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Staunton Montessori Nursery School Ofsted Reports

We are thrilled to have achieved THREE consecutive Ofsted outstanding judgments which shows the continuity of the excellence at Staunton Montessori.

OFSTED – the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills – inspects and regulates schools to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages.

“Dear Rob,

Many congratulations to you and all you staff on your magnificent 2013 and 2022 Ofsted inspection results.
Having visited your school several times I know that you’re worthy of such recognition.
As your Honorary Patron I must add that I’m extremely proud to be associated with your school which has such a high performance.
Well done!

Dr Miriam Stoppard

2022 Ofsted Report for Staunton Montessori Nursery School

Link to full Ofsted report 2022

What is it like to attend this early years setting?

The provision is outstanding

Children thrive in an environment that connects them closely with nature and the outdoors. They arrive extremely excited and ready to learn at this fun nursery. Staff nurture children’s confidence and emotional well-being through the strong bonds they form with the children, who they know extremely well. Children settle swiftly. Young children greet staff with a beaming smile and hold their arms out to be taken from their parent. Transitions within the nursery are seamless. Staff work closely with parents to ensure that children are ready and prepared for their next stage in learning.

Children explore the natural world. They develop a deep sense of curiosity. Staff ask questions that spark interesting conversations. For example, children find a snail and discuss how it feels bubbly. Toddlers grasp chalk and make marks on blackboards. They instinctively extend this activity by themselves and find water and brushes to make marks on the fence. When visitors ask children what they like best about their nursery they reply, ‘Everything and everybody’. Children fully understand the rules and boundaries that are in place in forest school and talk about the importance of following these to keep everyone safe, for example children demonstrate how to hold sticks downwards to stay safe.

What does the early years setting do well and what does it need to do better?

  • The providers are inspirational, knowledgeable and passionate about early years education. They truly believe children deserve the best start in their lives. Staff are encouraged to complete their training to the highest level possible for their abilities. This is reflected in the high level of qualifications staff have. Staff wellbeing is a key priority and they say they feel well supported to fulfil their roles.
  • Staff have expert knowledge of individual children’s abilities and development. Children’s natural curiosity to learn is encouraged. For example, toddlers make their own orange juice. They use their small muscles to squeeze the orange into a jug. They show good handling skills as they carefully pour the juice into a cup. Staff know exactly when to interact with children to build on what they already know and can do, and when to allow them to explore.
  • Staff challenge children to take appropriate risks in their play. For instance, as children attempt the trim trail at forest school for the first time, they are unsure if they can make it across. The provider sensitively supports children to take one step at a time, encouraging them to persevere. This supports children’s confidence and self-esteem.
  • The environment is well planned and arranged to promote excitement and imagination. Children have opportunities to explore using all of their senses. Toddlers have no reservations about getting thoroughly messy as they explore toy pigs in mud. They fill and empty bowls to make ‘pies’ and then proceed to count them. Pre-school children use child safety knives to cut open lemons and limes and explore the tastes, smells and textures. Staff constantly reflect on children’s learning needs and use their interests to motivate them.
  • Staff demonstrate high levels of respect and care towards children. They have a considerate approach to care routines. For example, staff ask children before they change their wet clothing after playing with water. Children say, ‘No, thank you’ and staff explain what they are going to do and suggest playing a few more minutes and then changing their clothes. This helps children to feel valued, safe and secure.
  • A love of reading is promoted in imaginative ways. After reading the book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, the children go outdoors and explore textures with their feet. They splash through water and stomp in muddy water. This helps them bring the story to life.
  • Children are extremely physically active, both in the large nursery outdoor spaces and at forest school. Young toddlers use their big muscles to push a wheelbarrow. Older children take and manage risks when they climb trees. Preschool children are carefree as they run and chase in the paddock and climb complicated large equipment. They make excellent progress with their physical skills.
  • Parents speak positively about their experience of the nursery. They comment that the providers and staff are committed, not only to the children but the wider family too. Parents comment that the staff go to great lengths to meet the needs of their children.

Link to full Ofsted report 2022

2013 Ofsted Report for Staunton Montessori Nursery School

Download the report from the Ofsted website:
Or read it in full below:

Inspection date

Previous inspection date



The quality and standards of the early years provision

This inspection:

 Grade 1

Previous inspection:

  (2008 Grade 1)

How well the early years provision meets the needs of the range of children who attend

Grade 1

The contribution of the early years provision to the well-being of children

Grade 1

The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the early years provision

Grade 1

The quality and standards of the early years provision

This provision is:    Outstanding

 Children are highly motivated and consistently demonstrate the characteristics of effective learning. Staff have very high expectations of themselves, and children, and use their expert knowledge and understanding of how children learn through exciting, fun and challenging opportunities, to provide an educational programme that stimulates and engages all children.

