A Banstead nursery has dropped from Ofsted ‘outstanding’ to ‘good’ for allegedly being too rigid with its play activities.

Bright Horizons Banstead Day Nursery, previously called Wishing Willow, is based in Strathmore House, The Drive, and looks after children aged between 0 to four.

It was praised in the bulk of the report, published on April 4, for the quality of teaching, which focuses on children’s interests.

The report said: “Staff swiftly engage children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities in activities that support their ongoing development.

“Staff teach babies how to successfully use interactive toys and they happily explore the variety of resources set out for them.

“Toddlers enjoy learning how to successfully recognise colours and they eagerly join in with popular songs and nursery rhymes. This helps to support their emerging language.”

In a review from February, one parent said: “We have been bringing our kids to this nursery for many years and are really happy with it.

“The kids get the opportunity to do various activities and the nursery makes an effort to do activities for special days and cultural festivals.

“My son developed phonetic reading skills, numeracy and writing skills in pre-school, so he was well-placed to move on to school.”

Despite high acclaim from parents and its teaching strengths, the highest rating wasn’t awarded this time because staff were said to “direct children's play too much”.

“They do not consistently give older children time to extend their independent learning further, such as expressing their own thoughts and ideas,” it said.

Gemma Bruton, nursery manager, said: “Despite the overwhelmingly positive report, we are of course disappointed by the overall judgement.

"On receiving the inspector’s feedback we immediately addressed the area recommended for improvement and are confident that we are on the right path to become ‘outstanding’ once again. 

"Our priority remains to provide exceptional care and education to the children and families we serve.”