We were visited by OFSTED in March of last year. Despite having made vast improvements, we fell short of achieving a GOOD outcome. You can view the report, here .

Since then we have made it our mission to ensure that our next inspection has the best outcome possible. We have taken on board all criticisms and channeled them into the new and improved Capers that we hope you witness when you walk through the doors today. Management and staff have put their all into ensuring that not only do we meet the criteria expected by OFSTED under their new framework, but we plan to exceed their expectations.

Although it is disappointing to receive an outcome of ‘REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT’. Not only for the obvious reasons, but that title overshadows the wonderful compliments we received in the very same OFSTED report.

Things like:

“Partnerships with parents are strong. Staff communicate well with parents, frequently sharing information to help provide consistency for children’s care needs.”

“Effective links are made with local schools which children go on to attend, to ease the transition from the nursery.”

“Children are happy and enjoy being at the nursery. They forge positive relationships with the staff, who are sensitive and caring in their interactions with children.”

“The manager has sought feedback from staff and children to help evaluate practice. This has helped the manager to make some positive changes. For example, school-age children who attend out-of-school sessions have been instrumental in designing their own play spaces, giving them a sense of ownership.”

“Managers and staff have a confident understanding of their roles and responsibilities should they have any child protection concerns. Staff recruitment procedures are thorough to ensure all those working with children are suitable to do so.”

“Staff often involve themselves in children’s play. They talk about their activities, supporting children to build on their communication skills.”

“Staff organise the environment to enable children to make choices, increasing their independence. For example, children in the toddler room can select a picture card from the board to show staff what they want to play with.”

“Staff have a good understanding of children’s care needs and routines, and respond to these well to help children feel safe and settle well. For example, staff working with the babies have a good understanding of their needs for rest and food, including individual dietary requirements.”

Since that report, we have not only addressed the target areas, which we will address below, but we have adopted a whole new strategy to support and nurture the development of the children who attend Capers.

Gone are most of our plastic toys, replaced by natural resources that allow open ended play. Our new resources allow your children to let their imaginations run wild, without the limitations of most store-bought toys. This is part of our decision to adopt the Curiosity Approach. Using this method allows your children to take the reigns with their own learning, allowing staff to find ways to build on their learning, in the moment, without disrupting their enjoyment.

Not only that, but we have introduced room themes, to fully immerse our children in new surroundings to further encourage their little imaginations. From under the sea, to woodland… our staff have created some magical spaces for your children to enjoy, coming into work in their own time to repaint rooms and create the amazing room themes you see today. Their dedication has been astounding and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

Getting back to OFSTED. Here were their highlighted concerns during their last visit:

What OFSTED said: Procedures for completing risk assessments are not effective in helping to ensure all areas of the nursery areas safe as possible for children to use
What we did:
 Risk assessments have been re-written, all risk assessments are done at least twice a day and have to be ticked signed, dated and witnessed and are then check again by our Deputy Manager.

What OFSTED said: Not all staff who are involved in preparing snacks and food for the children, have training in food hygiene. this means that they do not always follow appropriate procedures to ensure children’s health is protected.
What we did: Before the OFSTED inspector had even left the premises on the date of inspection, the few staff who did not already have a food hygiene certificate, were booked onto courses to obtain one. Please note, these were staff that had recently joined Capers. All members of staff have since reached Level 2 in Food Hygiene it has become a part of the staff induction process.

What OFSTED said: Planning and assessment procedures do not ensure that staff promptly identify children’s individual learning needs and as a result, not all children make good progress. Staff do not always consider how they can offer opportunities for children to extend their activities for themselves, to enhance their learning further.

What we did: We have reduced paperwork considerably giving the staff more time for the important things… your children. This in turn has taken pressure away from our staff, allowing them more freedom to focus on engaging with children in the moment, rather than documenting it. By reducing the paperwork to just 2 pieces of paper, we are able to identify areas of learning and a much quicker rate

We conduct regular supervisions, room observations and peer observations with the staff and provide support and guidance where necessary.

We conduct bi-weekly staff meetings to discuss and address any concerns, ideas or simply check in, to ensure they have all they need.

We also called in for guidance from Dorset County Councils Early Years Support Team to ensure we have done and continue to do everything we can to support our staff as effectively as possible. We have received some promising feedback. Although support visits are not essential, this is something we have opted to do to ensure we are doing everything possible to provide the best level of care and education possible to our children and support for our staff.

Since our previous inspection, we feel that Capers has been reborn. In addition to everything we have already covered, we now provide high quality hot meals via an outside caterer, we have worked tirelessly to raise funds to provide new and exciting resources, utilise our outside space to its full potential and taken on board any and all feedback. We have also reached out to parents and invited them to be involved in a Parent Forum, a platform for them to meet with staff and management in an informal gathering to discuss any concerns or feedback you they have. This was sadly not well attended but is something we are keen to pursue again if there is support from parents.

We are making small steps towards becoming a more eco friendly setting. We have switched to online bookings, newsletters and invoices in our bid to reduce the amount of paper we use. We have revamped our website so new families can register online and view our prospectus, view our lunch menu etc. We are reducing our use of nappy bags by kindly requesting that parents provide a reusable wet bag, we have switched to reusable spray bottle cleaning products, that don’t contain bleach. Lastly, we are educating our children on how to be more environmentally aware themselves.