 The rich, varied and exciting environment provides challenge and promotes learning, providing a strong base for children to manage risks and understand how to keep themselves safe and healthy. The highly effective use of the Forest School provision enhances children’s learning in all areas.

 The leadership and management of the setting is inspirational. Exemplary staff training, development and supervision processes are in place, ensuring staff are highly qualified and skilled. All staff work exceptionally well as a team and are highly committed to constantly providing the best they can for the children in their care.

 The outstanding dedication of each child’s key person ensures all children are individually skilfully supported and prepared as they make progress towards school.

 Partnerships with parents, outside agencies and other providers are exemplary, ensuring children’s needs are quickly identified and understood to maximise their learning and development.

Inspection activities

 The inspector conducted a tour of the premises and went on a visit to the Forest School.

 The inspector held a meeting with the head teacher, talked to staff and key persons and carried out observations at the Forest School with the head teacher.

 The inspector looked at various documents, including policies and procedures children’s records, evidence of the suitability of staff, including recruitment procedures, and referred to the settings self-evaluation documents

 The inspector took account of the views of three parents spoken to on the day of the inspection.

 The inspector observed children throughout the inspection and spoke with them to gain their views.

Information about the setting

Staunton Montessori Nursery School was registered in 2001 and re-registered in 2012 as a limited company. It is privately owned and managed, and operates from a renovated 19th century barn in a rural setting in the village of Staunton, Nottinghamshire. All areas used by children are located on the ground floor. Facilities include a large area which can be divided to provide separate space for under twos. There is a play barn used as an outdoor classroom. Additionally there are two separate areas for outdoor play as well as a garden for growing and planting. The setting also operates a Forest School with a separate classroom building. Parking is available for parents, staff and visitors.

The nursery school is open daily during the Nottinghamshire school terms between the hours of 9.15am and 4.15pm with children attending from the surrounding areas. The school is registered by Ofsted on the Early Years Register and the compulsory and voluntary parts of the Childcare Register. There are currently 68 children on roll, all of whom are within the Early Years Foundation Stage. The setting supports children who speak English as an additional language and children with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities. The setting employs 12 members of teaching and childcare staff, all of whom hold appropriate early years qualifications, additionally some are qualified to degree level, hold early years professional status and qualified teacher status. The proprietor holds early years professional status as well as teaching qualifications.

What the setting needs to do to improve further

To further improve the quality of the early years provision the provider should:

 build on current planning for children’s learning in information technology to further enhance opportunities for them to use simple programmes, such as spread sheets.

Inspection judgements

How well the early years provision meets the needs of the range of children who attend

 Children thrive in this inspirational nursery school. All staff have excellent skills and knowledge of the learning and development requirements and an in-depth understanding of the different ways in which children learn. The exciting, stimulating and extremely well organised nursery school, together with the play barn, garden areas, playgrounds and Forest School provides children with ample space to explore and learn. For example, on the walk up to the Forest School, young children talk excitedly about the patterns that the frost has made, how they can see the icicles and what they think the different footprints in the paddock are. They talk about the different size of the fox and rabbit footprints. This leads on to a discussion about the current topic on dinosaurs and children talk knowledgeably about different dinosaurs being herbivores and carnivores. Children’s enthusiasm is expertly harnessed by staff to engage children in learning about different aspects of science through practical experiences.

Whilst in the cabin at the Forest School, children talk about what’s needed to make the fire in the wood-burning stove. Children confidently answer that the fire needs a ‘spark’, screwed up newspaper and wood, but also needs air. Staff skilfully support children to then think about what specifically in the air is needed. Many children eagerly respond to say ‘oxygen’. Children learn to count and problem solve in maths, through activities that interest them. Staff explain that they are having hot dogs and whilst these are not normally healthy, because it is so cold, they need the extra calories to run around the woods. Children help work out how many people are present and recognise the numbers on the tins to say that they need more than one tin of sausages. Whilst the sausages heat up on this wood-burning stove in the cabin, staff engage children in talking about the steam coming off the saucepan. Children learn that water freezes becoming ice and when it gets hot makes steam. The exemplary use of the outside environment enables children of all ages to have freedom to explore, be physically active and have first-hand experiences of the seasons, and weather.

