Sunderland nursery school threatened with closure now judged outstanding by Ofsted

A nursery school which was in danger of closure just four years ago is celebrating being judged as outstanding following a recent Ofsted inspection.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 5:00 am

The report praised Mill Hill Nursery School for the “enormous fun” experienced by children as they learn, the “wide range of highly stimulating activities” and commended the dedication of a “committed and passionate team” which was “expertly” led by the headteacher.

The nursery, which was deemed to be outstanding in all areas, was under the threat of closure before going into federation with Houghton Community Nursery, which is also currently judged as outstanding.

Federation headteacher Sarah Dixon Jones said: “One of the most pleasing parts is that this nursery was under threat of closure. We knew it had real potential but had to work to meet the needs of the community who needed childcare to go back to work.

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Staff at Mill Hill Nursery School are celebrating its outstanding Ofsted judgement. (left to right) Beverly Hughes, Childcare manager, Chloe Malkin and Rachel Caffrey, both Early Years Practitioners, and Naz Rahimi, Early Years Support.

"We introduced the baby room and are now open 50 weeks of the year. Since taking over, there has been a lot of hard work and dedication from staff and it’s brilliant Ofsted has recognised this – it’s nice to get that recognition.”

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Sarah was particularly pleased at the report’s recognition of the depth of care displayed by staff.

The report stated: “Staff greet children with great kindness. Children are happy to see their key person and leave their parents and carers at the gate with ease. All children benefit from frequent cuddles and warm praise.”

Sarah added: “When staff read the report the most pleasing aspect was where it said “every child was loved” and the support which “extends to the whole family”.

"Our staff are really passionate about meeting the needs of the children.”

Lead inspector Cathryn Clarricoates also praised the nursery for the support offered throughout the Covid pandemic.

She stated: “Staff have taken extraordinary measures to support families throughout the Covid pandemic. One example is when they set up a 'Bee Kind' project to link families to each other and their community through social media.”

The nursery was also commended for its provision of outdoor learning and “secure” environment which enabled new children to settle in quickly.

Based at Doxford Park, Mill Hill provides care and education for babies through to four-year-olds.

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