'Warm, welcoming and safe.' Wigan nursery hailed by inspectors just months after opening

A Wigan nursery which opened its doors just seven months ago has been praised by inspectors.
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Mum-of-three Catherine Brown said it was a “dream come true” when she opened Little Bears Standish Ltd in July with husband Andrew, after working in education for 32 years.

It was something she had always wanted to do and she was delighted to secure a premises in the village where she lives.

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Now, the centre on Almond Brook Road has been rated as “good” in all areas following the first inspection by Ofsted.

Catherine Brown, director of Little Bears Standish LtdCatherine Brown, director of Little Bears Standish Ltd
Catherine Brown, director of Little Bears Standish Ltd
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Inspector Emma Barrow wrote: “The nursery is a warm, welcoming and safe environment for children to learn and develop. Staff provide a variety of interesting resources and equipment to support children's development in all areas of learning. They plan activities to build on what children already know.”

Ofsted found staff supported children’s listening and speaking skills, as well as their mathematical development.

They were “good role models” and gave “clear messages” about behaviour expectations, with children behaving “well” and playing “harmoniously” together

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The youngsters’ physical health and well-being was a “high priority”, with healthy meals and snacks provided, regular access to fresh air and physical activity, and comfortable places to rest and sleep.

The inspector said parents spoke “positively” about the nursery and staff regularly shared information about their children’s progress.

The report said: “The setting has been open for a short time. In this time, the manager has created a secure and stable staff team. New staff are establishing positive, trusting and warm relationships with children and their families.”

Safeguarding was described as “effective”, with the inspector writing: “There is an open and positive culture around safeguarding that puts children's interests first.”

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The professional development of staff was said to be “effective” with “some good training opportunities”, but the inspector suggested staff could gain wider knowledge beyond mandatory training.

She also recommended support should be given to staff to use spontaneous opportunities to further challenge children during freely chosen activities.

The site was previously home to Almond Brook All Stars Nursery, which closed last year after a damning report and “inadequate” rating from Ofsted. Little Bears has no links to that organisation.

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