Students Staff

31 January 2011

Ofsted rates nursery “outstanding”

Colchester Campus

Children playing in the Day Nursery garden

31 January 2011

Ofsted rates nursery “outstanding”

The University of Essex Day Nursery has been awarded top marks by Ofsted with all areas of care recognised as either of exceptionally high or strong quality.

The Day Nursery, which has provided consistently good childcare since it opened in 1993, welcomes children from the general public as well as the University community and is holding an open day on 5 March. The Ofsted report coincides with a £60,000 refurbishment aimed at further improving the quality of care.

The Ofsted inspector praised Nursery staff for their ability to meet the individual needs of the children and said they “are excellent role models and speak to the children with respect and kind, positive language” resulting in children who are “very caring.”

Both the indoor and outdoor environments were also commended with the inspector reporting that “children play in exceptionally welcoming, clean, bright playrooms that have access to a secure outdoor play area…children delight in their time outdoors” and “proudly show ladybirds they find and listen carefully as staff members explain how to look after them.”

The Nursery was rated as ‘outstanding’ (provision that is of exceptionally high quality) in four areas and as ‘good’ (provision that is strong) in the remaining thirteen areas.

Nursery Manager Elaine Dixon said: “This result is brilliant and proves that we are providing top quality childcare. However, there is always room for improvement so we are undergoing an extensive refurbishment. This includes adding interconnecting doors between some rooms to provide more flexible space and improving opportunities for interaction between different groups of children.”

In line with the University’s own research findings highlighting the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside, the Nursery also actively promotes outdoor play. “We are very fortunate that not only is our nursery purpose-built, but the outside space is incredible. Unusual to many nurseries, each room benefits from direct access to its own secure garden and we promote what we call ‘free flow play’ meaning the doors are always open no matter what the weather” explained Elaine.

For those interested in finding out more about the Day Nursery, it will be holding an open day on Saturday 5 March, 10am-3pm. Nursery staff will be on hand to answer questions and each room will be set up as for a normal nursery day. No appointment is necessary.


Notes to editors

For further information and/or pictures, please contact the Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529, e-mail:

The full Ofsted report is available online at:

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