'INSPIRATIONAL' teaching and exceptional pupil support has secured the best possible Ofsted rating for a village preschool.

Hagbourne Pre-School near Didcot has been bestowed with the education watchdog's highest praise, earning ratings of 'outstanding' in all four areas of assessment.

The 48-pupil preschool is based at East Hagbourne Village Hall, and run by a committee of parent volunteers.

Kerry Gore, secretary of the committee, said: "The report is amazing, and it is such a true reflection of our staff.

"We have always thought they deserve 'outstanding' as they do so much - we are really lucky to have really experienced staff, which goes a long way.

"We were really pleased. It's a lovely little community here and it's brilliant to get this report."

Early years manager Sheila Bayliss said the preschool had consistently been rated 'good' during her 33 years working there, and the team was 'delighted' to have crossed the boundary to the top.

The East Hagbourne resident added: "The main thing that's important is children's personal, social and emotional development. This is their grounding in life."

Mrs Bayliss said the achievement was a particularly proud one given that the pre-school does not have a designated building has to pack away its existence at the end of every day.

She also noted struggles in recent years due to funding pressures, but said the parent committee that oversees the school has helped to fundraise for facilities such as an outdoor play area.

Mrs Bayliss added: "A few years ago our numbers were really low and we had to make some staff redundancies, and were looking at whether we could survive - now, we are bursting."

The school is oversubscribed for its next intake and has set up a waiting list.

An Ofsted inspector visited in February and published her report this month.

She wrote: "The manager supports the highly qualified staff incredibly well to continue to enhance their skills.

"The teaching standard is consistently of high quality and inspirational.

"All staff have a very high expectation of what each child can achieve.

"Staff teach children about the world and provide excellent opportunities for them to learn how things work.

"Staff allow children to solve problems for themselves to help build their critical thinking skills exceptionally well."

Ofsted said the seven staff members are 'very strong role models' for the children, whose ages vary from two to four years old.

The regulator's report added: "Children and families build exceptionally strong bonds with their key person.

"Children build excellent self-esteem, feel safe and very secure and ready to learn.

"Children are very happy, caring towards each other, independent and confident."

'Outstanding' is the best of four possible ratings awarded by Ofsted.