Houghton and Wyton Pre-School Playgroup has achieved an Oftsed rating of ‘outstanding’; the highest marking awarded by the education watchdog.

Inspected on February 9 by Veronica Sharpe, the playgroup has improved since its last assessment where it was ranked 'good' in April 2012.

Nikki Hurst, pre-school manager, said: “We knew that all the staff had worked very hard since our last Ofsted inspection and always believed that our practice was outstanding.”

Ofsted assessed four categories at the site, rating them all 'outstanding', including the effectiveness of leadership and management, the quality of teaching, and welfare of the children.

The report notes: “Children make excellent progress and are prepared exceptionally well for school. Staff play alongside children and skilfully use their interests to motivate and challenge them.”

It also praises the playgroup's “well-established settling-in process”, which sees staff visit children at home to get to know them, helping children “quickly become happy and confident individuals.”

In fact, the playgroup also encourages home-based learning, getting children to take home their favourite storybooks and ideas for activities to enhance their learning.

As a result of its findings, the report notes children “are very well prepared for their entry into school.”

Ms Hurst added: “Although the result of the inspection was an incredible achievement we know that our work doesn't stop there. We have always believed that, whatever the outcome, the welfare and development of our children is key to our practice and will drive us to continue making improvements.”