The Learning Tree, which caters for children between two and four years old, was given the highest score possible by the education watchdog when they visited the nursery on 27 May 2022.
Inspector, Suzy Marsh, was impressed by the ‘exceptional’ communication and language development of the children, and noted that the staff were constantly looking for new ways to engage them in learning.
The report said: “Children thrive at this exceptional, highly stimulating nursery, where they are excited and motivated to learn. Staff are extremely caring, nurturing and responsive to children's needs and know them all incredibly well. As a result, children are particularly happy, safe and secure.”
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It also said that staff were excellent role models, and provided excellent SEND support and safeguarding measures.
Kay Townsend, nursery manager, said: “We’re just thrilled. The standards are so high, but we’re so glad that the inspector saw our passion shine through.”
The Learning Tree last received an ‘outstanding’ OFSTED report in 2016. One of the main reasons they have maintained their high standards is that they have kept hold of staff - even though there is a recruitment crisis.
“It’s tricky to keep the wages high, so we work really hard to boost staff morale and make them feel valued. It can be a physically and emotionally demanding job, so we really do all we can to help their mental health.
“ We also invest in staff training to make sure they understand how the brain develops, and how play should be structured so the children get the most out of every experience.”
And while the pandemic created new challenges for all nurseries, Kay said they have actually helped them to find better ways of working.
“Parents used to come in to pick their children up, so during Covid we changed this so they had to wait outside. It’s made the children a lot calmer. We kept it in place so now there isn’t a stream of adults coming in and out and disrupting their play and learning.”