Ofsted success as Hove nurseries get top marks

Pumpkin Patch, New Church Road
Pumpkin Patch, New Church Road

Official inspectors have awarded two nursery providers in Brighton and Hove outstanding ratings, councillors were told on Monday afternoon (November 12).

Hopscotch Hove Station and Pumpkin Patch in Hove earned the top grade from Ofsted, the government’s education watchdog.

The nurseries were praised by members of Brighton and Hove City Council at a meeting of the council’s children, young people and skills committee.

Cllr Daniel Chapman, who chairs the committee, also congratulated his old school, Longhill, for earning an improved rating.

Ofsted recently reported that the school is good – the second best grade out of four.

And, the committee was told, the Drove Road residential short break service in Portslade was now classed as outstanding.

Ofsted said that Drove Road was a place where young people received excellent care and support from a team of staff dedicated to improving their quality of life.

Cllr Chapman said that Brighton and Hove was now among an elite group of council areas where all the secondary schools were rated as good.

Longhill headteacher Kate Williams brought two students along when the committee met at Hove Town Hall to hear about the school’s journey

Year 10 pupil Charlie Barr, 14, said: “We have a more professional dress code. The change to the uniform and behaviour means we are taking more pride in our school and is strengthening our community.”

Year 11 pupil Ellie Cooper, 15, said: “I’ve noticed the change in lessons which are more challenging.

“Teachers allowing us to expand our knowledge with different levels of work.”

Ms Williams said: “Behaviour was the top priority when I joined the school two and a half years ago.

“We now have a ‘no excuse‘ culture at Longhill. Ofsted praised that as ‘transformational’.”

Cllr Chapman, a Labour member, congratulated the young people from his former secondary school on a presentation that they gave to the committee and said: “You could be me one day! What more could you want?”

Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown told the youngsters and Ms Williams: “I am delighted for you. We are all very proud of you.

“I am particularly pleased to hear about the behaviour and having more challenging working for the more able and less able.”

Green councillor Alex Phillips said: “There is such a huge difference in a couple of years.

“A lot can be learnt and taken away for other schools. I know they are all good but we need to maintain this ‘good‘ and strive to be better.”

Oftsed inspector Kelly Hawkins praised the Pumpkin Patch nursery in New Church Road, Hove, which achieved an outstanding rating after its inspection in September.

Ofsted said: “Staff establish incredibly positive and trusting relationships with children.

“This helps keep children fascinated in the extremely impressive play opportunities.”

Pumpkin Patch manager Katrina Gretton put the achievements down to the nursery following the ‘Reggio Emilia approach‘, where children’s own knowledge is valued, along with a child-led focus on art.

She said: “This was driven by the staff team and the genuine understanding of the children’s needs.

“It shone through really well and in the inspection and the report itself.”

In its first inspection since opening in August 2016, Hopscotch in Goldstone Villas also achieved outstanding ranking.

Ofsted inspector Ben Parsons said: “Staff ignite children’s imagination and extend their learning exceptionally well.

“For example, as pre-school children delight in developing their own role-play car wash. They excitedly talk about how much money they should get paid.”

He singled out the manager as “extraordinary and inspirational”.

One early years setting went down from outstanding to requires improvement. This was Hove Village, in New Church Road.

Saltdean Primary School retained its good status after an inspection on Tuesday October 9.

Stanford Junior School had its inspection on Wednesday October 17 and its result is pending.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.