Cornton Nursery in Stirling has achieved a ‘perfect 6’ from inspectors after an unannounced visit.
Staff and children at Cornton Nursery

The Stirling Council-run nursery, which provides care to a maximum of 66 pre-school age children, secured a grading of ‘excellent’ (6) for both areas of its inspection - its quality of care and support, and for its quality of management and leadership.

Only one per cent of nurseries earned this recognition from the 3,518 day-care services inspected in 2018.

Children thrived

Scotland’s national care regulator, the Care Inspectorate assessed Cornton in August 2019, and highlighted a range of positives in its service delivery.

Their report stated: “Children thrived in the service due to the team's enabling attitude and belief in their potential. Care and support offered was targeted and right for the children and their families.

“The strong focus on emotional support and resilience helped to build children's confidence, self-esteem and sense of worth and belonging. The family based care and support resulted in strong and trusting relationships between staff and parents.

“A significant success of this service was its family and community work. 'Community Action Days' gave children the opportunity to educate others and raise awareness of issues affecting their area.”

Outstanding outcomes and benefits

Inspectors also praised a range of other aspects of Cornton, including its effective foundations of staff practice, the nurturing approach embedded in the nursery’s culture and the prolonged episodes of play. 

The report continued: “Embedded reflective practice, shared leadership and collective responsibility enabled the team to excel in their goals and aspirations for the children who attend.

“The management team had a clear vision and respectful ways of working which promoted outstanding outcomes and benefits for children, staff and parents.”

Privileged to serve the community

Sam Smith, Head of Cornton Nursery, said: “As a staff team, we are privileged to serve the community of Cornton, as well as continuing to develop children’s experiences and learning.”

The excellent report for Cornton comes after Stirling Council’s early learning and childcare service was rated as the joint best in Scotland earlier this year.

Data from the Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF)* showed that 100 per cent of Stirling’s early years providers, which includes nurseries and childminders, were graded good or better by inspectors in 2017/18.

That impressive statistic is almost nine per cent above the Scottish average and ranks Stirling in first place among the 32 local authorities in the country, alongside East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.

Highest standards of care and support

Kevin Kelman, Stirling Council’s Chief Education Officer and Chief Officer for People, said: “This is a fantastic report that shows children at Cornton Nursery are receiving the highest standards of care and support and are benefiting from a wide range of learning experiences.

“Huge congratulations to all the staff and the wider learning community at Cornton for these excellent findings. It continues the recent raft of positive reports within our early learning and childcare education provision, and we will continue our commitment to ensuring our children receive the best start in life so they can fulfil their potential.”

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* The LGBF, which was published earlier this year, reports on how much councils spend on particular services, their performance and the satisfaction of users. It supports evidence-based comparisons between similar councils so that they can work and learn together to improve their services.

To measure performance among early years providers, the LGBF used reports from the Care Inspectorate, the national regulator for care services in Scotland. Published reports are available to view on the Care Inspectorate website

Picture shows staff, including Head of Cornton Nursery, Sam Smith (second from right), and children celebrating their excellent inspection report, with 6 Care Inspectorate emojis that the children helped create.