Nelson nursery school ‘outstanding’, says Ofsted

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AN Ofsted inspector has classed a Nelson nursery as being an “outstanding” school.

David Byrne, who visited Bradley Nursery in November, gave the school top marks in all relevant categories, maintaining the top level achieved at the last inspection in March, 2010.

In his report, Mr Byrne said the achievement of pupils was outstanding.

“After starting school with very low skills for their age, children rapidly improve. Particularly strong improvements are made in personal and social skills and language and communication,” he said.

“Many speak English as an additional language and struggle with speaking and listening. Most have a narrow experience of the wider world, and a high proportion have difficulties cooperating with others.

“Excellent teaching by the teaching team helps children to settle in quickly to school. As they become used to its routines, progress swiftly accelerates. Rapid and sustained progress occurs in all aspects of their development but particularly their personal and social development, communication and language and physical development.”

The inspector also had high praise for the quality of teaching.

He said: “Teaching is excellent. Excellent leadership by the headteacher has created a closely knit team dedicated to giving children the best possible start to school life. They are not afraid of trying new ideas and indeed, they embrace them fully if they are considered to be effective.

“By sharing their strengths and weaknesses, staff bring to children a wide range of skills and qualities. These combine to enable children to move rapidly towards the expectations for their age.”

The behaviour and safety of the children is another area where Mr Byrne gave the school top marks.

He said: “Staff treat each child as an individual. All are treated equally regardless of ability, gender or background. A calm and safe atmosphere pervades all parts of the school.

“Parents are adamant that their children are safe and secure and enjoy school. This contributes to the excellent progress of children in their personal and social development. Children increase their capacity to work with others and share, but many find this difficult to do by the end of their time in the school.

“Staff are always there for the children. They take time to listen if they have the urge to talk. This makes the child feel valued. This approach, coupled with the extremely rich and stimulating choice of activities that capture the children’s imaginations, contributes to their excellent behaviour. Aggressive behaviour or bullying of any sort is almost unheard of.”

And headteacher Jackie Mitchell is said to offer “exceptional” leadership.

“Quietly, yet very skilfully, she instils in staff a sense of ambition and energy. Innovative approaches are encouraged as long as they improve significantly the life chances of the children.

“All staff are involved in evaluating the quality of teaching. The strengths and weaknesses of the school are understood by everyone. The information gathered feeds into identifying where training would be most helpful.

“This approach has kept staff on their toes and given scope for some teaching assistants to improve their professional skills and status,” said Mr Byrne.