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Rough Common Pre-School and New House Nursery School in Canterbury rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted

By Marijke Hall

A nursery saved from closure by parents has been rated outstanding by Ofsted.

Rough Common Pre-School had been run by a committee until five years ago when parent Michelle Seary stepped in to halt its closure, opening it as a private nursery and employing other parents as staff.

Manager Nicky Webb says the nursery in Rough Common Road has gone from strength to strength, rated good in May 2016 and now outstanding.

Staff and youngsters at Rough Common Pre-School celebrate 'outstanding' Ofsted results
Staff and youngsters at Rough Common Pre-School celebrate 'outstanding' Ofsted results

“We’ve got staff whose children went through this nursery years ago so it’s very important to us all,” she said.

“We have an ‘in the moment’ learning approach so it’s very child-led.

The children set their own learning and because of this we find they are really engaged.

“We’ve got rid of big plastic toys and equipment and have loose parts made from natural resources which the children can use to build things and play with.”

Ofsted inspector Sara Garrity praised the “inspiring” leadership and said the dedicated, enthusiastic and highly-skilled team is passionate about improving outcomes for youngsters.

Rough Common Pre-School directors Michelle Seary, Janine Scott and area manager Nicola Webb with three-year-old Zac Seary
Rough Common Pre-School directors Michelle Seary, Janine Scott and area manager Nicola Webb with three-year-old Zac Seary

She added that the children, aged from six months to four years, are extremely independent and happy, have excellent manners and behaviour, and make tremendous progress.

Ms Seary praised her team, saying they give their all to create an inviting and highly stimulating environment.

“Their passion and dedication is clear to see not only just through the report, but also by seeing them everyday with the children,” she added.

Another Canterbury nursery, New House Nursery School in New House Lane, is also celebrating after retaining its outstanding rating.

Canterbury New House Nursery school celebrates an 'outstanding' Ofsted report
Canterbury New House Nursery school celebrates an 'outstanding' Ofsted report

Owner Jane Hicks, who took over almost 20 years ago and was described as an “inspirational and passionate” leader by Ofsted, says they are ecstatic.

“I was particularly pleased because two of my longest serving members of staff who have retired but do supply work were here the day of inspection,” she said.

“It means we got to share it with them.”

She says she works alongside her team on the nursery floor meaning she can see what’s going on and make any improvements where needed.

Canterbury New House Nursery school principal Jane Hicks with Thea Small and Vincent Chidwick, both four
Canterbury New House Nursery school principal Jane Hicks with Thea Small and Vincent Chidwick, both four

“We also have a fantastic outdoor environment which provides brilliant learning for the children,” she added. “We get really great feedback from the reception teachers of the schools we feed into.”

Inspector Ms Garrity said youngsters have an abundance of stimulating and vibrant experiences and that their behaviour is exceptional.

“All children, including those who speak English as an additional language, make outstanding progress from their starting points,” she added.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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