03 February 2022

Playgroup's support to children during Covid lockdowns praised by inspector

An inspector has praised the impact of new staffing and collegiate working led by the manager in the running of an Aberdeenshire pre-school and playgroup.

In a letter to parents and carers, Education Scotland commended the leadership team and staff of Udny Station Pre-School and Playgroup for the support provided to children during both lockdowns.

The report said: “During closure periods, the manager and practitioners used social media well to ensure there was ongoing communication with families. In addition, the manager and practitioners introduced electronic learning journals to support learning at home. Practitioners shared experiences for children to engage with during home learning periods and parents uploaded their comments, photographs, and examples of children’s play. The manager, practitioners and parents report positive relationships have been maintained during this challenging time.”

HM Inspector Sandra Kehoe also commended support provided by Aberdeenshire Council’s officers but also the manager’s commitment to self-development through attending leadership training sessions. The report said this training had led to a review of the vision and values, now that the manager is now clearer on her vision.

The report highlighted that a combination of increased evaluation and professional learning is leading to a better understanding of strengths, areas for improvement, as well as an increase in the knowledge, confidence and skills amongst practitioners which is resulting in children becoming more engaged in their learning.

Children have also benefitted from more opportunities for outdoor play. Walks in the local community and woodland have developed children’s imagination, problem solving, literacy and numeracy skills as well as an awareness of how to keep safe outdoors.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Education Scotland has recognised the progress being made here. I am particularly pleased that the support to children and families during the lockdowns has been acknowledged. It is great to see so many examples of good practice highlighted. I am looking forward to the pre-school making further progress in time.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “This is a brilliant update. It is so pleasing that the new team is having such a positive effect. I hope the management and staff continue their commitment to development and learning so that they keep building on this success.”

The inspection report said Education Scotland will make no further visits in connection with the previous inspection.