Staff provide endless opportunities for children to communicate their thoughts and ideas as they explore new and interesting resources and experiences that promote their curiosity and thinking skills. For example, children use metal detectors to search in the sand for coins. They then go on to search for dinosaur bones in the sand that had been labelled with letters. Staff effectively use these to support children in learning phonics and building up words. Children have extensive opportunities to initiate their own learning through exploration and investigation as staff use their skills and knowledge to challenge their thinking further. Young children particularly enjoy investigating large pieces of ice and watch intently as these lumps of ice melt to reveal hidden objects, set up by staff to engage learning.

Assessments of children of all ages are clear, precise and sharply focused and include contributions from all those involved in each child’s learning. These are based on the staff’s comprehensive knowledge of each child and their families, and as a result allow staff to support children in making excellent progress in relation to their starting points. A robust system is in place for tracking and analysing children’s learning and progress. This, together with links with a range of professional services, ensures children who are gifted, or may need additional support are identified quickly to maximise their potential. Assessments clearly ensure that any gaps in children’s learning are targeted and that all children make excellent progress towards the early learning goals and their readiness for school.

The contribution of the early years provision to the well-being of children

Children clearly understand how to keep themselves safe and healthy in the stimulating and safe environment. Staff teach children about germs; children explain why they need to use soap and water in the nursery and why they use sanitising gel to clean their hands at the Forest School. Children learn to manage their own risks because staff encourage and support them to be independent, confident learners. For example, as part of the dinosaur project children had to crack open ‘dinosaur eggs’ and learnt why they had to wear goggles to do this to protect their eyes. Key persons are highly skilled and sensitive. They fully support children to form strong, secure, emotional attachments, which provide a solid foundation for their personal, social and emotional development. For example, children are encouraged to be independent as they select their own resources from the vast range of activities and resources on offer. They know that staff are close by if they need any support, such as helping them work out the right size hat for their baby doll. Young children have helped to develop a book of photographs of their favourite activities, using it to promote their independent choices.

Children’s individual dietary needs are known by all staff and robust procedures are in place to ensure that children are provided with meals containing appropriate ingredients that meet those individual needs. Children enjoy a wealth of nutritious snacks which are prepared by appropriately qualified staff. Hot meals are supplied by an external catering company or parents choose to provide packed lunches, ensuring children have meals that meet their individual needs and preferences. Children learn about the need for healthy food and fresh air and the effects of exercise on their bodies as they participate in yoga sessions, golf lessons and make extensive use of the outside play facilities, including the indoor barn. Children use the outside facilities in all weathers. On the day of the inspection, although the temperature was minus five degrees, children still used the Forest School because staff ensured that children had suitable clothing and access to appropriate snacks, including hot chocolate.

Children learn about expected levels of behaviour from the positive role modelling of staff and from each other. Children’s behaviour is exemplary because staff provide clear boundaries and implement the behaviour management policy consistently throughout the nursery. Children develop independence and social skills as they help each other with tasks. For example, they give out plates and cutlery at meal and snack times. These are also social occasions where children chat with friends and staff about their home and family, eagerly explaining to staff about going on holiday to Spain on the aeroplane. Children freely include others in these conversations, including the inspector, and confidently ask if the inspector can join them at their table next. Children’s confidence and self-esteem is very high because of the skill and attention from each child’s key person. Consequently, children are extremely well-prepared for the next steps in learning and progress towards school.

The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the early years provision

The head teacher inspires and motivates his staff team through unwavering commitment to ensure that all children attending the nursery have the highest quality care and learning experience to prepare them for life. The head teacher has exemplary knowledge and understanding of the Early Years Foundation Stage and how children learn. This is utilised for the benefit of all children attending the nursery. The head teacher also has links with the local authority, teaching establishments, including universities and schools, which are used to benefit the wider community. The nursery has continued to build on its outstanding grading, under the previous registration, to provide the best possible learning outcomes for all children. An exemplary evaluation of the setting’s strengths and weaknesses is undertaken to clearly identify and target plans to secure continuous improvement. Current targets that the setting have identified are to further integrate Montessori principles and links with the Early Years Foundation Stage and ways to develop the use of information and communication technology. For example, through engaging children in using simple computer programs. Staff, children, parents and other providers are fully involved in the evaluation process and their views and ideas are actively listened to and acted on.

