Nursery proves it’s a class act

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A SHEFFIELD children’s centre and its nursery have been praised by Government inspectors for the quality of care offered.

Ofsted teams visited the Early Days Children’s Centre in Palgrave Road, Parson Cross and filed positive reports on what they found.

The centre was rated good – but its nursery was judged to be outstanding, the top category.

Both facilities are run for Sheffield Council by the Action for Children organisation in a former family centre.

Early Days opened in 2004 and was one of the city’s first Sure Start centres, seeking to give families with under-fives the best possible start in life.

Many of the 400 children currently registered with the centre live in an area classified as being in the top 30 per cent of disadvantaged areas in the country, with parents increasingly struggling with issues such as poverty and unemployment.

Inspectors found that centre staff helped parents and carers overcome such obstacles on a daily basis and said support for children and families who were in particularly vulnerable situations was ‘exemplary’.

The nursery, which is housed in the same building, was described as ‘vibrant, highly inclusive and very welcoming’.

Inspectors rated it outstanding in every section of the grading document.

Members of the leadership team were also praised for their passionate approach to their work and inspectors found that they regularly shared their ‘best practice’ at other centres around the city.

Staff were praised for their highly-skilled professional approach and their support for families in vulnerable situations received high praise.

Parents told inspectors that staff always seemed to find solutions for any problems they had and there was good support for children with special needs or disabilities.

Staff were also working hard to promote healthy lifestyles, including persuading more mothers in the area to breast-feed rather than bottle-feed.

Jo Zasada, children’s centre manager, said: “We are proud that both Ofsted inspections agreed we are making a real difference to the outcomes for children and families who use Early Days Children’s Centre.”

Parents who use the services said they were not surprised by the findings.

Peter Taylor, a dad of three, said: ‘I have used the centre for the past six years. I’m a stay-at-home dad as my wife works full time and being able to bring my children to a centre as warm and friendly and as welcoming as Early Days has been great for my confidence.”

Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “Congratulations to everyone at Early Days for such an outstanding report.

“The staff have worked very hard to achieve these brilliant results and they are well deserved.

“The centre is a tremendous asset for the local community and one we are all very proud of.”