Inspection report for early years provision

Unique Reference Number EY340248
Inspection date 06 February 2007
Inspector Mandy Black
Setting Address Community House, Sharow View, Allhallowgate, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1LE
Telephone number 07882884741
Registered person Ducklings
Type of inspection Childcare
Type of care Sessional care

About this inspection

The purpose of this inspection is to assure government, parents and the public of the quality of childcare and, if applicable, of nursery education. The inspection was carried out under Part XA Children Act 1989 as introduced by the Care Standards Act 2000 and, where nursery education is provided, under Schedule 26 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.

This report details the main strengths and any areas for improvement identified during the inspection. The judgements included in the report are made in relation to the outcomes for children set out in the Children Act 2004; the National Standards for under 8s day care and childminding; and, where nursery education is provided, the Curriculum guidance for the foundation stage.

The report includes information on any complaints about the childcare provision which Ofsted has received since the last inspection or registration or 1 April 2004 whichever is the later.

The key inspection judgements and what they mean

this aspect of the provision is of exceptionally high quality
this aspect of the provision is strong
this aspect of the provision is sound
this aspect of the provision is not good enough

For more information about early years inspections, please see the booklet Are you ready for your inspection? which is available from Ofsted's website:


On the basis of the evidence collected on this inspection:

The quality and standards of the care are satisfactory. The registered person meets the National Standards for under 8s day care and childminding.


Ducklings is a privately run sessional group and has been registered since October 2006. Care is provided for up to 22 children under five years, and there are currently 20 children on roll. The group is located in the children's wing of Community House in the centre of Ripon, in North Yorkshire. The premises consists of a playroom, smaller room and toilet facilities, with access to kitchen facilities in the Community House. Children have access to an enclosed garden for outdoor play. Opening times are on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning from 09.15 to 11.45 during term time only. There are six members of staff working with the children, of whom four are qualified. The group receives support from the local authority.


Helping children to be healthy

The provision is satisfactory. Children are well protected from infection and are actively encouraged to gain a basic understanding of good hygiene practices. For example, the sickness exclusion policy is effectively implemented to protect the health of all children attending. High priority is given to children's hand washing at appropriate times, and there are well presented hand washing posters at children's eye level to encourage them further.

Mandatory requirements are not met because an accident book is not available on the premises to keep records of any accidents that may occur. However, children are well taken care of if they need to be given any medication, such as an asthmatic inhaler, because staff are very clear of the procedures, and have medication forms in place to obtain consent from parents. Children are helped to stay healthy and well nourished as they enjoy snacks such as chopped fresh fruit, mashed avocado dip or fruit scones. Milk or water is offered to drink at snack time but fresh drinking water is not freely available to children at other times.

Children have very good access to fresh air and exercise. For example, they have unlimited use of large physical play equipment, such as the large caterpillar, when indoors and they exercise their large muscles outdoors as they run around freely and pedal wheeled toys.

Protecting children from harm or neglect and helping them stay safe

The provision is satisfactory. Children are cared for in a warm, bright and very welcoming room that is well maintained and decorated to a high standard, with attractive displays of their art work. Children play with an excellent range of good quality toys and equipment that includes many wooden toys and treasure baskets with natural resources. All is invitingly presented and easily accessible to children.

Staff maintain high ratios of adults to children and monitor the door effectively to keep them safe and well supervised. They have carefully assessed outdoor hazards, such as the fire escape stairway, and have successful systems in place to minimise any risk to children. Although children take part in regular fire drills, the written fire procedure is not specific to the group and does not outline staff roles and responsibilities, which may place children at risk.

Children are suitably protected because staff have a clear understanding of their role in child protection and are able to put appropriate procedures into practice when necessary. A child protection statement is in place but this does not include procedures to be followed in the event of an allegation against a staff member.

Helping children achieve well and enjoy what they do

The provision is good. Children are very confident and busily engaged in a wide range of stimulating activities planned in accordance with the 'Birth to three matters' framework. These include very suitable wooden blocks, matching games and lift-out puzzles. Children enthusiastically join in with familiar stories at group time; they are very eager to participate in 'sleeping bunnies' and 'wind the bobbin up' and they clearly know these songs and actions well.

Children are extremely comfortable with the staff, they approach them frequently, converse easily and ask questions. Relationships are evidently warm and caring as they cuddle up closely and listen to stories. Children play well cooperatively with their peers in the role play area and as they construct with the wooden train track.

They show good initiative and independently undertake tasks such as wiping the blackboard and helping staff tidy away the toys. Children acquire new knowledge and skills as they correctly identify animals, such as the hippo, zebra and lion, when they complete puzzles. They respond successfully to challenge as they build tall towers with the wooden blocks, selecting appropriately sized pieces with care.

Helping children make a positive contribution

The provision is satisfactory. Successful relationships are established with parents, which helps ensure children's needs are well met. Verbal communication is good, information is shared effectively and children are settled well in close liaison with parents. A complaints policy, complaints records, policies and written information for parents are not available on the premises.

Children hang their coats on hangers with their own name and photo label attached, which makes them easily recognisable and positively supports children's sense of belonging. They are learning to understand responsible behaviour and develop an awareness of the needs of others. Staff successfully support this by giving high priority to sharing, taking turns and encouraging harmonious play. Children are able to freely make choices and take decisions, and are not pressured to take part in anything they do not wish to. Staff allow them to follow their own needs and interests but are very skilled in encouraging them to try new or different activities. Children's behaviour is consistently well managed using entirely appropriate strategies. Although there are none currently attending, children with learning difficulties or disabilities receive appropriate support in close liaison with their parents.


The organisation is satisfactory. Enthusiastic and committed staff show a high regard for the well-being of all children. All current staff are appropriately cleared and the number of qualified staff exceeds the minimum requirement. However, it is not possible to confirm that recruitment and vetting procedures will ensure children are well protected and cared for by future staff or volunteers, as there is no policy or relevant record available to support this.

The majority of the required documentation is in place and kept securely on the premises. An accident book and some mandatory policies are missing, but other policies and procedures work successfully in practice to promote outcomes for children.

Overall, the provision meets the needs of the range of the children for whom it provides.

Improvements since the last inspection

Not applicable.

Complaints since the last inspection

Since registration there have been no complaints made to Ofsted that required the provider or Ofsted to take any action in order to meet the National Standards.

The provider is required to keep a record of complaints made by parents, which they can see on request. The complaints record may contain complaints other than those made to Ofsted.


On the basis of the evidence collected on this inspection:

The quality and standards of the care are satisfactory. The registered person meets the National Standards for under 8s day care and childminding.


The quality and standards of the care

To improve the quality and standards of care further the registered person should take account of the following recommendation(s):

  • ensure that all children have access to fresh drinking water at all times
  • display a clearly defined procedure for the emergency evacuation of the building
  • make sure that the child protection statement includes procedures to be followed in the event of an allegation against a staff member
  • revise the complaints policy for parents and introduce a complaints record, in order to meet mandatory registration requirements
  • develop current vetting procedures to ensure the suitability of future staff members and maintain the safety and well-being of children attending
  • ensure that all records, including a record of accidents, are always available for inspection by the early years child care inspector.

Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the leaflet Complaints about Ofsted Early Years: concerns or complaints about Ofsted's role in regulating and inspecting childcare and early education (HMI ref no 2599) which is available from Ofsted's website:

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