Church preschool awarded second Outstanding Ofsted rating

The team at URC Preschool and Nursery in Harpenden.

The team at URC Preschool and Nursery in Harpenden. - Credit: URC Preschool

A Harpenden-based church pre-school has gained its second Outstanding Ofsted rating in a decade.

The URC (United Reformed Church) Preschool and Nursery in Vaughan Road has been welcoming children and supporting their families for more than 50 years. They accept children aged from two years old and above, with the aim of providing a warm, nurturing environment where children can learn and develop through play.

Their latest Outstanding rating follows a previous inspection which recorded the same level in 2014.

Lorraine Robinson, who has been manager of the URC Preschool since early 2017, said they were delighted with the result: “Due to recent changes in the Early Years Foundation Stage it has become much harder for nurseries to achieve this top rating, so we are really proud to have achieved it across all four categories.

"We were pleased that the report recognised that the children “flourish in this stimulating learning environment” and that they “…..make excellent progress in the nursery…and are encouraged to explore their ideas further.” The report also stated that the “relationships between staff and families are outstanding. All parents spoken to were incredibly complimentary about the nursery and staff.”

"The report highlighted that “the manager and her team plan an extremely interesting and challenging curriculum based upon children’s interests...” and that the “children display exceptionally high levels of confidence.” Furthermore the report stated that the “arrangements for safeguarding are effective….and the manager and staff display an exceptionally strong understanding of their role in keeping children safe.”

"We are particularly proud of the fact that the inspector highlighted our extra provision during lockdown. This was a difficult time for everyone and we tried our best to support children and families as much as possible, with the report stating that “the manager and staff maintained close contact with families.…providing excellent ideas on how to continue children’s learning at home…..and exceptional practice and emotional support for parents during this difficult period...”