Kay Rowe Nursery School in Newham has achieved Centre of Excellence status.
Kay Rowe Nursery School and Children’s Centre has been providing nursery education and care in the London Borough of Newham for more than 50 years. Firstly, as Osborne Road Nursery and then as Kay Rowe Nursery School. The school was designated a Children’s Centre in 2006. The school is an average-sized nursery school.
It caters for 120 children – 60 in the morning and 60 in the afternoon. It also offers “wraparound” care for children which would be 8.00 am – 12.30 pm including breakfast and lunch and 11.30 am – 6.00 pm including lunch and after school club. A few children attend for the full day.
The Nursery piloted the Government’s 30 hours funded places for working families in 2016/17 and in 2017/18 extended this to 30 places. The school offers wraparound care for 49 weeks per year and is open from 8 am until 6 pm.
The nursery has a long-standing reputation in the community for offering high quality support to families. Its designation as a Children’s Centre has meant that it has been able to extend this and there are now a wide range of activities for families to attend ranging from baby groups, toddler groups and family support such as employment information and parenting groups. The school has many strong links with other schools and organisations in the area and is part of the North Newham Learning Partnership, which is made up of 8 other local nurseries, primary and post primary schools. This supports school improvement. The Nursery is also the lead in the Early Years’ forum which looks at sharing good practice across the nursery sector, as well as being a partner with the East London Early Years and Schools’ Teaching School.
Kay Rowe serves a culturally diverse catchment area with many children coming from a variety of ethnic groups many of whom speak English as a second language. There are many families facing multiple challenges which includes high levels of social deprivation, poor and overcrowded housing and poor health e.g. Magpie project.
A Rising Population
Within London, Newham is a distinctive place with a unique population – it has the youngest populace in England and Wales and is one of the most diverse places in the UK. The population is rising and is projected to continue to rise significantly. Newham now has the 7th highest population in London. It is the second highest percentage increase in the country. Newham also has high levels of population mobility compared to London as a whole.
An Inclusive Perspective
As a school, Kay Rowe firmly believes that educating students from vastly different backgrounds, with different talents and abilities alongside one another, creates a more rounded, socially open citizen and a more cohesive society.
Sharing a Site
Kay Rowe Children’s Centre is on the same site as the nursery school. Although the governors manage it, it was not part of this assessment or validation. The Nursery works closely with it, to ensure continuity for the children of the local community.
Warm and Welcoming
Kay Rowe Nursery, from the moment you enter, creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere with a positive ethos of support and Inclusion. The promotion of Inclusion is a team effort, which is led by the strongly inclusive Head and Inclusion Manager, both of whom have advanced qualifications in SEN. They, along with the staff, set a positive tone for all the work the school undertakes to do and are respected by all the stakeholders. Inclusion is at the centre of the school’s ethos and practice and embedded into the life of the school.
The Importance of the Headteacher
The Head plays an important part in the life of the school. In the recent OFSTED report the comment was: “her leadership is outstanding…this enables all staff to work collaboratively… the school maintains high standards, this is achieved by accurate and rigorous self-evaluation, linked to detailed planning.”
Exciting and Stimulating
The school makes the most of the school buildings and grounds to create an exciting and stimulating learning environment for all learners. The outdoor learning environment is spacious and offers children a variety of exciting opportunities to explore and for creative and investigative play.
Valued and Supported Staff
The teaching and support staff spoke positively about life within the school, especially the good communication. All felt equally valued and supported by the Head and SLT. The supportive policies and procedures ensure consistency in approach in many aspects of school life. There is a shared understanding that children and their attainment are the focus of school life. The staff of the school know their pupils extremely well; they are required to differentiate work so as to meet the individual needs of the pupils and to have high expectations of all. They have very good relationships with the children and this was evident on the day of the assessment. They are energetic and supportive and fully committed to ensure that each child will endeavour to reach their full potential and overcome any barrier to learning. All the staff spoke highly of the inclusive practice of the school and all share a common vision in this regard. Staff are encouraged, through a well-structured CPD and coaching programme, to ensure they have the skills to deliver an innovative and challenging preschool curriculum to the children.
