A CARLISLE pre-school which has been run by the same woman for 50 years has been ranked ‘Outstanding’ in its latest Ofsted inspection.

St Peter’s Preschool, at St Peter’s Church on Kingstown Road, was set up by Margaret Bravo in 1969.

Now aged 82, Mrs Bravo still runs it and has no plans to step down.

This is St Peter’s third consecutive outstanding Ofsted report, having achieved the same top rating in 2011 and 2014. The latest inspection took place in September and ranked St Peter’s outstanding in every category.

“The inspector said to us ‘It’s outstanding in everything, and there’s nothing you can do to better yourselves’,” says Mrs Bravo. “She said ‘Just carry on as you are.’

“It’s a really lovely report. It describes us as loving and caring. It’s beautiful.

“The inspector said ‘How do you know when a child has a problem?’

“I told her that I can sense it. One of my colleagues said ‘Mrs Bravo has a nose like a sniffer dog.’”

The report states: ‘The experienced manager and her team of professional staff place children at the heart of everything they do. They uphold a shared vision to create a happy and safe environment that inspires children to become curious, imaginative, independent and articulated learners.’

Mrs Bravo says: “Being rated outstanding is good for morale and it’s good for letting parents know that we’re here and that we do a good job. Because we’re linked to a church, we’re not allowed to advertise.”

Last month Mrs Bravo was given a lifetime achievement award at the 2019 Golden Apple Awards, which celebrate educational excellence in Cumbria. “It was wonderful,” she says. “I was thrilled to bits.”

Mrs Bravo set up her preschool on the opposite side of Kingstown Road in January 1969, paying six shillings a week in rent. It moved to its present site in 1990.

“People who I taught years ago now bring their grandchildren,” she says.