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What It Means For A Nursery To Be Outstanding

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Outstanding is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as, ‘To stand out prominently, to project. To be conspicuous, noteworthy, or superior’, but this is only one interpretation of the word, and in our view the perspective that matters most belongs to the voice of authority on education and childcare in the UK. Ofsted, or the Office for Standards in Education, was founded in 1992 as a reformed regulatory body that reports to the government on how schools and nurseries perform according to a set of criteria. These criteria are summarised in four categories:

  • The effectiveness of leadership and management.
  • The quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
  • The personal development, behaviour and welfare of the children.
  • The outcomes for children.

At 22 Street Lane Nursery we managed to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ in all four categories in our last inspection, which for the team felt like getting an A+ for an exam we’ve spent literally years studying for. Along with the grade we were presented with feedback of the inspection, loaded with high praise for the way in which the nursery is run and how comfortable the children appear to be.

Ofsted themselves have a 79-page document on the inspection process and have several pages dedicated to defining what inspecting an outstanding organisation looks like, but a top-marks-across-the-board rating from them can be succinctly summarised to mean that all parties involved in the welfare of the children in their care go above and beyond to ensure the best possible early education available is received, and that the children themselves respond well to these efforts.

Of course, we are delighted that such an esteemed regulatory body have reviewed 22 Street Lane Nursery as they have, and clearly see and appreciate what we have tried to achieve for children in Leeds. We have 91 places here and accommodate children from 3 months to 5 years from a huge variety of backgrounds, with parents that are likely to have varying ideas on child development and best practice. Therefore, to have achieved recognition from the official ombudsman despite the diversity of our attendees, and in such large numbers, has made the work that we do here all the more fulfilling. As we’ve detailed in our last blog the next step from here is not only to be Outstanding, but also award-winning; we’ve won the hearts of our children and their parents, and most recently Ofsted inspections – now we want to set a national precedent that other nurseries can emulate!

With appropriate resources, there’s nothing stopping nurseries and schools from becoming outstanding so long as they have that vital connection between staff, children, and parents established, and with a mutual understanding of what is expected to ensure the best possible start in life is being achievable. As recommended in our Ofsted report we strive to continue our curriculum of learning through play, empowering children to achieve their full potential, and maintaining a happy and well-trained workforce to facilitate these things. This, to us, is what it means to be outstanding and we managed to achieve this in two years – who knows where we’ll be in ten…Ofsted may need to invent a new grade!