INCONSISTENT teaching and confusion about safety procedures have resulted in the worst Ofsted rating for a preschool.

Drayton Pre-School near Abingdon has been rated 'inadequate' by the education and childcare regulator, after an inspector cited a string of concerns.

It is a major fall from its previous rating four years ago, when it was rated 'good' and hailed as a place where children thrive.

In the more recent report, published the week before last, an inspector wrote: "Weaknesses in safeguarding practice means that leaders cannot assure children's welfare.

"Leaders do not have a robust enough understanding of safeguarding policy and procedures.

"They do not have sufficient knowledge of who they must refer allegations against a member of staff to, in order to protect children from harm.

"As a result, children may be at risk of harm."

Ofsted criticised the 31-pupil pre-school in Drayton for having no named deputy manager in place, and for not effectively investigating complaints.

It also said staff members were not confident about discussing confidential or sensitive issues, adding: "The process does not foster a culture of mutual respect and teamwork."

The inspector also noted 'teaching practice is not consistent', and leaders are unaware of what needs doing to improve the preschool.

However, the report also highlighted several positives including that parents reported that their children enjoy attending the preschool.

The inspector, who visited during the first week of March, said youngsters were well-behaved.

She added: "Children are kind to each other and share resources willingly.

"They are quick to remind friends of the rules.

"Children are confident and self-motivated to test out their physical skills, such as kicking footballs, but poor teaching limits the progress they make."

Drayton Pre-School opened in 1996 and is located within the grounds of Drayton Community Primary School.

The latter operates completely separately and was inspected by Ofsted the same week as its neighbour, and later rated 'good'.

The Oxford Mail contacted the preschool for comment, but has not yet received a response.

Parents quoted on its website describe the preschool as a 'friendly' setting in which their children are very happy.