LEADERS at a failing pre-school say they are making significant progress after being accused of putting children at risk by the education watchdog.

Kilnsea Pre-School in Lower Earley was branded 'inadequate' by Ofsted in all areas after an inspection at Maiden Place Community Centre in October.

Jenny Westwood, chair of the school's management committee, said a 'sweeping generalisation' was made by inspectors after issues were raised over child safeguarding.

The inspection report reads: "The provider has not made sure that unauthorised persons cannot gain access to children. Children's privacy is not protected as unauthorised persons are able to observe children in the toilets.

"Children are put at risk because the provider has not taken steps to ensure that unauthorised adults cannot gain access to them.

"The quality of teaching is weak. The activities staff plan do not meet children's learning needs or build on their interests. Children are not making good progress from their starting points and are not prepared well enough for their future learning and school.

"Staff are not given the support they need to improve their teaching skills. Outcomes for children are not good enough.

"Significant weaknesses in leadership and management mean that children's welfare is not assured."

The pre-school cares for 36 children and was heavily criticised for the effectiveness of leadership and quality of teaching.

Since Ofsted's assessment, the committee has worked with Earley Town Council to address concerns over the shared premises of the community centre.

Ms Westwood added: "We have had many messages of support from parents. An early re-inspection has been recommended.

"A long complaint was sent to Ofsted, some of our concerns were acknowledged, but the judgement stands.

"Parents have been informed and reassured at all stages and staff are working on areas considered weak, although we have reservations about the sweeping generalisations made about progress within the group.

"Just visit the setting to see how happy and occupied the children are, and how the staff ensure that children are well cared for and well prepared for their next steps in life."