The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Clyde Early Childhood Centre is located in Lewisham which is an area of significant economic deprivation. Approximately two thirds of children who attend the centre are learning English as an additional language, and there are 28 different languages spoken. Nearly two thirds of children are entitled to free school meals. There is an above average number of children identified with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and a large proportion are on the autistic spectrum. Travellers' children attend the Nursery when they are in the area. The Centre achieved the Healthy Schools award in 2006.
Overall effectiveness of the school
During their time in the Nursery at Clyde Children's Centre, children receive a good start to their education. The centre rightly prides itself on the integration and support it gives to the children and their families. As one mother summed up for many, 'I am very happy that my child is attending the Clyde.'
Most of the children begin Nursery with skills and abilities which are below those expected for children of their age, with around two thirds of children having specific needs in communication language and literacy and in their personal and social development. Good teaching and a real interest in the welfare of individuals enables the children to gain in confidence and helps them to swiftly settle in and achieve well. As one governor commented, 'The children here are really confident.'
By the time they leave Nursery, children have made good progress in developing spoken English and in their personal, social and emotional development. Most children reach the standards expected for their age. The stimulating curriculum and excellent use of the outside areas both encourage and allow children to develop their own interests and abilities independently. This provides them with a strong foundation for the next stage of their education. As a result, children achieve and progress well towards the goals expected of them.
The curriculum is broad and well planned with practical and engaging activities that allow children to learn through play. The free flow of movement between the inside and outside areas means that children widen their learning experiences and grow in confidence. The outside areas are particularly effective in supporting children's learning and have won a number of awards for their organisation.
Children's personal development and well-being are good. They are very happy and keen to be at Nursery, although attendance amongst some families does not always reflect this as they take holidays during term time. Children become confident learners and they work and play together very well. They understand about a healthy lifestyle and enjoy their fruit snacks, which are on offer throughout the day.
The care of the children is outstanding, and their academic guidance is good. Good observations are made of what the children know, understand and can do. Children's special books which tell their 'learning stories' are a delightful way of recording the good progress they make. There is, however, a missing link. The staff are not using their observations of the children's progress and performance well enough to define the next steps in children's learning to support, challenge and move children on in their learning. Excellent use is made of external agencies many of whom are closely linked with the centre itself.
Leadership and management are good overall. The governing body are keen, knowledgeable and supportive. The headteacher leads the Nursery well and has a clear vision for its future development. The Nursery's view of itself is accurate and good progress has been made since the last inspection. The school's successful record of improvement shows that its capacity to improve further is good.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
As a nursery school, the Foundation Stage is completely covered in the Overall Effectiveness section.
What the school should do to improve further
- Review the way that observations are used in order to define more clearly the next steps in children's learning.
Achievement and standards
Children's attainment on entry is below national expectations with significant difficulties in personal, social and emotional development and communication language and literacy. They make good progress so that by the time they leave the Nursery they reach standards expected for their age in all areas of learning. This represents good achievement. The Nursery is aware of the unevenness in achievement between boys and girls performance, and have adapted the curriculum appropriately, for example, through the introduction of play through 'popular culture' so that the gap is closing and boys are increasingly reaching similar standards to girls. Children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and those learning English as an additional language benefit from the good network of support, which helps them to make similar progress and achieve as well as their peers.
Personal development and well-being
Personal development is good, including the children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Pupils enjoy the Nursery, which is demonstrated in their high level of enthusiasm in undertaking the range of stimulating activities on offer. They feel safe and are reassured by the good level of care and supervision of staff during activities. They are developing an awareness of the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and during the inspectors' visit thoroughly enjoyed their strawberries and organic ice cream! Children's regular trips to the local area such as the nearby church, supermarket and park, help children develop a strong sense of community. Despite all that the Nursery does to encourage attendance, it remains broadly satisfactory.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning are good. Teachers know the children very well and this helps them to plan activities that support individual children's learning. This is why children make good progress. The Nursery rightly puts an emphasis on developing and improving children's communication and language skills and in developing their personal, social and emotional skills. Good use of questioning by most adults helps the children to improve their spoken language in response to the questions asked, and this extends their vocabulary, as was seen when the children were wrapping 'special treasure parcels'. This is of particular help to the large numbers of children who are learning English as an additional language. It is also an important means of developing young children's communication skills, and is why they achieve as well as they do. The support for children with learning difficulties and disabilities is good and allows these children to also make good progress. As one mother wrote to the inspectors, 'My child is autistic and the centre staff really support me and my son.'
Curriculum and other activities
The quality of the curriculum is diverse and promotes good personal development. Children participate in a range of rich and varied activities that effectively promote their learning and development. The stimulating outside environment really engages children in their learning and is used very well. They are developing an awareness of the use of information and communication technology to support their learning through regular game sessions about mathematics, which helps to develop their awareness of numbers. The strong focus on educational trips allows curriculum enrichment opportunities and ensures strong links with the community. It also supports those children who are new to learning English and who need extra support in their language development. Purposeful trips to the London City Airport and events such as the International Day Celebrations and firework display provides pupils with opportunities to experience a range of cultures and lifestyles. Regular music lessons contribute to pupils' enjoyable learning experience.
Care, guidance and support
The care given to the children and their families is outstanding. Academic guidance and support is good. Children receive a positive start to their school life because the staff show a real commitment to meeting the personal and welfare needs of children. Safeguarding procedures are in place and are understood and followed by staff. Risk assessments for school visits and procedures for monitoring the health and safety of the children are in place. Good observations are made by staff about what children know and can do and their individual interests. These observations form the basis of future planning. Whilst key workers at the centre know the children in their groups very well, it is not always clear for all staff about the next step to be taken to challenge and move children on in their learning.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are good. There is a strong sense of teamwork throughout the Nursery. The headteacher clearly understands the centre's strengths and areas for development, consequently, self-evaluation is good. Equality of opportunity for all children is important and opportunities are managed very well which ensure that all participate fully. There are good procedures for day-to-day management to ensure that things run smoothly. The governing body has a good knowledge and understanding of the needs of the local community that the Nursery serves, and successfully acts as a critical friend. The Nursery's view of itself is accurate and good progress has been made since the last inspection. Parents are really encouraged to be involved in their children's learning and the majority of respondents to the questionnaire are delighted with the care given to their children and the progress their children make.