STAFF and children at a Dorchester pre-school have an added spring in their step after receiving positive feedback from Ofsted inspectors.

First Steps Pre-School at the Manor Park First School site in Mellstock Avenue is celebrating retaining its ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, despite tougher inspections being introduced since the last assessment in 2009.

The report praised the way staff plan a good range of ‘motivating play activities’ and the way children’s imagination and creativity was actively encouraged.

It also stated: “Staff are very caring and provide a warm welcome, which helps children settle easily.”

Areas for improvement identified by Ofsted included the need to make more use of information shared with parents regarding their child’s development and making more use of the written number to support and reinforce children’s understanding of early mathematical concepts. The First Steps team is now looking forward to building on the inspection success.

Deputy leader Charlotte Hopcraft said: “We are very happy and proud to have retained a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating. “The many changes in Ofsted’s inspection style and standards over the last few years mean that getting a ‘Good’ as we did in 2009 is now ten times harder.”

She added: “Our goal is to provide an outstanding service to our parents and students, so we will be looking closely at the report’s recommendations and incorporating them into our plans for the pre-school in the coming year.

“'We’re incredibly lucky to have a committed staff who are dedicated to improving themselves so they can enhance the education they provide.

“Training is being provided to ensure our staff have the skills and knowledge to offer the very best for our children.”

As well as Charlotte, the First Steps team includes leader Coreen Steele and playworkers Sarah Buley, Ava Taylor and Jolanta Krol.

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