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A Maesteg nursery, which has almost doubled its capacity since opening, is celebrating after receiving a glowing report by education inspectors. Little Acorns Day Nursery, which cares for children aged six weeks to four years, as well as offering a wrap-around care service for children up to the age of 11, was awarded a "double good" grade by Estyn following its two-day visit at the beginning of November.
The private nursery on the Llynfi Enterprise Park opened in 2006 with spaces for 30 children, but has since improved and expanded to offer care for 57 young children. In its report, Estyn found both the setting's current performance and its prospects for improvement to be good, and highlighted an "exceptionally good range of high quality learning experiences", consistently good teaching with examples of outstanding practice and a "highly engaging environment" which is enriched by a superb range of visits and visitors.
It also praised managers Sarah Stephens and Leigh-Ann Hibbert's clear vision for the nursery and staff commitment towards self-improvement. Learning experiences and learning environment were both singled out as "excellent" by inspectors, and following the report the nursery was invited to prepare a written 'best practice' case study for fellow settings.
Manager Sarah Stephens said the report had been a "huge boost" for the team. “We all work extremely hard here and we are very proud of the setting, but we didn't think for one second it would be that glowing. This is our second inspection, but only the first since the new curriculum guidelines were implemented. We were told by our LEA officer before the inspection that not many settings get an excellent grade so not to be disheartened if we didn't, so we were over the moon to have everything rated as good, with aspects singled out as excellent. To be asked to write a case study is a huge compliment for myself and Leigh-Ann, and since the inspection, we've had other settings around the borough asking to come and visit and seeking advice which is lovely. We have very good working relationships with some of the other local settings anyway, so we are very much about sharing best practice, and believe we can all learn things from each other. I think for us, the highlight of the report was that they said what an excellent working relationship we have within the team and that they could see the close working relationship we all have with the children. It's really nice to know that someone can come in and see that this isn't just a job for our team. They all really embrace it and really do the very best they can for the children."
Sarah praised the parents for their unwavering support of the nursery and also thanked each of the nursery's 15 staff for their dedication. "I have to especially thank Caroline and Cheryl, who were here and under the microscope for the inspection," she added. "But this is a whole team effort and we can’t thank them all enough for their hard work."
Read the article from Wales Onine - Maesteg's Little Acorns Day Nursery celebrates glowing Estyn report