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Ofsted Report: “Outstanding Childcare Provision” from Little Acorns Nursery

Ofsted Report: “Outstanding Childcare Provision” from Little Acorns Nursery

An outstanding childcare provider in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, Central Lancashire

Last month we reported on Little Acorns Nursery winning best ‘Individual Nursery’ award at the National NMT Nursery Awards. When you consider that the nursery was selected from all the other possible nurseries from across the entire UK, that’s an incredible feat! It should now come as no surprise, then, to learn that Ofsted’s most recent report also scored the nursery as ‘Outstanding‘ — in every category.

In this post, we’ll go through Ofsted’s report to see what they said about the nursery and why they were so impressed during their inspection.

Ofsted Report for Little Acorns Nursery, ChorleyThe Ofsted Report Concludes that Little Acorns Nursery Provides …

So, “Outstanding” — right across the board! Click the report image to download/view it in full (Acrobat PDF format) or read the highlights below.

We’ll cover each of those areas in more detail below. First, though, we’ll highlight some general comments received in the Ofsted Report. Every one of them is extremely positive; indeed Ofsted had literally nothing negative to say about this outstanding Chorley nursery anywhere in their report …

Continuous Improvement “to the Highest Possible Levels”

In the Ofsted Report, the inspector recognised the culture of continuous improvement at the nursery, saying:

“Managers are highly reflective and extremely passionate about continually raising the quality of service to the highest possible levels. Together with their dedicated staff team, they conscientiously evaluate all aspects of the provision to identify and consistently make sharply targeted improvements.”

Exceptionally effective observation & assessment of children“Exceptionally Effective Observation & Assessment” of Children

The Ofsted Report also highlighted how exceptional the staff are in their approach to children’s learning, saying:

“Staff complete exceptionally effective observation and assessment methods that focus on children’s individual needs and all aspects of their learning. They know precisely the progress and attainment of every child, meaning any small gap or delay in children’s learning is swiftly recognised and addressed.”

On Preparing Children for School …

In regard for the nursery’s expertise in preparing children well for school, the Inspector’s report said:

“Staff have high expectations of what children can achieve and teach with passion, energy and purpose. They help them to make excellent progress in their learning, including being well prepared for school.”

At Little Acorns, literally everything we do has a purpose behind it, so it’s great to see this recognised by Ofsted.

“Rich & Well-Resourced Learning Environments”

We have rich and well-resourced learning environments, both indoors and outside

Ofsted also recognised the outstanding learning environment at Little Acorns, commenting:

“Staff are extremely successful in creating rich and well-resourced learning environments, both indoors and outside. Children confidently choose from the highly stimulating resources set out in a very relaxed and homely atmosphere. They have plenty of opportunities to explore and investigate indoors and outside, and their creativity is supported exceptionally well.”

Learn more about our learning environment, resources and activities here.

“Superb” Behaviour

The Ofsted Inspection also highlighted the incredible behaviour, care and consideration demonstrated by the children. They reported:

“Children’s behaviour is superb. They show exceptional care and concern to their friends, the resources and the environment. For example, they alert their friends of their presence when using wheeled toys, so they do not crash into each other.”

This is wonderful feedback and shows that we teach children good manners, encourage exceptional behaviour along with respect and consideration for others  – and for the world around them.

“Exceptionally Strong” Parent-Teacher Relationships

Another critically important element of successful learning and development is the relationship between parents and the setting. In regard to this, Ofsted were incredibly impressed, saying:

“Relationships with parents and other professionals are exceptionally strong. Parents feel valued by the staff in supporting their children’s learning. The highly effective communication systems ensure that parents are fully aware of their children’s experiences and how to continue this support while at home.”

In due course we will cover more detail about why parent support for children’s learning and development is so crucial — and impactful — whilst children are at home. That is a huge topic, which will merit its own, separate, post in due course, so watch this space.

We’ll now take a closer look at the more specific areas of the Ofsted report for Little Acorns Nursery.

The Little Acorns Nursery team celebrate their award winOutstanding Effectiveness of Leadership & Management

The Ofsted Inspector was evidently extremely impressed with quality of leadership and management at the nursery:

“The managers are highly experienced and qualified leaders. They offer staff targeted support and training to expand further their knowledge of high-quality early years practice.”

They continued: “For example, following training, staff redesigned the environment to successfully enable children to develop their own ideas, inspire their curiosity and imagination and explore the world. Safeguarding is effective. Staff are extremely well trained in child protection issues and are highly confident about what to do should they have any concerns about any child in their care. Managers follow rigorous procedures to ensure staff’s suitability. They thoroughly evaluate every aspect of the provision to continuously improve outcomes for children. Action plans show targeted improvements, such as continuing to nurture children’s love of outdoor adventure, sensory play and unique experiences in the natural environment.”

