Nursery is told it must improve

A NURSERY and pre-school with more than 100 children on its books has been told to improve by the education watchdog.

Inspectors from Ofsted visited Little Pioneers in Emersons Green in February.

Their report, published in March, said the nursery ‘requires improvement’ in all areas: quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, leadership and management, and personal development.

It was the first time the regulator had visited the nursery, which is on the Harlequin Business Park, near the Travelodge hotel, and caters for 106 children, aged from babies to four year olds.

Inspectors Victoria Nicolson and Michelle Grayling said: “The manager and leadership team know what they want children to learn and what skills children need for the next stage of their learning.

“However, due to recent staff changes and weaknesses in staff’s interactions with children and planning for their next steps, children are not supported to make the progress of which they are capable.

“At times, leaders need to intervene to remind staff to interact with children, as they wander around with no engagement.

“Some staff do not consider how to interact with children during meal and group times, to support their learning further.”

The inspectors did make some positive comments about the nursery, praising its “welcoming and interesting environment” and its range of activities, which children showed confidence in exploring.

They also said that safeguarding arrangements were effective and children behaved well, with older children playing together and letting their peers join in, listening to staff and following instructions.

The inspectors said: “Older children enjoy trips out of the nursery to the local care home, where they meet the residents to engage in craft activities and play games.

“However, staff do not use their knowledge of children’s development and learning needs to plan children’s next steps in learning more precisely.

“Children who have delays in their language and communication skills wander around with little interaction, and some staff leave children with dummies in their mouths.

“This impacts their ability to develop their language further.”

The inspectors recommended that the nursery improve support and coaching for staff so their interactions with children were at a consistent level throughout the nursery, particularly those working with toddlers.

Managers were told they must ensure that staff use strategies to support children with special educational needs and disabilities appropriately and ensure that assessment is used effectively to identify the next steps for each child, and to tailor support to their individual learning needs.

Little Pioneers is run by Co-operative Childcare, which runs 48 nurseries across England and is part of the Co-operative movement.

A Your Co-op Little Pioneers spokesperson said: “The care of the children in our nurseries is of utmost importance to us and we have taken immediate action to address the Ofsted feedback. “Like the whole of the childcare sector, we have faced challenges recruiting permanent team members.

“Recruitment remains a priority and we continue to work with our colleagues to ensure improvements are made.”