A London nursery has been told to improve by the education watchdog Ofsted after toddlers were left to play by themselves too often. Violet Melchett Nursery in Kensington and Chelsea was given a “requires improvement” rating as staff were also alleged to have unrealistic expectations of kids’ behaviour.
After an inspection of the nursery in May, Ofsted said kids were making progress with language at different speeds, partly due to limited interaction with staff.
Its report read: “The quality of interactions between children and staff is variable. In the baby room, staff model language well. They constantly narrate what babies are doing as they play and they sing to the babies throughout the day.
“This helps babies to make progress in their language development. However, too often, staff leave older children to play with limited interaction from themselves. This means that the progress that children make in their communication and language is variable. “
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The education watchdog noted some staff didn’t understand what some kids could do and what they need to learn next. This means they can’t plan for them.
An Ofsted report into the nursery said: “In these situations, children make slower progress. Leaders work very hard to support children with special educational needs and disabilities. This is a real strength of the setting.”
The school, managed by Kensington and Chelsea Council, was not always consistent in communicating with parents. Some parents don’t receive regular information about what their child has been doing that day at nursery so they can’t help them learn at home.
But inspectors also said leaders had put measures in place to ensure children are safe within the premises after a “safeguarding incident”, and the school now has a plan going forward to make sure children are well supervised at all times.
The report added: “Children have access to a large range of resources in the nursery. However, leaders do not make sure that some rooms are kept tidy enough. Some areas are cluttered and resources are poorly organised at times. This can be overwhelming for children and makes it harder for them to explore the room and develop their curiosity and independence.”
Ofsted praised staff for looking after babies by singing to them and narrating what they are doing so they can pick up language. Children were able to serve themselves snacks and could use a knife and fork well. They were also praised for clearing away their plates and this builds their self-esteem.
A Kensington and Chelsea spokesperson said: “The Council has taken immediate action to address every point raised in this Ofsted report and we have implemented a robust action plan.
“This includes a targeted manager-visits to the nursery throughout the week; work with individual members of the team, access to training courses and resources; and we’re carrying out regular supervision sessions with all staff.
“We continue to have regular communication with parents but encourage anyone with additional concerns to contact the Council.”
Update 21/06/22: This story has been updated to change ‘blasted’ for ‘criticised’ in headline to better reflect the nature of the Ofsted report.