An Aberdeen children’s centre branded “weak” five years ago has been given a glowing report by inspectors.
Monitors from the Care Inspectorate watchdog visited Fersands Family Centre Nursery and Creche at Woodside Fountain Centre on Marquis Road, Aberdeen, on February 14 and have now published their report.
They praised staff for encouraging children to adapt an “ethos of respect” and harness “positive trusting relationships”.
It is a far cry from the findings of a Care Inspectorate inspection carried out in 2015, after which monitors expressed concerns about children’s safety in the outdoor play area and about staff needing to ensure they were aware of people entering and leaving the nursery.
Back in 2015, the watchdog measured the nursery in nine key indicators and rated it “unsatisfactory” – the worst of six possible ratings – in two areas and “weak” – the second-worst rating – in nine.
However, after the latest visit, inspectors have rated the nursery “very good” – the second-best rating – for care, support and for the nursery environment.
“Children and families received a warm and friendly welcome at Fersands,” said the report.
It added: “Parents valued the centre and its staff highly and the children arrived happy and enthusiastic.
“There was an ethos of respect for all. Positive trusting relationships supported helpful conversations which meant key workers knew children’s needs and interests and parents’ wishes well.
“These were reflected fully in carefully written personal plans.
“Key workers spoke confidently describing children’s personalities and progress in their learning and development.”
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Monitors acknowledged staff efforts to ensure children enjoyed the lunch break.
The report said: “Children enjoyed a relaxed and unhurried sociable snack time.
“Menus reflected healthy choices and children were encouraged to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
“Children always had access to drinking water to support good hydration.”
The watchdog complimented the nursery’s leaders for improving the building and workers for communicating well.
“The accommodation was modern and purpose-built,” said the report.
It added: “Significant improvements had been made since the previous inspection which enhanced outcomes for children.
“A dividing wall had been removed to make one spacious playroom.
“The playroom was well laid out with distinct play areas and cosy corners to relax and read books.
“Communication was effective, the whole staff team met regularly to share information and plan care for children in the nursery and wider support for families.
“The overarching Fersands and Fountain project involved people and was responsive to the needs of the community.”
Parents also praised staff. When asked by inspectors, one parent said: “Generally, I am happy with the service my child receives at nursery. People who work there are very friendly and do their jobs very well.”
The nursery’s project co-ordinator Mark Lovie said: “The family centre team has worked very hard to increase childcare hours for families and improve the service and setting.
“We have taken down indoor walls, created a new mud kitchen and removed an old climbing frame to allow space for more imginitive play.
“We are glad to see this has had a significant improvement on the children’s learning and are very proud to achieve a standard recognised as ‘very good’.”