STAFF at a pre-school have been criticised by Government inspectors for not knowing enough about how to protect children from extremism.

Little Ducklings, in Hangleton Community Centre, has had its Ofsted rating lowered after workers were told they must learn how to spot when youngsters may be at risk of being radicalised by family members or others.

Its new Ofsted report said: “Although the manager and staff have reviewed some aspects of their safeguarding knowledge and updated the policies and procedures, not all staff have a secure understanding of how to protect children who may be at risk from extreme behaviours or views.”

Inspectors said the nursery must “ensure all staff use the information gained through training to improve their knowledge of the ‘prevent’ duty and wider safeguarding issues” by tomorrow in order to meet the requirements of the early years foundation stage and the Childcare Register.

Staff told The Argus this date has now been extended until the pre-school reopens in September.

Little Ducklings, in Harmsworth Crescent, was rated outstanding in all areas by Ofsted in 2015.

But the charity-run nursery now requires improvement, partly due to “safeguarding knowledge”.

The inspectors said “some staff are less secure on their understanding of wider safeguarding issues relating to the ‘prevent’ duty”.

Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, schools and childcare providers must adhere to the ‘prevent’ duty, which means staff must be able to identify children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

The duty stipulates protecting children from radicalisation should be seen as part of schools’ and childcare providers’ wider safeguarding duties and is similar to protecting children from other harms such as drugs and sexual exploitation, whether from within their family or from outside influences.

The report highlighted several strengths at the nursery, saying children were “happy and settled” and parents spoke highly about the care their children received.

It said: “The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

“The management team and staff know what to do if there are any concerns about a child’s welfare or a member of staff, including management.

“Overall, the management team and staff have an appropriate awareness of the signs and symptoms of possible abuse.”

A spokeswoman from the pre-school’s management committee said she was “disappointed” with the Ofsted result.

She said: “We are working closely with the early years team at the council who are supporting us to help improve our rating.

“We are also working alongside Ofsted and informing them of our plans for improvement which includes refreshing staff training on safeguarding and risk.”

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, said: “Clearly in this case there is work to do in some key areas but thanks to this inspection report we know where the challenges are and I’ll be doing all I can to support them.

“As I know the whole team there will be doing what it can to get things back on track without delay.”

An Ofsted spokesperson said:

“The inspection of Little Ducklings Pre-School found a number of failings.

"This included variable quality of teaching, a failure to make sure all children made the progress they were capable of, and too few opportunities to develop children’s writing.

"Children’s early education is crucial for future success, that’s why where pre-schools are failing to teach children well it is Ofsted’s duty to highlight it.

"The report makes absolutely no mention of radicalisation or jihadis, but instead notes, as one point for improvement among many, that staff did not understand how to protect young children at risk of extreme behaviours or views.

"This is something that pre-schools are legally required to do and is something which we can all agree is vitally important.”