Sunshine Pre-School: Sheffield nursery hits back at Ofsted 'inadequate' grade just three months after launch

Sunshine Pre-School, in Lewis Road, is contesting an 'inadequate' rating from Ofsted saying they were given a fraction of the time they needed to prepare for a visit.
Sunshine Pre-School, in Lewis Road, is contesting an 'inadequate' rating from Ofsted saying they were given a fraction of the time they needed to prepare for a visit.

A Sheffield nursery has hit back at Ofsted after being graded 'inadequate' in its first visit by inspectors.

Sunshine Pre-School, in Lewis Road, Richmond, was taken over by Blossom Tree Nursery Ltd in April this year after former operators Manor & Castle Development Trust moved to shut it down due to funding shortages.

The pre-school was rated 'outstanding' in its last visit in 2018 - but a report released last week (September 15) has now graded the nursery as 'inadequate' in all areas.

 (Photo: Alastair Ulke)
(Photo: Alastair Ulke)

However, managers at Sunshine have hit back at Ofsted for 'breaking procedure', saying they should have been given 30 months to prepare for a visit - they were given three.

It is understood the unscheduled visit was in response to a complaint. Normally, this only means the complaint is investigated - instead, the watchdog carried out a full graded inspection for the three-month-old setting.

Despite warm comments about children seeming happy to arrive at Sunshine - as well as noting parents were "very happy" with the school, saying staff "are lovely and nurturing" - inspectors scolded staff over safeguarding and what little ones learn.

The report reads: "The curriculum provided is weak, and the quality of education is, at times, poor. The provider and staff are unclear about what they want babies, toddlers and pre-school children to learn.

"Staff do not have a good enough understanding of the setting's safeguarding policy and procedure. Some staff cannot explain how to identify children who may be at risk of harm.

"Staff working with children do not know their interests and abilities. They do not plan and implement a curriculum to influence what children need to learn next. Younger children are ignored for long periods of time and are not supported in their play.

"Nevertheless, children are content and settled. Some children have good relationships with staff, who are warm and caring. Children behave well."

It comes after an outpouring of support for the nursery from parents in February after it first emerged Sunshine Pre-School would close. One parent, Alex James, said in February that “Sunshine Pre-School take babies and turn them into unbelievably kind, caring and bright children."

Following the new report, nursery manager Kelly Wright told The Star they have lodged a complaint with Ofsted over the visit, but say meanwhile their only "only goal is supporting our parents".

Ms Wright said: "We do offer a quality service and I think the report doesn't reflect the true picture we offer to are parents and children.

"We have competed all are actions and are waiting for the return of Ofsted...our staff team are dedicated to work hard on making sure we are providing a safe secure enabling environment for our children to learn and we want to keep our parents happy in what we are doing.

"Our main goal is to supply a high quality service to our children and families with in the local community we have 115 children on role and we want to work with our families to support them where every possible, we do have some vulnerable families that we support and give advice and guidance to help them in the local area.

"As well as this, Early Years Sheffield have really supported us since April and we have good relationships with our parents and the council.

"We are ready for Ofsted to come in the next six months and we hope to show the true reflection of what our team has worked hard on to make sure this setting works for the local area and families."