‘DEROGATORY’ attitudes towards pupils and failure to protect children’s safety have led to a preschool being labelled ‘inadequate’.

Grovelands Park Preschool has been stamped with Ofsted’s worst rating, after an inspector criticised safety failures and saw children reduced to tears by staff.

Ofsted said the 42-pupil preschool in Grove, near Wantage, has ‘declined significantly’ since being rated ‘good’ in 2016.

A report published last week, following an inspection in early February, said: “Weaknesses place children’s well-being at risk.

“The committee fails to understand how to safeguard children, and is unaware of new legislation and government initiatives linked to safeguarding. Children’s safety is compromised.”

The inspector said some staff members were ‘unable to identify possible signs of abuse or neglect’ and were unaware of guidance to protect children from extremism.

The report rated the preschool in School Lane ‘inadequate’ in all four areas of assessment.

Grovelands Park teaches children aged between two and four, but Ofsted said staff failed to form trusting relationships with pupils.

Its report stated: “Staff’s interaction with children is poor.

“Children do not make the progress they are capable of.

“When children tell staff they are making an ‘orange shiny monster’, or are going to build a ‘ice house’, staff replied, ‘ok great’, before immediately walking away.”

The regulator said children ‘wonder aimlessly and become disengaged’, and some staff demonstrated ‘derogatory’ practice.

Its inspector’s report added: “They stood directly behind [children], leant over them and showed little empathy or respect as they wiped children’s noses.

“This left some children in tears and hindered sense of belonging.”

The preschool has had a testing time with inspections for the past few years, having been rated ‘requires improvement’ in 2015, then ‘inadequate’ later that year.

In 2016, its last inspection, it appeared to have turned a corner and inspectors highlighted a ‘drive for continuous improvement’.

The preschool was asked for comment but has not yet responded.