17 May 2016 Dear Parent/Carer I visited and inspected your child’s

17 May 2016
Dear Parent/Carer
Riverside Childcare
Recently, as you may know, my colleagues and I visited and inspected your child’s
early learning and childcare (ELC) setting. Throughout our visit we talked to parents
and children and we worked closely with the management team and staff. We
wanted to find out how well children were learning and achieving and how well the
ELC setting supported children to do their best. The management team shared with
us the ELC setting’s successes and priorities for improvement. We looked at some
particular aspects of the ELC setting’s recent work including enabling environments,
balance of child and adult directed play and tracking children’s progress. As a result,
we were able to find out how good the ELC setting was at improving children’s
education. I would now like to tell you what we found.
How well do children learn and achieve?
Children are learning and achieving very well as a result of the quality of their
experiences. Across the setting, babies, toddlers and children, including older
children who use the after school club, are settled, happy and relaxed. Babies and
the younger children use their senses to explore smells and textures and are
confident when trying new experiences. All children make choices about where and
what they want to learn. Children are well supported to do this independently, or
with support, through the use of photographs. Children concentrate very well and
spend good periods of time involved in interesting and stimulating activities. For
example, older children spent a long time using magnets with a range of resources.
Babies and toddlers enjoy looking at their favourite books. Children of all ages enjoy
their learning. Much of their learning takes place outdoors in the well-developed,
well-resourced and varied outdoor play areas where they are developing their
imaginative play and investigating their environment. All children have learning
journey profiles which contain photos, comments and examples of their artwork.
Parents can access these folders at any time. We have asked staff to make the
learning journey profiles freely accessible to children at all times. Staff are
developing approaches to ask children about their learning in order to further inform
next steps. Children are now ready to have even greater involvement through, for
Education Scotland
Denholm House
Almondvale Business Park
Almondvale Way
EH54 6GA
0131 244 3986
0131 244 6221
[email protected]
Transforming lives through learning
example, discussing in more depth what they are learning and planning what they
can do next.
Children are making very good progress with their early literacy and language skills
and their early numeracy and mathematics skills. Children under three are
developing their early language skills as they communicate in their own way with
staff. They are also developing their awareness and early understanding of the
concepts of number, volume and shape as they play simple games, sing number
songs and explore natural objects. Almost all children use their own drawings and
written marks to express ideas and feelings. The older children listen well and are
confident in talking with adults including those not well known to them. They enjoy
developing their language skills in the construction area as they name tools and
discuss their knowledge of repairs and fixing items. Almost all children are
developing and applying their skills in early numeracy and mathematics in real life
and meaningful contexts such as baking and cooking. Children are able to engage
in extended, daily physical play. The setting’s outdoor environment allows for
children to engage in a wide range of activities. Children’s achievements and
successes are shared throughout the setting. Children are knowledgeable of
ecological and sustainable issues through their work indoors and outdoors. A key
feature of the work is the commitment to Fair Trade where children and staff work
together with children from the out-of-school care service to host a Fair Trade
enterprise event.
How well does the early learning and childcare setting support children to
develop and learn?
Children are supported very well to develop and learn. Across the playrooms, staff
are focused on helping children to become successful in their learning. There is a
very strong holistic approach to meeting the needs of children and their families.
Supporting the whole family is seen as the key to developing children’s learning and
development. In discussion and through questionnaires you, as parents, told us that
you are very happy with how your children are supported in the setting. Children
who need additional help with their learning are identified and supported at an early
stage. Staff work very well with parents and a range of partner agencies to support
children’s needs, for example, with speech and language therapists or the
educational psychologist. Staff successfully incorporate advice provided by partners
into their planning for individual children. In order for children to achieve even more,
staff should now further develop observations of learning, to be carefully focused on
each individual child’s progress and next steps. This will support more effective
assessment of children’s progress in order for targeted support and challenge.
National guidance and a sound understanding of how children develop enable staff
to plan stimulating experiences for the youngest children. Staff working with children
aged three to five use Curriculum for Excellence to help plan an appropriate balance
of child-led and new experiences. Staff use the local area and local community well
to enhance the curriculum. For example, children visit museums, shops and the
local library for Bookbug session. This ensures a broad curriculum that interests and
motivates young learners. The outdoor learning environment has been developed
very well to become a strength and provides very good opportunities for high quality
learning. During our visit we discussed with staff how learning environments for
children aged three to five years could be used more flexibly to promote even more
choice and breadth in learning. Transition into the setting and on to primary school
is very effective and provides children and families with very good support. Staff
should continue to develop transition arrangements to ensure progression of learning
across the early level curriculum.
How well does the early learning and childcare setting improve the quality of
its work?
We are confident that the setting is improving the quality of its work. There is a
strong commitment from management and staff to continue to ensure the very best
outcomes for children and families. Staff were extremely enthusiastic during the
inspection process and keen to discuss ideas that would help the setting become
even better. Procedures are in place for monitoring the work of the setting. Staff
work very well together, they reflect on experiences offered to children each day and
make changes to improve the setting. This will ensure that all children make the
very best progress that they are capable of. The management recognises the
strengths in the staff team and encourages and promotes opportunities for
individuals to develop leadership skills and qualities. As a result, a number of staff
have additional responsibilities. This is helping them learn and develop new skills as
well as enhance the quality of the setting. In order for children to achieve even
more, staff should continue with developments in monitoring and tracking of
children’s progress across their learning. With the clear vision for the future
development of the setting and the enthusiasm of the management and staff, they
are very well placed to continue to improve the quality of provision for children.
Our inspection of your ELC setting found the following key strengths.
Children who are very capable, confident and motivated.
Very strong relationships with parents and other professionals leading to effective
support for children with additional support needs.
The development of the outdoor area providing a rich learning environment which
is enhancing children’s learning experiences.
Strong leadership of the management team in developing their committed staff
team, leading to very positive experiences for children and families.
We discussed with staff and the education authority how they might continue to
improve the ELC setting. This is what we agreed with them.
Continue to plan for children to be more actively involved in reviewing their
Continue to develop Curriculum for Excellence to ensure children make the very
best progress.
Build on the use of self-evaluation to better review and improve the work of the
What happens at the end of the inspection?
We are satisfied with the overall quality of provision. We are confident that the ELC
setting’s self-evaluation processes are leading to improvements. As a result, we will
make no further visits in connection with this inspection. As part of the arrangements
for reporting to parents on the quality of the ELC, the local authority will inform
parents about the setting’s progress.
Noreen Phillips
HM Inspector
Additional inspection evidence, such as details of the quality indicator evaluations for
your setting can be found on the Education Scotland website at
If you would like to receive this letter 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 0131 244 4330, or e-mail:
[email protected] or write to us addressing your letter to the
Complaints Manager, Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Livingston
EH54 6GA.