Improvements still needed, Ofsted tells nursery

A NURSERY and pre-school run by a national chain has been told it still has work to do to improve.

Ofsted visited Little Pioneers in Emersons Green in December, ten months after the first inspection of the nursery, which opened in 2021.

Both visits have resulted in the same verdict, that the setting required improvement in all areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, leadership and management, and personal development.

In the latest report, published in January, inspector Dominique Allotey said: “The quality of education and children’s experiences in the nursery are variable.

“While children are happy and enter the nursery eager to explore what is on offer, the quality of staff interactions and education varies across the different rooms.”

The inspector said some staff “do not show a full enough understanding of children’s emotions or how to adapt activities to suit children at different ages and stages of development”, although she added that proactive steps were being taken to address areas where improvement was needed.

She said: “The nursery has undergone many staffing changes, and these have had an impact on leaders’ ability to embed and maintain high-quality provision.

“Leaders continue to work hard to establish a secure and consistent staff team. Despite this challenge, leaders have made many improvements since the last inspection.”

The inspector recognised several areas of good practice at the nursery, which has increased the number of children aged four and under on its roll since the last inspection from 106 to 124.

These included staff supporting new children to settle effectively, getting to know them well and working closely with parents to build good relationships; the report found parents are “complimentary about the care and education that their children receive”.

The inspector said: “Staff embrace diversity in the nursery. They offer a range of resources and experiences to promote children’s awareness of cultural differences.

“This prepares children well for life in modern Britain.

“Children are encouraged to try to do things for themselves before they ask for help from adults. This gives children a helpful range of skills in preparation for the eventual move on to school.”

The nursery’s outdoor play facilities were also highlighted, and as was staff training and a focus on improving practice.

Little Pioneers is one of a chain of 45 nurseries across the country run by Co-op Childcare.

Ofsted told the nursery, which is on the Harlequin Business Park near the Travelodge hotel, to make two specific improvements by March: to the quality of staff interactions, so all children are offered “good-quality learning experiences”, and to staff skills in helping children learn to manage their feelings.

A spokesperson for Co-op Childcare said: “Our absolute priority is always to create the best learning environment for the children in our care and we’re pleased to see Ofsted recognising the ongoing improvements at our Emerson Green nursery.

“We are already in the process of addressing the areas for further improvement identified in the report and are confident that this will be reflected in Ofsted’s grading in future.”