At Allexton Day Nursery, inclusive practice not only extends to the children and families who come through its doors, but also to the wider community. It is focused on bringing the generations together and recently took a small group of three- to four-year-olds to enjoy a singing session at a local residential home, followed by ‘afternoon tea’ to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. ‘The interaction between the children and the residents was wonderful,’ says a member of staff.
The private setting, where all children are ‘engaged, happy and active’ according to Ofsted, has been operating from the West End Sure Start Children’s Centre in Leicester since 2006, and currently has 80 children on roll. The outstanding graded nursery provides funded early education for two-, three- and four-year-olds and supports a high number of children with wide-ranging – and in some cases, profound – special needs. Nineteen children currently attending are recognised as ‘cause for concern’ by social services. Eleven different languages are spoken by families attending,
As part of its Outstanding rating, Ofsted noted that ‘children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are supported excellently’ and this is achieved with the support of a 20-strong, well-qualified staff team, with a strong commitment to training – whether it relates to implementing healthy eating or increasing knowledge of child protection. The atmosphere in the nursery is ‘happy’, with an informed, practical focus on achieving positive outcomes for all children.
Staff are experienced in sharing information with outside agencies including Social Care and Family Support, and despite a heavy schedule of multi-agency meetings and reviews, always find time to prioritise on the quality of relationships within the nursery. Staff work well with each other, their families and their children. The judges acknowledged Allexton’s ‘can do’ attitude as a benchmark for other settings.
Sarah-Jane Holt, mum to Jacob, said, ‘Jacob has attended the nursery since he was a baby and is now five. We were shocked when Jacob was diagnosed with type one diabetes, but Barbara and Simone in the pre-school room provided excellent care and support, monitoring him and administering insulin as part of his routine. Nothing was too much for the girls and the nursery manager ensured that two other staff members were trained to look after him. They made sure that Jacob’s diabetes never hindered his play.’
‘The staff and managers have been so inspiring and understanding that I have decided to go into childcare myself’ - Parent
Achieving Early, Achievement for All, Newbury
This independent charity was the recipient of this award last year and is continuing to transform the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children through a highly effective, individual, child-centred approach. Its Achieving Early programme to increase the life chances of two- to five-year-olds is focused on improving training for the early years workforce and it is continuing to strengthen the way it works in partnership with individual settings.
Action for Children, HMP Newhall Mother & Baby Unit
Open to services or projects that promote equality of opportunity and the best outcomes for children, regardless of ethnic origin, special needs, background or disadvantage