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Ladybird nursery in ‘good’ hands says Ofsted

20 November 2014

Health Care

Ladybird nursery, which is run and managed by Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has been rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted in its latest inspection.

The nursery, based in a converted house next to the hospital, is open all year round and provides childcare, learning and play for nearly 90 children aged from three months to four years old.

Lynda Bartholomew, nursery manager, said: "I am thrilled for the staff and parents of children who attend Ladybird Nursery. We have a dedicated and committed team here so it is great to see all of our efforts recognised in this way."

In their report, Ofsted said that 'the new manager and her staff team are passionate, conscientious practitioners. They have carried out a major review of their practice and as a result, all the actions set at last inspection have been successfully addressed.' In their inspection Ofsted stated:

  • Children and babies make good progress in their learning and development because staff use effective teaching strategies and plan interesting activities that cover each area of learning.
  • Children and babies develop strong bonds with their key persons and, as a result, they make secure emotional attachments that promote their well-being.
  • Safeguarding procedures are robust and rigorous and promote the safety and welfare of all children who attend.
  • Positive and well-established relationships between staff and parents, external agencies and local schools ensures that children's individual needs are fully understood and effectively met.

It's been a fantastic turnaround by the whole nursery team since the last inspection nine months ago, which saw the nursery rated as 'inadequate'. The intention now is to build on the improvements made during the last nine months and aim for one grade higher, for 'outstanding'.

It was felt not to be 'outstanding' yet as staff do not always maximise the opportunities for gathering information from parents about children's skills and abilities, to promptly assess starting points and inform planning of activities and experiences from the outset, and opportunities for children to explore and use technology within everyday play have not been fully embraced as some resources weren't at children's levels. Ofsted did say that 'all children were well cared for and make good progress in their learning and development'. Ofsted wrote that 'children gain many skills, abilities and attitudes that enhance their development across the seven areas of learning.

Lynda, who was appointed as the new nursery manager at the beginning of April this year, has worked closely with the staff team to make positive changes to the nursery added: "This has been a real team effort and we are already working on putting Ofsted's recommendations into place. Our dedicated staff have put an amazing amount of hard work into helping improve the nursery. I would also like to thank our parents and carers for their constant support during this time".

The inspection also clearly highlighted that parents make very complimentary comments about the staff team and say they value the way staff help their children settle into the nursery.

Nadine Cohen from Great Wakering is an obstetric and gynaecology rota coordinator at Southend Hospital, her daughter Phoebe, aged 3 ½,  has attended the nursery for the last three years. Nadine said: "Staff are always so friendly, very approachable and the nursery is flexible enough to respond to parent needs even at short notice. Just as importantly Phoebe looks forward to attending each and every day."

IMAGE: Ladybird nursery staff and students spell out their success with handprints