Outstanding Quality of Teaching, Learning & Assessment

The quality of teaching, learning and assessment at the nursery was also strongly praised by Ofsted. As part of this, their report recognised how well the approach to continual assessment works at the nursery and how the planning of tasks and learning activities is tailored to each individual child. They highlighted the following:

“Well-qualified and experienced staff carry out regular assessments of children’s learning and development. This provides them with an exceptionally clear understanding of children’s interests and their next steps in learning.”

They went on to explain this in more detail: “Children’s interests and areas of development are consistently used to plan the environment and activities. For example, in the baby room, there is a strong focus on enhancing speaking skills and in the toddler room staff focus on mathematical learning. Staff nurture children’s imagination, creativity and curiosity while handling and exploring natural and real-life objects. Staff nurture children’s enjoyment of books while reading stories aloud with them and they sing nursery songs using props. Staff enable children to take the lead in their play, to ‘have a go’, interact and build on their strong desire to learn. For example, children confidently name colours, enjoy counting objects and recognise numerals they find submerged in water.”

A child enjoying the outdoor nursery facilities with a staff memberOutstanding Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare

The Ofsted Inspector also praised how well staff approach the personal development, behaviour and welfare of babies and children at the nursery. Importantly, they also recognised how this approach positively benefits those children:

“Staff constantly praise children’s achievements. This contributes to the high level of confidence and independence children display.”

The Ofsted Inspector further explained: “They learn to listen to others and join in routine activities, such as sweeping the floor and setting the table” also adding: “Children’s physical development is well supported. For example, young children develop good control of their movements as they clamber up steps and ramps. Children access well-organised outdoor play areas and use a wide range of resources.”

In regard to healthy, hygiene, welfare and well-being, the report says:

“Staff place the utmost priority on children’s health, hygiene, welfare and well-being. Babies are relaxed, settled and secure in the care of nurturing staff. ”

They went on to say: “Children enjoy regular walks and outings outside of the nursery, and staff use these opportunities to further broaden children’s experiences of people and communities.”

Outstanding Outcomes for Children

Awards and glowing Ofsted reports would mean nothing if they didn’t improve outcomes and life choices for children. Here again, though, Ofsted recognised the huge positive impact that Little Acorns Nursery has on children and babies under its care, commenting:

“All children make excellent progress given their starting points. They develop many important skills that help prepare them for their future learning, and they are exceptionally well motivated and eager to learn. Children are extremely successful at learning to do things for themselves …”

An Outstanding Nursery for Your Child in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, Central Lancashire

Children enjoying a Forest School session with Little Acorns Nursery, Chorley, PR6Are you looking for the best nurseries or pre-schools for your baby or child? Then consider Little Acorns Nursery in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, in Central Lancashire. Officially rated as “Outstanding” by Ofsted and picking up the best Individual Nursery Award in the National NMT Nursery Awards, nurseries and pre-schools simply don’t get any better than Little Acorns. We have a few spaces available at time of writing so, if this is of interest, please get in touch very soon to avoid disappointment:



Little Cedars are winners of the Individual Nursery Award 2020

Little Acorns are winners of the Individual Nursery Award 2020

Little Acorns Nursery is delighted to confirm that we WON the Best Individual Nursery Award at the 18th National NMT Nursery Awards towards the end of 2020. To win this unique award is an incredible achievement, particularly in the face of such strong competition from many other high quality nurseries from around the entire UK. We are extremely pleased and incredibly proud to have won this award.

The Little Acorns Nursery team celebrate their award winExcellent Feedback from the Judges

The NMT Nursery Awards are run by Nursery Management Today (‘NMT’) magazine. They are designed to “discover, reward and celebrate the very best people in the nursery sector,” from across the whole of the UK. The judges were really impressed by Little Acorns’ entry, particularly liking the Little Acorns Forest School, the high level of staff qualifications and the nursery’s strong involvement with the local community. They also thought the fundraiser for a nursery defibrillator was excellent. The judges felt that it was a close competition, however Little Acorns truly “deserved this award”.

Little Acorns truly “deserved this award”.

Thank you to everyone who made this award possible. At the nursery, we are so happy that everyone’s hard work, professionalism and dedication to our children, families and community has been recognised.

