Great Expectations fulfilled at ‘outstanding’ nursery

A BROMLEY Heath nursery has been praised for its nurturing staff, highly-motivated leaders and “extremely ambitious” curriculum.

Ofsted has rated Great Expectations nursery in Baugh Road ‘outstanding’ in all areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, leadership and management, and personal development.

The verdict – the regulator’s highest possible rating – is a huge boost for the nursery and owner Jo Scott, whose mum Sheila Burge died recently after working at the nursery for 13 years.

Ofsted’s visit in April was its first for six years.

In her report, published in June, inspector Margaret Dobbs said: “Children are very happy and have strong attachments to key staff.

“They turn to the highly nurturing staff for emotional comfort and reassurance, showing that they feel safe and secure.

“Highly-motivated leaders and managers provide a broad and extremely ambitious curriculum.

“They support staff to excel in meticulous observation, planning and assessment processes, which ensure that any gaps in children’s learning or concerns about development are quickly identified and action taken.

“All children make excellent progress and are well prepared for their transition to the preschool.”

The inspector said staff are “extremely skilful” at introducing new words and concepts, communicating with babies “exceptionally sensitively”, using expressions and gestures to help them listen and learn swiftly.

She said: “Staff show consistent respect, and they value what children do and their efforts to try to do things by themselves.”

The report said the nursery’s outdoor activities and outings, which include a forest school and visits to an orchard and local shops, provide “rich experiences” and help children “learn to respect and care for living creatures”.

The inspector said: “Parents say the friendly and kind staff show genuine care for their children. “They have complete trust that staff keep their children safe and support their well-being

“Leaders and managers support the well-being and professional development of staff exceptionally well through access to high-quality training and highly effective supervision.”

Jo and husband Marcus own the nursery, which has 40 children aged two and under on its roll, and run it together, with manager Nicola Hunt.

Jo said: “The inspector said it did feel very much like a family and very homely, and that’s what we want for the setting – not only our children and their families to feel at home, but our staff as well.

“For the inspector to see that was lovely.

“We make a conscious effort to have practitioners who are unique. Everyone comes with something that will make it feel special, from music skills to forest school.”

The nursery has been running since 1999 and Jo, who has been working in early years education for 23 years since she was 16, took over in 2014.

Her mother Sheila died at the end of last year and Jo paid tribute to her role in the nursery’s success.

She said: “Mum had been such a huge part of the nursery and was very well known in the community as well.

“Her loss was a really sad time for all of us, both the family and the whole team.

“The fact that we now have something to celebrate, something so positive after such a sad time, feels like it was meant to be.”