First Step

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About First Step

Name First Step
Ofsted Inspections
Address Tangmere Crescent, Hornchurch, Essex, RM12 5PP
Phase Childcare on Non-Domestic Premises, Sessional day care
Gender Mixed
Local Authority Havering
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this early years setting?

The provision is outstanding

Leaders plan a highly engaging environment to meet the needs of children attending. The high ratio of staff to children contributes to the level of attention each child receives, and the meaningful interactions that take place. This helps children to feel happy and secure.

Staff are exceptional. They show genuine care and compassion, and are thoroughly invested in each child. Children form very strong attachments with key persons.

They smile and laugh with the adults who care for them. A real sense of joy runs through every aspect of the provision, such as the way families are welcomed, and how children develop ...the confidence to explore. Parents speak incredibly highly of managers and staff.

They describe the support they receive as being 'invaluable', and consider the setting to be unique. Staff are very calm and positive role models. They gently encourage children to consider others.

They use words and visual aids to help children to develop an understanding of boundaries. Staff understand that a child's behaviour is an expression of their feelings, and that it is a method of communication for children. The curriculum is skilfully tailored to meet children's needs.

This setting excels in supporting all children to reach their full potential. The managers' undeniable commitment, passion and determination to provide an exceptional provision for children to flourish in, is inspiring.

What does the early years setting do well and what does it need to do better?

Leaders and managers seek the views of parents, staff and external professionals to contribute to evaluating the provision accurately.

They are clear about the strengths, and reflect on the needs of children to identify areas to enhance. For instance, a new system for staff to meet and discuss observations daily reduces workload and ensures time with children takes precedence. This enables all staff to know children extremely well.

A robust professional development programme equips staff with expertise, skills and qualifications, including emotional literacy support assistant, and deaf-blind intervenor. Highly skilled staff share their expertise with one another and use their knowledge to enhance children's well-being, communication and overall development. They do this extremely well.

Staff expertly help children to express their needs and wishes. They build on children's communication skills by expanding their vocabulary. They use sign language, picture symbols, and objects of reference.

Staff promote a love of books through highly imaginative sensory storytelling experiences. Children respond to staff and involve them in their play, such as by placing an adult's hand on a spinning block to spin the toy for them.Children develop their physical skills using a range of large equipment, such as tricycles and trampolines, in an outdoor space.

Staff support children to adopt a can-do approach to challenges. This has a remarkable impact on their self- esteem. Children thrive as they explore a sensory garden.

Staff talk to children about the herbs they can smell, and help them to develop a love of nature and a curiosity about the world around them.High expectations of each child and a meticulously devised curriculum help to ensure planned next steps are purposeful and challenge children effectively. Bespoke sessions that are tailored to specific needs are instrumental in supporting children to feel comfortable and thrive.

For example, children with physical and medical needs learn together in a different environment from those who have social communication difficulties. These children follow a structured session, including workstations and free play.Excellent resources and environments contribute to children's learning experiences.

A sensory room and well-equipped music room help children to learn about cause and effect when they touch pads to turn on lights and push keys on a piano. A toy library encourages children to share favourite resources with their family at home. This helps to ensure continuity of care, and supports parents to enhance their child's learning at home.

Partnerships with parents are exemplary. The manager consistently goes above and beyond to support the entire family. For example, parents attend a stay-and-play playgroup before children start at the setting, and contribute to facilitating parent support groups alongside staff.

Parents attend monthly coffee mornings, even after children leave the setting. This provides ongoing communication and a strong network to support families.Leaders and mangers have incredible vision for every child in their care, and ensure that they are well prepared for future learning.

They work closely with other providers to support smooth transitions on to school placements. They liaise with the local authority and external agencies to ensure that funding is in place to maintain the quality of education for every child with special educational needs and/or disabilities, when they move on from early years to specialised or mainstream provision.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders and managers follow robust safe recruitment procedures to ensure the suitability of those working with children. They ensure that ongoing training and supervision keep staff's knowledge current and up to date. Staff have an extremely secure understanding of safeguarding.

They know the signs of possible abuse, and are alert to signs that a child may be at risk of extreme ideas or views. They are clear about documenting concerns precisely and following correct procedures to escalate concerns regarding a child's welfare. Leaders and managers place the utmost importance on safeguarding children in their care, ensuring that children's well-being is at the heart of all that they do.

Also at this postcode
The R J Mitchell Primary School

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