Shropshire Star

Double 'Outstanding' rating for Shrewsbury infant and toddler school after Ofsted inspections

A Shrewsbury school has been graded 'Outstanding' by Ofsted inspectors for both its nursery and pre-school departments.

Shrewsbury Prepatoria headteacher Jane Smalley and Victoria Wearing with pupils

Shrewsbury Prepatoria, based at Park Plaza in Shrewsbury, received two 'Outstanding' grades within months of each other for its nursery (babies and toddlers) and pre-school departments.

The nursery inspection took place on August 24, 2023, where the school received the highest rating in all areas – the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management.

Meanwhile, the pre-school inspection took place on May 23, 2023, where that department also received the highest rating in all areas.

Jane Smalley, principal of Shrewsbury Prepatoria, said the achievement was rare under the new Ofsted framework and praised members of staff for the results.

Commenting on the double success, Ms Smalley said: "I am enormously proud of my nursery educators and teachers for our latest 'Outstanding' grade from Ofsted.

"At Shrewsbury Prepatoria we have two separate departments, one for our babies and toddlers and one department for our foundation age children.

"Although we are one nursery and buildings are just next to each other, we have to have two separate inspections whenever we are inspected.

"This means that our leaders and managers are inspected twice, usually within a few weeks of each other. This can be quite stressful but we've done it again, this year.

"We've now been 'Outstanding' for the last 10 years, but we never sit back and rest. Rather, we think, what next? So, we're expanding and refurbishing.

"From January 2024 we'll have more beautiful spaces to accommodate the ever increasing demand from parents for an Outstanding nursery."

The inspector's report said that children in nursery (babies and toddlers), received "excellent care and education," in an environment that was " safe and secure in this stimulating, meticulously planned provision."

The inspector went on to say: "Staff warmly welcome children and parents into the setting on arrival. Children confidently access a wide range of high-quality resources, inside and outdoors, that promote development in all areas.

"They are incredibly happy and content. Babies proudly take their first steps while staff offer support and encouragement. Toddlers giggle as they crawl into play tunnels, meeting their friends in the middle.

"They experiment with the sounds they can make, listening to their voices echoing back as they play. Older children are absorbed in their learning as they make dough in the garden.

"They explore the different textures and talk enthusiastically to staff about what they are doing."

The inspector's report for the pre-school unit read: "Children attending this pre-school are immersed in an environment that nurtures a love of nature.

"Staff have high expectations of every child. They nurture children's curiosity about the world around them and take them on a journey of endless opportunities to explore.

"Children discover caterpillars that drop down from the trees in the stimulating outdoor learning environment.

"Staff teach children about the life cycle of a butterfly through imaginative activities that embed their understanding.

"Children have meaningful discussions with staff about fruits that are seasonal, and discover that British plums are not ripe until the autumn."