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Weston Way, Weston Way Nursery School, Baldock, Hertfordshire, SG7 6HD
Number of Pupils
Highlights from Latest Inspection
There has been no change to this school's overall judgement of outstanding as a result of this ungraded (section 8) inspection. However, the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a graded (section 5) inspection were carried out now. The next inspection will therefore be a graded inspection.
What is it like to attend this school?
Children are warmly welcomed when they arrive at school every morning. Staff greet each child with wide smiles. Adults are caring and know their children well.
Children are happy and safe. Many parents agree with this. One parent who spoke to an inspector said, 'It is wonderful to bring my child into such a lovely and ...welcoming environment each day.'
Children are very busy at Weston Way. Purposeful and enticing activities encourage children to settle quickly. Children enjoy spending time outside.
They explore in the woods or dig in the school garden. They happily work on their own or together with the adults.
Children get on well together.
Adults make sure that children know how to play in the setting. They show children how to behave. Adults use quiet voices to reassure children.
This helps to make the environment a calm and safe place to be. Children behave well in the nursery.
Leaders know the children well.
They ensure that children are ready for their next stages of education. Every child receives the support they need to be successful in their learning.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The new headteacher ably leads the school.
She is supported well by staff. Since the headteacher's arrival, there has been a sharp focus on development of the curriculum. Together, they have considered the best ways to help children learn.
Leaders have placed 'Rainbow Values' at the centre of the curriculum. Adults help children identify achievement of the values through their planned learning experiences. For example, 'Inquisitive Iguana' or 'Community Cat' help to remind children to display these desired attributes.
Leaders have thought about what they want children to know by the time they leave this school. In the most effective planning, children's milestones are 'chunked' into smaller steps to help adults organise activities. Staff have secure knowledge about how children learn and develop, and follow the plans closely.
Occasionally, there is not enough focus on the things children should know. This is because the small steps do not make explicit this information to staff. When this is the case, staff make decisions about the curriculum which are not closely aligned to leaders' intent.
Leaders refer to creating a 'home-from-home' environment for the setting. Resources are carefully selected for children to use in their play. Whether inside or out, children use familiar items while investigating or creating.
This supports children's independence effectively and promotes their curiosity of the world around them.
The development of children's communication and language skills weaves through the curriculum. Adults take every opportunity to introduce and model key language.
For example, visual prompts alongside words helped children to explain growth while in the garden. 'Seed', 'plant', 'light' and 'water' were terms used by all the children.
Daily use of stories and rhymes feature in children's learning.
Leaders have carefully selected books to provide children with a mix of familiar fiction and non-fiction texts. Story sessions captivate children's interest and responses. They were keen to explore ideas of space while reading 'How to Catch a Star'.
Staff identify initial sounds that appear in children's names. This early introduction to phonics provides children with a good start in learning to read.
Children mostly spend a year in the nursery.
Leaders understand that it is important to build positive relationships with parents. Before starting school, leaders meet with parents to build their knowledge of children's needs. Staff swiftly identify any children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
Staff meet regularly to discuss children's individual support plans. Careful monitoring of all children's progress helps to inform planning and ensures effective support for children's needs.
The curriculum includes different experiences to enrich children's wider development.
External visitors bring exotic animals to link children's knowledge of different countries. Children learn about different festivals to help their understanding of other cultures. After-school clubs such as 'Creative Chefs' and 'Mindful Me' promote the importance of well-being and keeping healthy.
Staff speak of being part of a family while working at the school. They feel well supported by leaders. Governors have a good knowledge of the school.
They check that leaders' actions are helping to improve the school.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have ensured that there is a strong culture of care and vigilance at the school.
Staff know the children and their families well. Leaders provide regular training so that staff understand how to protect children and keep them safe. Leaders maintain detailed records of their work with vulnerable children and their families.
They ensure that this information is passed on to the child's next school. Leaders are tenacious in finding help for families and preventing concerns from escalating and becoming serious.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Across the curriculum, there are varying degrees of precision regarding the key knowledge that children need to know and remember.
As a result, some staff are not always clear about what they need to do to deliver curriculum intentions effectively for all children. Leaders should ensure that all staff understand the key knowledge they need to teach, and focus on this when undertaking activities.
When we have judged a 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 an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.
Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.
This is the second ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding in April 2013.
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