Salvation Army’s Smiley Preschoolers beam as Ofsted gives ‘Outstanding’ rating

published on 13 Oct 2017

Smiley Preschool, based at The Salvation Army church and community centre on Glendale Gardens, was first rated outstanding by Ofsted back in 2011. Salvation Army church member Margaret Parkhill opened the preschool in January 1973. Now, more than 40 years later, the preschool is so popular that parents sign their children up to the waiting list when they are born.

Hilary Johnston, preschool manager, said: 

“We are thrilled to be recognised as an outstanding preschool once again. The achievement is testament to the brilliant work of our staff team. It shows that The Salvation Army is helping children to have the very best start in their early years development here in Leigh on Sea.

In her report, Ofsted Inspector Claire Meyer, said:

• “Children flourish in the exceptionally well-resourced environment. The stimulating indoors and outdoors areas are used to provide children with a wealth of inspirational and innovative learning experiences.”

• “Children show increasingly high levels of confidence and self-esteem. All children are rapidly developing the skills and attitudes to support their future learning.”

• “A wide range of successful strategies are used to ensure parents are fully involved, and very well informed about their child’s leaning.”

• “Staff are extremely responsive to children’s individual needs and the different ways they learn.”

To read the full report visit

In addition to the preschool, the work of Leigh on Sea Salvation Army includes a day centre and lunch club for older people, a charity shop, church services every Sunday and faith-based activities for all ages.

If you would like more information about the preschool please contact Hilary Johnston on 01702 478092 or email

If you would like more information about Leigh on Sea Salvation Army please visit or search for @LeighOnSeaSA on Facebook.