Nursery school rated outstanding for third time

Staff and children at Whitegate Nursery School in Padiham celebrate being rated as outstanding by Ofsted for third time.
Staff and children at Whitegate Nursery School in Padiham celebrate being rated as outstanding by Ofsted for third time.
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A Padiham nursery school is celebrating after being rated as outstanding for the third time by Ofsted.

Inspectors described the quality of the learning environment at Whitegate Nursery School as “breathtaking” pointing out that activities were planned with precision that totally encompassed children’s interests.

Headteacher Mrs Kay Burke was praised for her “inspirational leadership” by inspectors who said she had made sure the outstanding provision and highest outcomes have been maintained.

Inspector Sheila Iwaskow said: “The whole school community should be exceptionally proud of this achievement.

“Working with others is the strength of the school, it never stands still and the headteacher and staff are always looking for ways to continually improve.

“Every effort is made to ensure that each child achieved their very best while at the school.”

The school was praised for meeting the needs of specific children by staff who are involved in research projects focusing on austistic spectrum disorder and mastery in mathematics.

Working with others is seen as one of the school strengths as Whitegate has devised training materials in conjunction with other nursery schools in Burnley to support teaching staff and childminders.

Rigorous monitoring has ensured the quality of teaching is of the highest standard.

The school was praised for forging a tight relationship with parents with many telling inspectors they were "astounded" at the progress their children are making.

Mrs Iwaskow said: "Parents find all the staff exceptionally warm and welcoming.

"They value highly the close and nurturing relationships their children have established with their key person."

The staff were described as "highly skilled and talented" encouraging children who were keen to learn.

The report said that resources were of the highest quality which allowed children to make free choices and become independent learners.

Inspectors said that all children, including those with special educational needs made exceptional progress. But the school was praised for not being complacent as staff are looking at ways of driving outcomes in reading to an even higher level.

Mrs Iwaskow said: "All of the staff are reflective practioners who never rest on their laurels. Complacency is not an option and staff have an excellent understanding of the underlying principles of early years education."

A wide range of training opportunties are also available to staff which ensures they have the knowledge and skills to give children a first class start to their education.

Whitegate was also praised for having effective transition arrangements into the nursery and onto primary school thanks to the close links it has developed with feeder schools.

Safeguarding was viewed as effective with keeping youngsters safe seen as a central part of the school's work.

The report pointed out that the next steps for the school are to ensure that opportunities for children to make up and tell their own stories are increased and that outcomes in reading improve even further.

Speaking about the report Mrs Burke said: "We are keen to celebrate this with the local community and demonstrate that the quality of a child’s first experiences of learning can and do make a real and lasting difference.

"Nursery schools such as Whitegate give our children the dispositions, skills and knowledge to love learning and become life-long learners.

"The highest quality of early education is of vital importance although nursery schools are struggling currently in the economic climate as funding for our youngest children diminishes and diminishes.

"Local communities need to be aware that it is our Lancashire Nursery School’s that continue to be outstanding providers of early education and continue to make the difference to children’s learning and progress."