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Outstanding Spalding nursery celebrates top Ofsted report

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An ‘outstanding’ nursery is celebrating a top report from inspectors.

Dedicated staff at Puddleducks Day Nursery are over the moon to receive the Outstanding rating from Ofsted inspectors.

Owner Sheona Smith (50) started the nursery in 1995 and has a mission to teach children to care.

Puddleduck Nursery in Spalding (56453219)
Puddleduck Nursery in Spalding (56453219)

Mrs Smith said: “I am incredibly proud of the rating and the staff.

“It is down to the dedication and hard work from all of my team and a lot of them have been with me for a long time.

“We have children of children coming back now. We have a mission statement about teaching the children to care for themselves, each other and their environment.”

Puddleducks, based in Holland Road, praises the passion and dedication of the team, which offers a tailored curriculum and targeted support.

Inspectors, who visited the site in March, praised the behaviour of children and staff’s consistent approach.

The report states: “Children show superb respect for others. Babies show newfound confidence as they dance in front of the whole group of children during a music session. Not only do staff offer praise, all children join in with a ‘well done’ and clap their hands.”

It also praises the nursery for ensuring children spend a lot of time outdoors, and youngsters also have a session with the Music Man.

The report states: “Parents speak very highly about the nursery. Parents of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities comment how the owner and staff have gone above and beyond in supporting the whole family.

“Reception teachers comment they can tell the children who come from this nursery, as they are exceptionally well prepared to start school.”

The nursery looks after 28 children, ranging between babies and five-year-olds - and is fully booked up until September 2023.

Currently, Spalding has a shortage of nursery places after the closure of Little Treasures earlier this year.

Mrs Smith, who stated that it was hard to watch children progress onto school, said that it was heartbreaking having to turn parents away.

She said: “We have parents turn up after the closure of one nursery and we have had parents on the doorstep crying as they couldn’t go to work that day and were going to lose their jobs.

“We had something like 17 to 18 phone calls after closure.

“I can’t and don’t want to expand and it is very hard at the moment to find staff. I am very lucky to have the staff that I do.”

The Government currently funds 570 free hours per year for three to four year-olds and Mrs Smith feels that the system needs looking at.

She said: “We receive £4.20 an hour from the Government and it doesn’t even cover our costs. We run our nursery on a higher staff ratio than the Government suggest as safe. If we run on those ratios I would have two staff members working with 16 kids.

“We work with three to four staff for that amount of children. They all Level 3 quaulified practitioners.”

- Have you had issues finding childcare? Please contact News Editor Victoria Fear on 01775 765428.

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