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Ofsted praise for Norwich Christian pre-school

New Family Life Centre Pre-SchThe Family Life Centre Pre-School, a ministry of Norwich Family Life Church, has been praised by a government inspector who called it ‘the most harmonious setting’ she had ever visited.  Jenny Seal reports.  

An Ofsted report has been published for the Family Life Centre Pre-School following an exacting 2-day inspection undertaken in March. The report pronounced the quality of the provision as good noting outstanding aspects.

The Ofsted inspector observed that “it was the most harmonious setting she had ever visited” on the accompanying feedback sheet, a comment the Pre-School Manager puts down to the Christian environment.


The Family Life Centre Pre-School operates from brightly decorated portakabins located on the Heartsease site where the Norwich Family Life Centre burnt down six years ago. They provide wraparound care for children age 2 ½ -5 years, from 9.30am – 4.30pm, except on Monday when there is no afternoon session. Currently 32 children attend the pre-school from across the city.


The Ofsted report praised the pre-school saying: “The needs of all children are exceptionally well met through recognising the uniqueness of each child and effective partnerships with parents have been established.”

Charmaine Hope, the Pre-School Manager of six years, said: “Before the session every morning we pray and we always pray that God would give us inspiration for each child, that we would see them individually. So if there has been a tricky thing with one of the children, who has had a difficulty that they need to overcome, we don’t just do everything by the book. We also pray about it and find creative ways of dealing with it. So I think that is particularly where we have an advantage over ordinary settings.”


The Pre-School recently celebrated its 10th anniversary having overcome some difficult challenges particularly following the arson attack six years ago.


Charmaine said: “Within 6 weeks we had these portakabins and were back up and running so we weren’t out of action for very long. We hope that we will soon be in a real building again but in spite of all that we’ve had really good reports from the parents whose children have been through the setting. And we continue to keep a high standard of work.”  


The church now meets on a different site on Mason Road but there is a conscious effort to stay connected. Charmaine explains: “We’ve got quite a few children from different, multi-cultural backgrounds and what we do once a year is a little production at the church. The whole focus for that service is pre-school and making the pre-school parents feel welcome. We sing Christian songs from all around the world in their languages so that includes the parents as well. So although we are separate from the church we are still part of that.”


The Ofsted report concluded that the: “Children are happy in this setting and have a real sense of belonging. They are nurtured by staff, who are enthusiastic, effective practitioners and a warm rapport has developed.” The staff are thrilled by the report and are already planning ways to improve their service.


Family Life Centre Pre-School, Heartsease Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 9NT

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