Thorough planning and clearly defined roles improve quality

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Meithrinfa Seren Fach has a strong focus on continuous improvement. It evaluates and improves quality through well-structured staffing and clear objectives. Managers and practitioners focus on developing their skills and knowledge. The nursery also value the contributions of their stakeholders to help them continually develop.

Number of pupils: 56
Age range: 9 months -5 years
Date of inspection: March 2018

Context and background to sector-leading practice

Meithrinfa Seren Fach’s objective is to improve its provision continuously.  There is a clear focus on future development when considering the needs of children and practitioners.  The nursery takes pride in maintaining robust high standards that provide guidance and encouragement to the children in its care and the practitioners who are employed. 

Provision is divided into three departments.  The manager has developed the role of knowledgeable, conscientious leaders in each department: the nursery’s Assistant Manager leads the foundation phase room and a Senior Assistant leads the room for children between eighteen months and two-and-a-half years old.  The baby room is led through effective co-operation between two practitioners.

There has been a stable Board of Directors for over twelve years, and the manager reports to them regularly on progress and order.  Members of the Board of Directors visit the nursery regularly to evaluate and support the work of practitioners and the manager.

In order to develop and improve provision, the manager, senior management team and practitioners self‑evaluate the setting’s work regularly and robustly, and plan and take action for future improvement by setting clear aims and objectives.  Provision is evaluated regularly by including the views of practitioners, parents, carers and the local authority.  The result of this is that stakeholders feel that their contributions are valuable as the nursery continues to develop.

Description of the nature of the strategy or activity

The nursery’s leadership structure is sound and feeds into improvement plans.  The manager’s clear vision is strong and inspirational.  Because of the nursery’s triple staffing structure, responsibilities can be shared into specific areas; this means that there is not too much pressure on individual members of staff.  The manager identifies priorities in areas for development and acts robustly to maintain good practice and deliver changes.  There are very robust links between the nursery’s self-evaluation and the targets in the development plan.

A very strong emphasis is placed on developing the skills and knowledge of managers and practitioners.  Investment is made in a programme of professional development for managers and practitioners, in co‑operation with other organisations, such as Academi, Cam wrth Gam – Mudiad Meithrin, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and the Early Years Unit at Gwynedd Council.

Practitioners’ professional development needs are identified through supervision sessions, observations and annual evaluations that are undertaken by the manager and members of the Board of Directors.  By investing in a consistent and continuous programme of professional development, a team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic practitioners has been created.  Regular team bonding meetings are organised, and staff and the Board of Directors join together to plan for improvement.  By bringing them together, this creates an extremely positive ethos in which the input and strengths of all members of staff and the committee are used to their full potential.  There is a close relationship with the nursery’s parents, which creates a positive atmosphere and a safe and familial environment for the children. 

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

As a result of the regular investment in professional development, practitioners are able to update their knowledge and skills.  An example of this is the training attended by the nursery’s Assistant Manager on using the outdoor learning area.  As a result of the training, there has been a direct effect on children’s outcomes by maximising the development of their outdoor experiences.  For example, staff, parents and the Board of Directors have recently worked together to raise standards in the outdoor area and provide improvements in various areas, which has received recognition as an excellent resource by Mudiad Meithrin in national awards.

There is an increasing emphasis on improving provision, which is part of identifying the need to make improvements before taking action, learners’ standards are developed and inspired, and a clear focus on leadership has had a positive effect on the running and development of the nursery, and the Board of Directors provides robustness and stability to the process.

How have you shared your good practice?

Good practice has been shared by contributing to Estyn’s website, welcoming other settings to visit the nursery and by the Local Authority’s Support Teacher reporting back to other settings.