Brighter future beckons for troubled Sunderland nursery

ON THE UP: Millfield Nursery School.
ON THE UP: Millfield Nursery School.
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A WEARSIDE nursery is on the way to being taken out of special measures.

Millfield Community Nursery School was placed in special measures at the beginning of 2014 after it was found to be inadequate in almost all areas.

However, now Ofsted inspectors say the nursery school, in Bell Street, is improving.

Following the original inspection a report detailed a catalogue of problems at the school, including low staff morale, accidents not being reported accurately, children with special educational needs not being identified properly and falling attendance.

But, in a letter following a monitoring visit on December 3, inspectors said: “Having considered all the evidence I am of the opinion that at this time the school is making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures.

“It is clear that children’s achievement is beginning to improve because the quality of teaching is improving. Children are now much more confident in planning what they are going to do during free choice sessions.

“Skills in speaking and listening are improving as staff create more opportunities for children to discuss their views and interests.

“Children who are disabled or who have special educational needs and those who speak English as an additional language are fully included in all the nursery has to offer. They receive specific, targeted support from specialist staff which is enabling them to improve their progress.”

Inspectors said there is now a calmer and more purposeful atmosphere in the nursery and children are able to concentrate on tasks, without being distracted.

They said the behaviour of pupils is improving because adults have higher expectations and are providing more effective role models and the levels of attendance are improving.

The letter added: “Staff are much more aware of possible dangers and are more vigilant in ensuring children’s health and safety, for example, discussing with them what might happen if they run around indoors.”

Throughout the year the local authority’s early years support and intervention officer has provided regular, weekly leadership and support and inspectors say staff have benefited from this expertise.

There is now more opportunities for staff training and for staff to visit other schools and observe good or outstanding practice.