Strichen School nursery care rated ‘excellent’

Strichen School Nursery operated by Aberdeenshire Council has been highly praised by the Care Inspectorate
Strichen School Nursery operated by Aberdeenshire Council has been highly praised by the Care Inspectorate

The quality of care and support provided at a Buchan school nursery service has been given the highest possible rating by the Care Inspectorate.

Strichen School Nursery provides “excellent care and support to children” according to inspectors who made an unannounced visit back in June.

Its quality of management and leadership was also highly rated as ‘very good’.

The nursery has provided a care service for up to 20 children aged three years to those not yet attending primary school since 2002.

During the visit inspectors observed the 17 children currently being cared for and saw that they were “motivated, enthusiastic and fully engaged” in all the activities.

Discussions with parents and a questionnaire revealed that they too were very happy with the quality of the service being provided by Aberdeenshire Council.

The Care Inspectorate report states: “Communication between staff, children and families resulted in a productive working partnership.

“Staff demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of children’s care needs, preferences and personalities.

“Children followed their own interests and were deeply absorbed in their play.” Inspectors said staff had high expectations of children and approached individuals differently according to their knowledge of their abilities.

Children’s achievements are celebrated through innovative learning stickers and highly creative ‘Star of the week’ posters created by their peers. These children then have the opportunity to take home ‘Fergus the Bear’ or Princess the Rabbit’ for the weekend.

The nursery was also hailed for its best practice in supporting children’s progress in literacy and, as a result, children are confident speakers.

The report continued: “Children independently accessed the adjoining outdoor play area for fresh air and energetic physical activity – supporting their health and wellbeing.

“They also had daily access to a ‘secret garden’ area where the children had been planting fruit and vegetables and we observed that children played imaginatively with a large mud kitchen and constructively with a wide variety of open-ended loose parts.”

In terms of quality of management and leadership, the report said: “The manager was very knowledgeable and up-to-date with best practice.

“She had a clear vision of where she wanted the service to be. Records were well organised and along with policies systematically reviewed.

“Staff had clear guidance to work to and were fully involved in decision-making and improvements. As a result, children were kept safe and provided with a high-quality service.”

Looking to the future, the Care Inspectorate was pleased to see that the school headteacher, nursery manager and staff were working well as a team to progress a “clear and relevant improvement plan” which will continue to improve the service.

Councillor Gillian Owen, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services committee, said: “Many congratulations to headteacher Andrew Jenkins and his team at the

nursery.

“I am pleased to see that inspectors acknowledged innovations such as the learning stickers and the highly creative ‘Star of the Week’ posters. I really hope this positive feedback

encourages staff to be as bold and imaginative as possible and to continue the excellent standards of care and support to children in their care.”

Committee vice-chair, Councillor Mark Findlater, said: “I too would like to commend all those involved at Strichen Nursery for this well-deserved inspection.

"Over the years, performance has remained high in inspections which demonstrates a well-run nursery providing an excellent environment for children. I am delighted that the quality of management and staff was recognised by the inspectors.”