Supportive leadership that drives improvement

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At Sunflower Tots, the childcare co-ordinator monitors staff regularly to give her a good understanding of the playgroup’s strengths and areas for development. This allows her to identify the new resources and training needed to improve provision.

Number of learners: 50 
Age range: 2-4
Date of inspection: November 2016

Information about the setting:

Sunflower Tots is an English medium setting in a Communities First area in Newport local authority.  It is based within the Forest Family Centre in the grounds of Duffryn Infant School and managed by Duffryn Community Link, a community organisation.  The setting serves mainly the immediate locality and is registered for up to 26 children per session.  There are currently 50 children on roll from two to four years of age. 

The setting is overseen by a management committee and managed on a day-to-day basis by a childcare co-ordinator.  A further seven well-qualified practitioners make up the staff team.  The setting meets every week day for morning and afternoon sessions.

Context and background to sector-leading practice:

The inspection report notes that setting leaders have an outstanding vision for developing the playgroup.  They ensure that practitioners work closely together in a strong team and this leads to high quality planning and very good provision.  They collaborate highly effectively to develop targets for improvement relating to the setting improvement plan.  Throughout the setting’s work, there is a strong focus on raising children’s outcomes and delivering high quality learning experiences.  Leaders are always looking for ways to improve their practice as well as sharing what they do well with other childcare settings.  

Description of nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice

The childcare co-ordinator works closely with the setting supervisor to ensure that all practitioners are fully involved in the setting’s work and committed to constantly improving their practice.  She monitors practitioners’ work regularly as they deliver focus tasks and circle time activities.  This gives her a thorough understanding of the setting’s strengths and areas for development.  It allows her to identify the new resources or additional training needed to move forward and enables her to support practitioners’ continuous development well by providing constructive feedback.  Leaders encourage practitioners to observe one another regularly.  Although this was not easy to start with, practitioners appreciate the opportunity this gives to learn from one another and to reflect on the standard of their own work.  All practitioners discuss progress towards achieving the setting’s improvement targets at every staff meeting.  They are also fully involved in planning learning experiences.  As a result, all practitioners are confident in their roles, support each other effectively and are able to offer high quality learning experiences.  This has a positive impact on children’s learning.

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

The leaders’ very inclusive and supportive approach means that all practitioners feel highly valued.  As a result, they have high expectations of themselves and do their best at work.  They have a thorough understanding of their responsibilities and fulfil their roles diligently.  Practitioners work together as a strong team and this enables them to provide an interesting range of stimulating activities that support children’s learning well.

How have you shared your good practice?

The setting has shared its good practice through the local authority’s ‘Practice Worth Sharing’ sessions.  It has also been identified by the consortium as a ‘lead setting for non-maintained settings’, which involves hosting events to share good practice as well as visiting other settings to offer support and guidance.