Cambridgeshire preschool rated 'outstanding' in first inspection since reopening

Children at Girton Cottontails Preschool
-Credit: (Image: Girton Cottontails Preschool)


A Cambridgeshire preschool has gained an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating in its first inspection since reopening. Girton Cottontails Preschool in Cambridge Road, Girton, was described as a “nurturing” preschool where children gain “high levels of self esteem”.

The same building is home to Girton Glebe Primary School. Emma Pell and Laura Norman had both been managers at the previous preschool in Cotton Hall, Cottontails Preschool. They decided to reopen at the primary school site under the name of Girton Cottontails Preschool.

The site registered in 2021, with Emma and Laura as directors. Its first Ofsted report, from an inspection in April 2024, was published on Wednesday (June 5).

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The report said: “Children thrive at this nurturing pre-school. Staff provide a calm, supportive environment, where children gain confidence, independence, a sense of self and of community.

“All children receive consistently high-quality engagement and interaction with staff members that help them make progress in their learning and development. Staff members know children incredibly well.

“They expertly adapt and tailor their practice to support each child at their individual level of development. Children demonstrate that they build high levels of self-esteem.

“They show their sense of achievement as they recognise their own progress in learning, from putting on their shoes independently to throwing and catching a ball.”

Girton Cottontails is a community interest company, meaning all profits are invested back into the preschool. It provides funded early education.

For those not yet eligible for funding or for hours over those they gain funding for, prices range from £6.60 to £7.50 per hour. There were 40 children on the roll at the time of the inspection.

The report continued: “Parents are overwhelmingly positive about the pre-school. They state that they are well informed about their child's day and how to support their ongoing learning at home.

“They say their children thoroughly enjoy coming to preschool. Parents say they are confident that their children are safe, and their needs are well met.

“They notice the progress their children make, such as building self-confidence, independence and communication skills.”

Ofsted inspectors also praised the provision for children with special educational needs, disabilities and/or in receipt of additional funding. They described these children as “exceptionally well supported” and said staff members work with parents and other professionals to decide on the best types of additional support.

A spokesperson for the preschool said: "We are very proud to announce that we have been awarded an “outstanding” rating by Ofsted, the highest possible rating. This recognition is a testament to the preschool's commitment to providing exceptional early childhood education and care.

"We strive to provide top-quality care and education for children in a safe, stimulating, happy and caring environment, where children can learn through their play."

The preschool employs 11 members of childcare staff, six of which hold appropriate early years qualifications at level 3 and above. It opens during term time, from 8.30am until 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 9am to 3pm on Wednesdays.