London nursery ‘needs improvement’ after children left to play with dry pasta

A nursery in east London has been criticized by Ofsted inspectors for poor teaching as children had to play with dry pasta. Teachers couldn’t explain what they wanted children to learn while playing with dry pasta, the watchdog found.

The education watchdog said Chestnut Nursery School in Newham is set to improve significantly and gave it a ‘needs improvement’ rating in a new report – the second lowest rating on the ‘ladder. Inspectors said that while children were happy and enjoying being at nursery, more should be done to ensure they were learning properly.

In a report published in January, inspectors said that in all four Ofsted categories for schools and nurseries – quality of education, behavior and attitude, personal development, leadership and management – Chestnut Nursery is expected to improve. The officials complemented the nursery staff to be warm and caring and to teach children independence.

However, they criticized the inconsistency of teaching and games for children. Inspectors said: “The director has a good understanding of what children need to know at different ages and stages of development.

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“There are times when staff have thought carefully about how to deliver this learning program and the purpose of an activity. For example, when children make playdough together and take turns learning by passing the mixing bowl around a small group.

“However, some staff do not plan activities with a clear objective to help children progress in their learning. For example, when children play with dry pasta, staff are unable to explain what they would like them to learn from this activity.Therefore, the quality of teaching is uneven.

Inspectors added that problems stemmed from teaching not being properly planned, including children being left on the floor listening to a story or singing. This led to them being restless and distracted, and not making the most of their time in nursery.

Inspectors added that the children were well cared for and enjoyed going to nursery. They said: “The children are safe and happy in the nursery. They come to nursery with big smiles on their faces and enter excited about the day ahead. Chestnut Nursery School has been approached for comment.