18 March 2014 Dear Parent/Carer I visited and inspected your child’s

18 March 2014
Dear Parent/Carer
ABC Nursery Ecclefechan
Recently, as you may know, my colleague and I visited and inspected your child’s
pre-school centre. During our visit, we talked to parents and children and we worked
closely with the head of centre and staff. We wanted to find out how well children
are learning and achieving and how well the pre-school centre supports children to
do their best. The head of centre shared with us the pre-school centre’s successes
and priorities for improvement. We looked at some particular aspects of the
pre-school centre’s recent work, including partnership with parents, development of
garden and lunchtime arrangements. As a result, we were able to find out how good
the pre-school centre is at improving children’s education.
How well do children learn and achieve?
Most children are actively engaged in their chosen activities. During lunchtimes
children interact and support each other very well. Younger children particularly
benefit from this as they are served and encouraged to eat by their older friends.
They are learning about caring for their world as they have an early awareness of
recycling and how food waste in the compost bin helps plants grow. Children aged
three to five are not yet taking responsibility for their learning. Overall, too many of
their activities are directed by adults and children find them too easy. They would
benefit from regular conversations with staff about what they are doing and how to
plan what they want to learn next. Children are becoming more aware of others as
they share activities at the local day care centre for older people.
How well does the pre-school centre support children to develop and learn?
Children aged three to five are not making sufficient progress in their learning. They
require to be supported further by staff to help them develop and apply their early
skills in literacy and numeracy. Most children speak confidently with each other and
adults. Almost all children can identify and write their name. They enjoy
mark-making outdoors using chalk. A few children are at the early stages of wanting
to write during their play. In numeracy, children are interested in finding out about
numbers. However, they require much more challenging and stimulating activities to
Education Scotland
Denholm House
Almondvale Business Park
Almondvale Way
EH54 6GA
01506 600 308
01506 600 313
E [email protected]
Textphone 01506 600236
This is a service for deaf users. Please do not
use this number for voice calls as this will not
Transforming lives through learning
help them develop skills and capture their interest. Children are not making
appropriate progress in mathematics as they lack confidence in using early
mathematical language. They are increasing their investigative skills as they find out
about how bees live and honey is made. Children need more opportunities to
develop their skills in using a variety of technology.
How well does the pre-school centre improve the quality of its work?
The curriculum is unsatisfactory. Staff are not making effective use of Curriculum for
Excellence guidance to support children in their learning. As a priority they need to
increase their knowledge and understanding of what is expected to ensure children
make appropriate progress in all areas of the curriculum. When observing children
during their play, staff need to place a greater focus on their prior learning,
achievement and what they want to learn next. They need to be more responsive to
their needs. Better and more consistent use could be made of their children’s
personal learning profiles to support this. Children’s learning experiences across all
areas of the curriculum need to be of a much higher quality to allow them to develop
their skills in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing across their learning. In
supporting the curriculum, staff make use of the local community and parents who
share their skills and interests with the children, for example Zumba dancing and life
on the farm. Children have access to outdoors on a regular basis where they are
developing their appreciation of the natural world in an interesting and well-planned
Staff provide a welcoming environment for children and their families. Parents find
staff approachable and supportive. They are becoming more involved in their
children’s learning as they share activities recorded in ‘Big Books’ and participate in
successful special days such as Father's Day. A few parents would welcome more
information on their children’s progress. In supporting children’s wellbeing the
provider should revise the approach taken to safeguarding and child protection
How well does the centre improve the quality of its work?
The provider and manager’s monitoring of the work of the nursery is unsatisfactory.
There is no clear focus on improving children’s learning experiences. Along with
staff they need to introduce a more rigorous, robust and systematic approach to
monitoring children’s progress. Previous identified areas of improvement such as
partnership with parents has been successful. However, there now needs to be a
greater emphasis on developing the pace of learning and the levels of challenge all
children require in their learning. Training opportunities offered by the local authority
are not always attended by staff. We feel that the nursery is not fully supporting
children’s learning and development. The provider needs to have a clearer focus,
shared with staff, on developing the work of the nursery. They should prepare and
implement an improvement plan which improves the quality of learning experiences.
Our inspection of your pre-school centre found the following key strengths.
Approachable staff and partnership with parents.
Developments to the garden to support children’s appreciation of the natural
We discussed with staff and the education authority how they might continue to
improve the pre-school centre. This is what we agreed with them.
Staff need to increase their knowledge and understanding of Curriculum for
Excellence to ensure that children make appropriate progress in their learning.
The provider and staff need to have a greater focus on developing higher quality
learning experiences for all children.
The provider needs to develop and implement a rigorous, robust and systematic
approach to monitoring the work of the nursery.
Involve children more in planning and developing their learning.
What happens at the end of the inspection?
As a result of our inspection findings we think that the pre-school centre needs
additional support and more time to make necessary improvements. Our Area Lead
Officer and Lead Officer Early Education along with the local authority will discuss the
most appropriate support in order to build capacity for improvement, and will maintain
contact to monitor progress. We will return to evaluate aspects of provision and the
progress in improving provision within six months of publication of this letter. We will
then issue another letter to parents on the extent to which the pre-school centre has
Gordon Buchanan
Managing Inspector
Allison Tyson
Care Inspectorate Officer
Additional inspection evidence, such as details of the quality indicator evaluations,
for your school can be found on the Education Scotland website at
If you would like to receive this report in a different format, for example, in a
translation please contact the administration team on the above telephone number.
If you want to give us feedback or make a complaint about our work, please contact
us by telephone on 0141 282 5000, or e-mail:
[email protected] or write to us addressing your letter to the
Complaints Manager, Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Livingston
EH54 6GA.