Rebecca Cheetham Nursery and Children’s Centre in Newham achieves Flagship School status.
Passionate about Improving Outcomes
The school motto of “forging forces to give children the best start in life” was very evident during the review. Leaders and staff are passionate about improving the outcomes of the children in their care as well as their families. The importance of working with parents was a strong element of the discussions that were undertaken during the day. The challenge of closing the Nursery because of COVID-19 to the majority of children in their care was of great concern to the team at Rebecca Cheetham. The team was spending time developing ways of sharing resources such as paper and creative materials with children. Members of the team had developed bags that parents could collect from the school. Other developments included making online videos of the staff telling and reading stories as well as singing songs that parents could use with their children. The feedback from a parent was incredibly positive about being able to access “colouring and craft and the videos with the staff singing.”
Supporting Both Children and Parents
Prior to the outbreak the school has consistently looked at ways to ensure all children are accessing special days without paying large amounts of money. At the recent World Book Day parents were encouraged to come into school to make a costume for the event rather than buying one. Prizes were given for the best homemade costume. The school has developed its Life Skills programme which supports both children and parents in accessing the outside community. Events include Forest School in the local park, swimming at the local leisure centre as well as travelling on a bus or a train. Leaders have recognised that some parents need to develop the skills of using the local community as much as their children and so have developed the programme to support them.
Working Closely with Partners
The Children’s Centre is attached to the Nursery and works closely with the team. The focus on developing parent skills is reflected with the range of courses offered by the Centre. There is a regular Stay and Play session with different themes on offer, the most recent sessions considered the importance of role play, construction play as well as the author of the month. The staff from the children’s centre work in different centres during the week providing regular events for parents and children. The team include Family Support Workers as well as Early Years Practitioners. External agency staff from Health visitors to Nutritionists are also available to support parents. A parent commented on the benefit of having the expertise available at the school describing how the support they had received with regard to development of a menu plan to encourage the child to try different foods. Each month an educational visit is planned for parents to access with their children.
Personalised Learning Approaches
Ofsted commented that “adults have an excellent understanding of what each child needs next.” From discussion with staff and a Governor it was evident that the team focus on personalised learning approaches for all children. Staff baseline children in all areas and regularly review progress. The team have developed a targeted group approach for the children which they have developed over the year.
Governors Ask Challenging Questions
The Governing Body are kept up to date by the SEND Governor who visits termly and meets with the Inclusion Lead. The SEND Governor completes a termly report which is shared at the termly Governor meetings alongside the Headteacher updates. The school uses a data tracking system to support them in showing children’s progress. The data is also shared with Governors who are confident in asking challenging questions. Governors complete a yearly skills’ audit to ensure they are able to offer the right level of expertise and challenge. The Governor was also very proud of the team at Rebecca Cheetham and the commitment leaders and staff have to creating a fully “inclusive environment.”
Professional Development and Well-Being
Leaders have recognised the importance of the whole team with their commitment to continued professional development as well as their focus on well-being. Staff commented on the weekly training on a Wednesday as well as the opportunity to attend the yearly Early Years Conference. Leaders have planned yoga and mindfulness sessions that staff are also able to attend. Sickness day prior to the well-being developments were around 460 three years ago compared to 123 days in the last year. From both staff and the leader’s comments such as “love working here…. a sense of not letting each other down…all work together……like a big family…” contribute to the sense of commitment there is to the children. The team are focused on “giving children the best” experiences they are able. Rebecca Cheetham justifiably deserves its Outstanding from Ofsted.
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