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OFSTED has told a nursery it requires improvement because it has too few multicultural resources in its play area.

Inspector Clair Stockings’s report into the private Rascals Childcare centre, based at the Huntingdon Church in Talbot Avenue, Rayleigh, said: “There are few multicultural resources in the role play area to fully reflect diversity to help children learn about the similarities and differences between themselves and others.”

The pre-school, previously rated as “good”, has also been marked down because of lower than expected standards of planning, and for not using self-evaluation forms well enough.

But it was praised elsewhere for the bond staff have with the children, good behaviour and safety.

Owner Nicola Martin said the nursery believed it made enough efforts to teach children about multiculturalism – and even had a Chinese New Year display on its wall when the inspection was carried out. She said: “We have facilities for teaching multiculturalism.

“We have posters and puzzles depicting other backgrounds, we hand out multicultural food, we just didn’t have all our multicultural posters out in that particular area on the day of the inspection.”

The overwhelming majority of students at the nursery are from a white British background.

Ms Martin added: “None of the parents have raised any concerns or asked any questions about it, they’ve just noticed the staff have been praised.

“I was a bit concerned they judged the whole business in two-and-a-half hours. We thought it was rather quick. Some of the things they say are vague.”

An Ofsted spokesman said: “Inspection arrangements for early years providers look at seven areas of learning, one of which is understanding the world.

“Inspectors will use their expertise in the field of childcare in considering how well a provider meets children’s needs in this respect.”