The St Mary’s Pre-School

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About The St Mary’s Pre-School

Name The St Mary’s Pre-School
Ofsted Inspections
Address The Parish Room, Betchetts Green Road, South Holmwood, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 4JX
Type Childcare on Non-Domestic Premises, Sessional day care
Gender Mixed
Local Authority Surrey
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this early years setting?

The provision is outstanding

Children are at the heart of everything that this pre-school does. The managers and staff have the highest aspirations for all children.

Each child is recognised as a unique individual. Children are very happy. They play with their friends with great confidence.

Children new to the pre-school settle very swiftly. This is because staff gain a deep understanding of their needs and build inspiring relationships with their families. This results in a highly impressive, shared learning approach between home and nursery, enabling children to flourish and thrive.

Children are intensely engaged and focused for ...extremely long periods of time during activities. For example, during forest school, children find some mole hills. Staff seamlessly use these opportunities, enriching children's understanding of the natural world.

For example, staff help children think of different animals that they may find on their walk. Opportunities in the awe inspiring forest forest school allow children to wade trough the stream in their wellingtons. Children work together and collect water in different sized pots.

All children, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), make exceptional progress from the starting points in their learning.Children's behaviour is exemplary. They demonstrate respect and kindness for one another and for the natural world.

Children listen and respond to instructions very well and show a good understanding of how to stay safe in the environment.

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

Managers are exceptional. They have high expectations for all staff, this is reflected in everyday practice.

Managers have designed an ambitious curriculum. Staff meticulously plan learning experiences for individual children, considering how to build on children's prior knowledge in each area of learning. Children make excellent progress in their learning and development.

Staff are well qualified and experienced. Their high-quality interactions and inspiring conversations help to develop children's vocabulary and confidence in speaking very well. The staff frequently sing songs and use a wide range of rich vocabulary.

For example, children learn new Christmas songs. They enthusiastically take turns to see 'what is in the box' and choose what song they would like to sing. Staff are highly reflective and use many effective strategies to develop children's communication and literacy skills.

The use of repetition, rhythm, rhyme and actions make activities more memorable, exciting and engaging for the children. This ensures their new knowledge is secure.Support for children with SEND is outstanding.

The managers and staff work extensively with professionals to ensure the best outcomes for each child. As such, children with SEND get the help and support they need through timely intervention. Furthermore, careful consideration is given to how any additional funding is spent and to where it has the greatest impact to improve outcomes for children.

For instance, funding is used to get additional staff to work specifically on a one-to-one basis with children. Parents of children with SEND highlight the exceptional support and guidance received from staff.Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, managers have done everything they can to support children and families.

Staff recorded stories and cooking sessions to ensure any children who were at home could still join in experiences. Doorstep visits enabled managers to check with families to see if there was any further support they needed. Staff have introduced additional support for parents, such as a food bank parcels.

Children lead exceptionally healthy lives at nursery. They play energetically, rest and relax, and manage their personal care exceedingly well. Staff follow meticulous pre-school procedures to keep children safe and healthy.

Partnerships with parents are exceptional. Parents are provided with in-depth information about their child and are supported to be fully involved in their child's learning. Parents comment on the 'absolutely brilliant' and 'amazing' staff.

The managers monitor and support staff extremely well. Staff receive consistent coaching and guidance through robust and comprehensive regular supervision. Staff access relevant professional development opportunities, which has enabled children to benefit from high-quality learning experiences and exemplary teaching.

For instance, staff have recently completed courses on forest school learning. The managers evaluate the nursery extremely well as a team, taking into account the views of parents and children.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff are well trained and extremely knowledgeable about their roles and responsibilities with regard to safeguarding. Safeguarding training is part of the induction procedure and they receive regular updates during staff meetings. Staff know and understand the signs of possible abuse or neglect, including wider safeguarding issues such as recognising and challenging extreme views.

They have a clear understanding of how to report concerns about a child's safety. Robust recruitment procedures ensure that all those working with children are suitable. There are effective systems in place to ensure the ongoing suitability of staff.