Why we won …

Below is a transcript of the video that supported Little Acorns Nursery’s winning entry into the 18th National NMT Nursery Awards for 2020. Presented to the judging panel by Sarah Smith, our nursery manager, it will also give parents and carers a real insight into why the nursery won the award and what makes Little Acorns so special. As you’ll see from the transcript below, Little Acorns really does go the extra mile for their children under their care — and for the families of those children. Sarah explains …

How Little Acorns Provides Excellent & High Quality Childcare

Little Acorns Nursery video“Hi, I’m Sarah. I’m the manager nursery at Little Acorns Nursery and have been for the last 12 years. We provide high quality nursery education for our children, because of the people that work here. They’re a very, very special bunch of people. Every teacher here understands the responsibility and the importance they play in childhood education and setting the foundations that all children need to help them to thrive in the future.

Little Acorns always felt like a family feel and our parents notice this; one of the things that that our parents always say about us is it feels more like a family, which is something that we feel is so special. Not only do we have an amazing team of passionate practitioners, but each room is led by extremely enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable leaders who champion the ethos of Little Acorns every single day through their own outstanding practice.

As well as the leaders within the nursery, we also have strong collaborative leadership from our CEO, Dr Javid Sultan, and our Managing Director Jennie Taylor who’s had 25 years nursery experience. We champion the NHS values and these are used, and they are the inspiration behind our own ethos and mission statement and what we value also.”

Mission: To bring together the best team who are dedicated to providing a nurturing and friendly environment where children are thriving, happy, have fun and learn through play.

Vision: To be recognised as the best in the area, providing a high standard of care and education through curiosity and outdoor learning.

What we Value: Achievement. Teamwork. Knowledge. Creativity. Growth. Family.

Activities in Place to Encourage Learning & Play for Children

“Each day, we are led by our children. We follow their interests and, through play-based learning, we support, we encourage, we model, explain, demonstrate, facilitate; we set challenges. We know each individual child’s focus area and every member of staff is responsible for furthering that child’s learning. Through our individual areas of focus and cohort focuses, we then plan activities. Everything we do has purpose.

The Biggest Challenges the Nursery has Faced & How it Overcame Them

“The biggest challenge that we’ve faced has been the most recent Covid-19 pandemic. It was a very difficult time for all of our children and families but we remained open for our families throughout the initial lockdown. And it’s something that we feel very strongly about continuing to do if ever there was another/second lockdown. We want to be able to provide that service still for our parents and families. It was a really difficult time, having our children at home and not having that consistency of seeing them here but we maintained contact; we stayed in touch with them via video link, we spoke to them regularly and they got to show us around their houses and have a chat to us about what they’ve been up to, which was really lovely for us to still see. And, for the children that were here, we gave lots more emotional support for our children and families and the parents when they needed it the most as well. And we overcame this because we work together as a team. And, because we have such passionate and enthusiastic practitioners that work here, we came together as a team and we we got through it all together.”

An Example of Exceptional Care that the Nursery is Particularly Proud of

“I believe that we provide exceptional care for our children and families, every single day. We recently did a charity fundraiser. All the staff came together and we wanted to raise money for a defibrillator for inside our nursery. So, we walked from Preston to Chorley Hospital and all of our parents sponsored us. We were able to raise enough money to buy a defibrillator for the nursery, which is something that we’re really, really proud of.

Everything that we do is for our children; they are at the centre of absolutely everything. We know the positive impact we had on all of our children and families during lockdown and we take great pride in knowing that we maintained an environment where children were happy, safe, loved and supported and where they learn and achieve. Children returning from lockdown came back to the same familiar place, with the same friendly faces and were welcomed back with open arms.

And, you know, the phrase “we’re all in this together” is something that we appreciate now more than ever and I feel very, very lucky to work in this environment with the teachers and practitioners that I work with — and to be part of Little Acorns. It’s an absolutely special place to be. Thank you.”

Looking for an Outstanding Nursery place in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley?

If you are looking for an outstanding nursery for your child in or around Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, in Lancashire (PR6), Little Acorns Nursery School will be hard to beat. That’s official, of course, with Ofsted’s most recent report judging us as ‘outstanding’ and now with this independently-judged ‘Best Independent Nursery’ award too. Only one nursery in the entire UK wins that award, so it says a huge amount about the quality of our childcare, staff, ethos and setting.

For more details about the nursery and a possible place for your child, please get in touch:

Book a Nursery Visit Message Us Call: 01772 696 288

This video presented by our nursery manager supports the National Nursery Management Today award for Best Independent Nursery in the UK and answers questions about the quality of care and education we provide here at Little Acorns. [UPDATE JANUARY 2021: We won! Check out the full details here!]