Inspectors still have concerns over Carfin nursery

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A struggling nursery class in Carfin still has some way to go, according to inspectors who have just filed a report on a recent visit.

Education Scotland will continue to monitor progress in the nursery unit of Our Lady and St Francis, having noted “insufficient progress” in its latest follow-up inspection.

In 2018 school inspectors called for improvement in a number of areas of the nursery in Newarthill Road.

They called for improved self-evaluation and monitoring of pupils.

This was in order to ensure better outcomes for children, but found “insufficient progress” had been made in this area.

Since the original inspection nursery staff have begun increasing use of national guidance, but it was concluded that more direction is needed from senior members.

In a letter to families, inspectors note that “significant work remains to be done to monitor and track the work of the nursery.”

A monitoring programme has been set up but is not yet fully implemented.

The nursery has been struggling with staffing problems, both in the form of vacant posts and absences, and this has impacted leadership at the nursery.

Early last year, the depute head teacher took a more “active and  visible” role but, after being promoted to acting head, spent a significant period without a depute. 

Although an acting depute has now been appointed, the vacancy slowed the pace of change in the nursery.

Inspectors also noted “very limited progress” in assessing children’s progress.

Staff have benefited from visiting other nurseries and more regular meetings.

“This is beginning to meet the needs of a few children,” the report notes, while calling for further work to be undertaken in this area.

The most positive aspect of this latest report addresses improvements in the indoor and outdoor learning environments, which have been achieved with the support of a neighbouring nursery.

The report states: “Children find outdoor learning stimulating and fun.

“ Children have more ready access to resources that encourage investigative, explorative and imaginative play.

“The more effective use of space across the nursery provides greater choice in where children want to play.

“The inclusion of cosy areas gives children space to be alone and manage their emotions.

“This has helped provide a calmer indoor environment. Arrangements for snacks have improved and snack time is a more positive experience for children.”

A further inspection will be carried out this year.

A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council insisted the matter was in hand.

He said: “We are working closely with the management team and the acting head teacher to ensure that all the areas relating to the follow up inspection for nursery class are addressed as a priority.”