Education inspectors have given Scalloway Playgroup a glowing report after an inspection in November. The playgroup works in conjunction with the schools service, providing pre-school education for children from age three up to starting school, using the same curriculum as the school’s nursery department.
Inspectors evaluated all aspects of education and care at the playgroup’s waterfront premises as “very good”. Particular strengths were highlighted as: children being enthusiastic and motivated in their learning; high quality staff interaction with children in supporting their learning; the playgroup’s partnership with other education providers in the community; and the leadership of the playgroup manager and effective teamwork of staff.
During the inspection, children were seen to be making very good progress in their learning and development and interacting well in group activities. Staff had also made a very good start at using the Curriculum for Excellence and were very good at meeting children’s needs.
The playgroup’s place in the community was well recognised. It worked very well with other agencies, and had established very good partnerships with Scalloway Junior High School, childcare provider Hame Fae Hame and the local Mother and Toddler group. Children and parents are involved in the work of the centre as staff consult and take on their views.
The playgroup manager was highly praised for her very good leadership. With the staff, she had a clear focus on developing the work of the playgroup.
On behalf of the three Central Mainland councillors, Andrew Hughson said: “It is very reassuring to know such a high standard of early learning is being delivered by Scalloway Playgroup and this excellent HMIe report is testament to all the hard work and dedication of the staff. The importance of this first class report cannot be emphasised strongly enough as it verifies the good work being done at Scalloway Playgroup.
“This shining example of good practice helps future generations take that all important ‘first step’, and establishes a secure foundation for learning.”
Chairman of the services committee Gussie Angus said: “This is an excellent report reflecting a superior service to the greater Scalloway community. Staff and parents are to be congratulated on their splendid achievements.”
The playgroup provides “wraparound” care for children from the age of two and a half, with government-funded pre-school education of two and a half hours a day available from age three. The playgroup is run by a voluntary committee which employs paid staff.
Inspectors were so impressed by the playgroup that they decided they did not need to make a follow-up visit. They said: “As a result of the very good quality of education provided by the playgroup, we will make no further visits in connection with this inspection. The education authority will inform parents about the playgroup’s progress as part of the authority’s arrangements for reporting to parents on the quality of its centres.”
However they agreed two areas for improvement with the school and education authority: to plan and develop the outdoor environment involving children and parents and to continue to revise the curriculum in line with local and national guidance.