Inspectors criticise nursery in Holytown

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A nursery class in Holytown has received an unfavourable report from Government inspectors.

The latest Education Scotland inspection of the nursery unit, based at Holytown Primary School, highlighted a number of aspects which are in need of improvement.

Inspectors noted that a number of staff changes have taken place recently and the majority of early years staff are in temporary positions.

The report has two main categories – learning, teaching and assessment and safeguarding and child protection, and in each case these were graded as “weak”, the second-lowest point on Education Scotland’s six-point scale.

The watchdog says such an assessment highlights “important weaknesses” which need to be addressed with prompt, structured and planned action”.

Although noting that children enjoy their time at the nursery, and described interactions between children and staff as “positive and caring”, they also called for a review of various practices and called for children to be given more opportunities to learn and engage during spontaneous play.

The inspectors also wanted senior leaders to provide more targeted support to help children engage fully in play.

Inspectors called for the implementation of a system to monitor and track children’s learning, as “there is not a clear picture of the progress children have made across the curriculum”.

A major criticism was the progress made by children in the areas of literacy and numeracy, which was described as “weak”. 

Recommendations made by inspectors included more support to allow children to participate in freely chosen play activities and the development of personal plans for nursery pupils.

A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council said: “An improvement plan is already in place and our senior education officers are working with school staff and inspectors to ensure that all of the issues highlighted are addressed and recommendations met as an absolute priority.”

Neil McGrory - Local Democracy Reporter