Good Planning and Assessment Procedures
Within the school there continues to be good planning and assessment procedures, which are accompanied by good tracking of individual pupil progress. This makes sure that pupils continue to be well supported. The regular pupil progress meetings review interventions and ensure that children are continuing to make the progress that is expected of them. Teachers know their pupils well and assessment is extremely good. There is good liaison with TAs who are closely involved in the learning process and run many of the interventions.
Highly Effective Governance
The Governance of the school remains highly effective, a strength noted in the 2013 OFSTED report. Governors were referred to as “passionate” about their school during the day of assessment. The Governing Body has a clear and shared vision for Inclusion and this is an item that is regularly discussed at Governors’ meetings. Each Governor has a clear remit within the school and working groups of Governors monitor the school’s performance. Governors offer challenge and support. They attend training offered by the local LA and are proactive in seeking external advice and support. They monitor the effectiveness and impact of the School Development Plan on pupil achievement. OFSTED noted in their inspection that Governors fully understood their remit when it came to school finances and the impact this has in maintaining high standards of teaching and learning. The report also acknowledged the clarity of vision and strategic direction of Governors and the exceptional care provided by all within the school.
The children of the school are very happy and extremely well behaved. Within the recent OFSTED report this aspect of school life was graded as Outstanding:
“Children are polite and kind to each other and their teachers, they know how to behave around the school and how to play productively indoors and outdoors…. their behaviour is managed exceptionally well through clear and consistently positive messages from all adults. Children are keen to help around the school by preparing for snack time and tidying up.”
Children Love Being at School
All the observations on the day were ones of children who love being at their school and appreciate all the staff do for them. The children enjoy the range of learning experiences and have many opportunities to develop their leadership skills, at an age appropriate level. The children know their needs will be met and barriers to learning challenged through confidence building and engaging and challenging teaching and learning.
Rigorously Monitored Progress
Progress is rigorously monitored through pupil tracking and intervention programmes are put in place for targeted children, who are not making the required progress. Achievements of children are celebrated in an age appropriate way.
Redeveloped Play Space
There has been significant spend in the redevelopment of the play space for all children. There is a wonderful outdoor play area for children. Children observed in this area were playing together and were being creative and using the exciting language of play.
Successful Home School Links
One of the keys to success is the link between home and school. The school works hard to encourage parents and the wider community to take an active part in the education of their child, where the school and parents work as partners in the education of their children, and greatly value their contribution to school life e.g. “Dad’s Day” and the Bengali Mums’ project. The parents of the school fully appreciate all the school does for their children and indeed during discussion many highlighted how both the school and the Head have gone over and above expectation for them, especially where children have encountered difficulties no matter what these may be. They feel that they are co-educators and partners in their child’s learning, with needs identified and programmes put in place to remediate difficulties, some parents actively travel from outside the catchment area to have their child attend the Nursery. “We fought to have our child attend this Nursery as it offered the correct provision for them”. These programmes are reviewed termly. Parents spoke about the commitment of the school to ensure that their children attain their full potential. Parents recognise and appreciate the child centred focus of the staff. There are extremely good communications and parents are regularly updated on all that is ongoing within the life of the school, through a variety of means.
Excellent Reputation in the Local Community
The school has an excellent reputation in the local community and it is held in very high regard. It welcomes visitors from the local community and engages with the local community also e.g. the trip to the local hardware shop to buy wood for the new play house. The school has good links with other local Nursery schools, Primary schools and Post Primary schools and works in a local cluster to share good practice. This impacts on the school in a very positive way.
Energy and Aspiration
Kay Rowe is an excellent example of inclusive practice and energy and aspiration.
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