Boss vows Sunderland nursery will be “good or better” after Ofsted judge it requires improvement

The director of Apple Blossom Day Nursery at Sunderland Enterprise Park has vowed the nursery “will return to good or better” after being deemed to require improvement following its latest Ofsted inspection.

The overriding factor in the judgement was what inspectors identified as a curriculum which didn’t provide sufficient focus on individual needs and in particular the development of language and communication.

While acknowledging children “generally behave well” the report also highlighted younger children receive “inconsistent messages” about expectations.

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Lead inspector Sonia Berry said: “Although staff plan opportunities for groups of children, they don’t focus precisely enough on individual children's next steps in learning. In addition, staff's use of language is not always consistent.

"For example, staff question children too much and don’t allow them enough time to respond. They often use immature language, meaning that children do not always hear the right pronunciation of words to extend their vocabulary further.

"Staff identify possible gaps in children's learning and talk about strategies that can be used to support children. However, these approaches are not consistent

across the nursery.”

Apple Blossom Day Nursery at Sunderland Enterprise Park has been judged as requires improvement following its latest Ofsted inspection. Photograph: Google Maps

While “disappointed” with the judgement, Apple Blossom Nurseries Director Christian Balmer, whose other providers are judged good or outstanding, has accepted the judgement and vowed to use the inspection as a “learning experience” to improve provision at all his nurseries.

He said: “There were lots of positives in the report but I don’t disagree with the findings. We’ve taken on board what has been identified and are already implementing changes to improve the curriculum.

"We are also working with Together for Children Sunderland who are supporting us with these changes. We will be inspected again in 12 months and I expect the nursery to return to good or better.

"A lot has changed in the last six years and there’s quite rightly a lot more emphasis on education rather than just care.”

Despite the overall judgement, inspectors identified a number of positives including the importance of good hygiene, provision of a wide range of activities and imaginative play.

The report said: “Children are happy and feel safe in the nursery environment. They are confident to approach the friendly staff and ask for help if they need it. Parents talk about the support they receive from staff and enjoy hearing about their child's day during the daily feedback.”