Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten: Nursery blames national recruitment crisis as Ofsted rating is downgraded

A Sheffield nursery which has been downgraded by Ofsted from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’ says providers are struggling due to the national childcare recruitment crisis.

By Robert Cumber
Monday, 21st March 2022, 11:56 am
Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten has been downgraded from 'good' to 'requires improvement' by Ofsted (stock image by Edmond Terakopian/PA)
Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten has been downgraded from 'good' to 'requires improvement' by Ofsted (stock image by Edmond Terakopian/PA)

Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten, which is located behind the Frances Newton pub on Clarkehouse Road, in Broomhill, was rated ‘requires improvement’ – the second lowest of four possible scores possible – following a recent visit by Ofsted inspectors.

It had previously rated ‘good’ following the last visit in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

The latest report, published on Thursday, March 17, states that children are happy in the outdoor nursery, ‘show good physical skills’ and are ‘developing independence’.

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But it says youngsters ‘do not benefit from well-planned learning experiences’ and get bored quickly with activities which fail to build on what they already know.

Inspectors found that staff do not deliver the curriculum consistently, regular staffing changes make it harder for staff to support children’s development needs, and the manager’s workload is ‘unachievable’.

Despite recognising there is a ‘welcoming environment’, risk assessments are in place and children are supervised, they also said that record-keeping for accidents was ‘not good enough’ and there was too little coaching and guidance for staff, whose morale was low due to their ‘ever demanding workloads’.

In a statement, the nursery said: “Staff recruitment has been a big issue for us. We’ve struggled to recruit a manager and to recruit other staff. Like many other nurseries, we have had to rely on agency staff, which doesn’t lead to the most effective running of a nursery.

“We didn’t have a manager in place for six months and although we have one now it’s come a little too late.”