Columbia Market Nursery School

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About Columbia Market Nursery School

Name Columbia Market Nursery School
Ofsted Inspections
Address Columbia Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 7PG
Phase Nursery
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 56
Local Authority TowerHamlets
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Columbia Market Nursery School continues to be an outstanding school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Children are happy here and they love learning. They settle quickly into the school routines.

Parents say that the school staff know their children really well. They say the nursery is 'amazing' and that 'staff always make themselves available to talk to us.'

The outside area is exciting and safe.

Children are keen to explore, whatever the weather. When required, they quickly dress in wet weather gear provided by the school. The new mud kitchen is an exciting place to find minibeasts.

Children know how to use magnifying glasses and explore under l...ogs with confidence. One child said, 'this is the best place to find bugs.'

Children are constantly learning or given time to reflect and think about what they are doing.

Adults know when to ask questions or introduce new vocabulary. They plan activities that interest and engage the children.

Behaviour is exceptional.

Children are busy learners who play well together, learning alongside each other, taking turns and sharing. Growing, harvesting, slicing and then serving tomatoes to their friends was a lovely example of this.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

Columbia Market is an exceptional place which inspires children to learn.

The nursery team meets regularly to discuss what the children need to learn next. Leaders are particularly proud of their deeper learning approach. They plan learning over longer periods of time and revisit themes that interest the children.

This helps the children to remember what they have learned. For example, children were quick to explain how ponies had visited the nursery last term. They remembered that, 'ponies like to eat carrots and that you measure them by using your hands.'

Teachers are early years specialists. They support children's physical development well. Children move from push cars, to scooters to balance bikes.

Children love borrowing the bikes and scooters, so they can practise riding to school.

Developing children's early reading skills is a high priority. From the day they start school, children develop a love of books.

Two-year-olds select books from the class libraries, turn the pages carefully and point to the pictures. Three-year-olds are keen to talk about their favourite authors with adults and visitors. The teaching of these key skills is matched to the learning needs of each child.

Children enjoy nursery rhymes, songs and simple stories. Some children are matching sounds to letters and beginning to read simple words. All children are encouraged to borrow books from the school library.

Children enjoyed a recent visit from a local author.

The learning environment is set up to encourage excellent behaviour. Activities are carefully created with children's interests and needs in mind.

The staff know the right time to intervene, question or offer support and guidance. This means that children remain engaged and focused at all times.

Children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) achieve well.

Adults model vocabulary and repeat new language which children then use. The classrooms and outdoor area are designed to support children's development. Outside, the variety of mounds, tunnels and weaving pathways enable children to climb, run, duck and explore with enthusiasm.

There is a big focus on developing children's confidence, communication skills, ability to take turns and self-care. This includes being able to use the toilet on their own and eat lunch at the table with their friends. Adults support children carefully with all of these skills.

Leaders and governors know their school and community exceptionally well. Staff plan activities for the children to celebrate the diversity in the local community. No child is turned away because the school tries to meet every need.

Some children stay for an extra term if this helps them to settle into their next school successfully.

Leaders manage staff workload well. Staff recognise this and say that they feel valued and are listened to.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Keeping children safe is important at this school. A safeguarding culture extends to all staff and the governing body.

Effective record keeping and processes are in place. Staff have regular training and are aware of risks such as extremism. Staff know how to report concerns.

When recruiting new staff to the school, questions about safeguarding form part of the interview process. Children are safe, and confidently explore different classrooms and the outside area.


When we have judged a maintained nursery school to be outstanding we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding.

This is called a section 8 inspection of a good school or non-exempt outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that the school could now be better than good or that standards may be declining, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding on 6–7 October 2015.

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