CHILDREN and staff at a nursery are celebrating after it moved from being rated as “inadequate”
CHILDREN and staff at a nursery are celebrating after it moved from being rated as “inadequate” to “good” by an education watchdog in just five months.
Ofsted visited Shiplake Village Nursery in January but found that the risk assessment process was “not thorough to identify all possible hazards and help staff keep children safe”.
This was also a breach of the Childcare Register requirements and staff did not supervise children adequately.
But a follow-up inspection in June found vast improvements under the guidance of new manager Cherry Grayston, who joined in February.
Mrs Grayston, who was made permanent manager three weeks ago, said: “I’m excited for the future of the nursery because if we received another ‘inadequate’ we would have probably closed because we would have lost our government funding.
“I was relieved because I believed what we’d put in place was enough to get the grade but you’re never sure until you have the piece of paper in your hand. It’s my personal reputation on the line and if I had received ‘inadequate’ I would have handed in my notice and left.”
The nursery narrowly missed out on an “outstanding” grade and now has its sights set on achieving this. In her report inspector Alison Southard said: “The new manager has high expectations of the staff. She ensures that they update their skills and knowledge, and she provides them with regular mentoring and coaching to guide improvements to their teaching practice.
“The changes made have contributed to the significant improvement in the nursery’s overall standard. Staff provide a good range of stimulating resources for children that motivate them to learn and provide challenge. Children make good progress in their learning.
“Safeguarding is effective. The manager completes regular, thorough risk assessments to ensure that hazards to children are kept to a minimum. Staff know what would give them concerns for a child’s welfare and the procedures to follow. Recruitment is rigorous and this helps to ensure that staff are suitable to work with children.
“The new manager ensures that the monitoring of children’s progress is effective. She has made great improvements to the way in which staff complete planning, observation and assessment of children’s learning and the changes made have had a positive impact on children’s progress.”
Mrs Grayston, who had worked in the childcare sector for 20 years, said her predecessor had been on sick leave for a year-and-a-half at the time of the first inspection.
“They (the staff) have just been lacking a bit of guidance,” she said. “The parents have been perfectly happy but there’s obviously a lot to keep on top of. I set an action plan before I even started once I had been offered the job. That addressed everything raised in the inspection.
“A lot of it was paperwork. It was recording information basically. If you get a paperwork safeguarding concern you get a bad grade regardless of how good they are with the children. I think the staff felt it was unfair.
“As a parent myself I would read that and be concerned. But actually being here in the setting, we haven’t had anybody leave at all. None of the parents left when the January report came out.
“I audited everything. The staff have been re-trained on lots of different things. We had a mock Ofsted inspection to see how we were progressing and de-cluttered the nursery. The parents have been really supportive and helpful.”
Mrs Grayston said she and the nursery’s chairwoman Diana Brook audited the central record together which ensures staff have their personal information updated.
“We’ve had further training as a whole team. It’s enabled us to plan for individual children and their needs rather than follow particular statements from the curriculum,” she added.
The nursery has also put an online system in place where parents can be updated on their child’s progress. It currently has 42 children on roll aged from two-and-a-half to almost five. Mrs Grayston is now hoping to increase numbers in September.
Mrs Grayston praised her team saying: “The staff are really pleased and the parents are elated. They have been incredibly supportive all the way through — I’ve a really good support network with the parents.
“The Ofsted report gives us something to work from. I can now start afresh and it’s what I enjoy most — a challenge.”
Meanwhile, parent Holly Surplice has helped brighten up the nursery by painting a new mural of a whale on the wall of the nursery, taking two weeks to complete the artwork.