting need to do to improve?

To further improve the quality of the early years provision, the provider should: support staff to understand the importance of giving children the time they need to think about, and answer, questions to enable them to speculate, test their ideas and challenge their thinking review the organisation of the snack time routine, to ensure that all children stay focused on purposeful learning.

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