A West Watford play group has been told it still needs to improve following its third Ofsted inspection in the last 12 months.

Precious Play Days, in Durban Road East, has maintained its grading of three for ‘requires improvement’ after the inspection by the education watchdog in June.

Inspector Katrina Rodden said the play group was not yet good because gaps in the children’s learning were not being identified.

She said: "Currently, any emerging gaps in children's development are not always being identified quickly, so that effective strategies can promptly be put in place to further support children's progress. Consequently, although children make steady progress in their learning and development, opportunities to minimise emerging gaps are sometimes delayed."

Ms Rodden also said some children were not always appropriately occupied to enhance their learning and development, and that the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world is not fully extended by being given the opportunity to engage with technology.

To meet the conditions of the Early Years Foundation Stage the providers of Precious Play Days were told they must "ensure observational methods cover all areas of learning and development, so that any gaps in progress are quickly identified and appropriately addressed."

To further improve the quality of the early years provision the inspection report said the providers should "ensure all practitioners are aware of children's level of activity and engagement during free play, allowing all children to be absorbed in meaningful play and learning."

Ms Rodden also said they should: "Develop daily opportunities for children to use and explore technology to understand more about the world."

Precious Play Days was registered in 2012 and provides funded early education for two, three and four-year-olds. Currently 52 children are on roll.

Ms Rodden praised Play Days for providing a happy setting for the children to learn and play and for meeting all regulations and requirements.

She said: "Children are supported by practitioners to move to the next stage in their development and, consequently, are prepared to move to pre-school and school.

"Children are happy, settled and leave their parents with ease.

"Children are generally well behaved and continue to make steady progress in their learning and development.

"Effective safeguarding procedures are in place and all practitioners are familiar with them."

Lianne Maltman, of Precious Play Days, said: "Since our Ofsted inspection we have been working towards embedding our new online observation system.

"We can now clearly show Ofsted inspectors the impact our teaching strategies are having on the learning and development of each child.

"We have also added a new technology area to the room, which is accessible throughout the day. We are continuously striving to provide good early eduction to the children of the local community."