Staff have a wealth of knowledge and understanding of how to protect and safeguard all children. For example, robust policies and procedures are in place for safeguarding, recruitment and risk assessments. All staff have completed safeguarding training and have a comprehensive knowledge of what to do and who to contact if there are any safeguarding concerns. They are also skilled in supporting children to recognise and manage risks, such as, if they get lost the need to shout for help or to approach someone in uniform, such as a police officer. High-quality systems are in place to ensure staff are fully supported in developing their knowledge and practice through professional development. Staff supervision is a high priority and one-to-one meetings with their line manager, deputy head teacher or head teacher are based on observations of staff practise, staff self-appraisal and discussion, including training needs. This leads to targeted professional development, which ultimately enhances the quality of teaching and learning.

All staff have an exceptional knowledge of the educational programmes and consistent monitoring ensures that children experience a broad and balanced range of experiences that help them progress rapidly and successfully towards the early learning goals. Children’s needs are exceptionally well met through highly effective partnerships between the nursery, parents and outside agencies. Parents are extremely complimentary about the nursery and the service it provides. They comment that they have a ‘first class rapport with the staff’. Parent’s would recommend the nursery on ‘the attention to detail by staff’, how ‘approachable’ the staff are and how their child ‘loves to come’. Parents say that they know their children are happy and thoroughly enjoy their time in the safe, secure and exciting environment, particularly the Forest School. They are ‘chuffed to bits’ that they have found such a ‘fantastic’ nursery.

The Childcare Register

The requirements for the compulsory part of the Childcare Register are


The requirements for the voluntary part of the Childcare Register are


What inspection judgements mean

Registered early years provision




Grade 1


Outstanding provision is highly effective in meeting the needs of all children exceptionally well. This ensures that children are very well prepared for the next stage of their learning.

Grade 2


Good provision is effective in delivering provision that meets the needs of all children well. This ensures children are ready for the next stage of their learning.

Grade 3


Satisfactory provision is performing less well than expectations in one or more of the key areas. It requires improvement in order to be good. 

Grade 4


Provision that is inadequate requires significant improvement and/or enforcement. The provision is failing to give children an acceptable standard of early years education and/or is not meeting the safeguarding and welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. It will be inspected again within 12 months of the date of this inspection.



The provision has no children on roll. The inspection judgement is that the provider continues to meet the requirements for registration.

Not Met


The provision has no children on roll. The inspection judgement is that the provider does not meet the requirements for registration.


This inspection was carried out by Ofsted under Sections 49 and 50 of the Childcare Act 2006 on the quality and standards of provision that is registered on the Early Years Register.  The registered person must ensure that this provision complies with the statutory framework for children’s learning, development and care, known as the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Setting details

Unique reference number


Local authority


Inspection number


Type of provision

Registration category

Childcare – Non-Domestic

Age range of children

0 – 17

Total number of places


Number of children on roll


Name of provider

  Staunton Educational Limited

Date of previous inspection

  Not applicable

Telephone number




© Crown copyright 2012

2008 Ofsted Report for Staunton Montessori Nursery School

Staunton Montessori School OFSTED Registration Certificate
Staunton Montessori Nursery School: Inspection report for early years provision 2008

Following the OFSTED inspection in November 2008 the Staunton Montessori School was graded as grade 1 – Outstanding – on all of OFSTED’s criteria, and was subsequently awarded ‘Outstanding Provider’ status.

The key inspection judgements and what they mean:
Grade 1 is Outstanding: this aspect of the provision is of exceptionally high quality
Grade 2 is Good: this aspect of the provision is strong
Grade 3 is Satisfactory: this aspect of the provision is sound
Grade 4 is Inadequate: this aspect of the provision is not good enough

OFSTED Inspection – Staunton Montessori School – November 2008

Overall Effectiveness
How effective is the provision in meeting the needs of children in the Early Years Foundation Stage? – Grade 1
How well does the provision promote inclusive practice? – Grade 1
The capacity of the provision to maintain continuous improvement. – Grade 1

Leadership and Management
How effectively is provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage led and managed? – Grade 1
How effective is the setting’s self-evaluation, including the steps taken to promote improvement? – Grade 1
How well does the setting work in partnership with parents and others? – Grade 1
How well are children safeguarded? – Grade 1

Quality and Standards
How effectively are children in the Early Years Foundation Stage helped to learn and develop? – Grade 1
How effectively is the welfare of children in the Early Years Foundation Stage promoted? – Grade 1
How well are children helped to stay safe? – Grade 1
How well are children helped to be healthy? – Grade 1
How well are children helped to enjoy and achieve? – Grade 1

How well are children helped to make a positive contribution? – Grade 1
How well are children helped develop skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being? – Grade 1

Montessori Methodologies and their Relationship to the QCA Foundation Stage Curriculum

The purpose of this article is to examine how the Montessori methodologies practised at Staunton Montessori School relate to and work within the six areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum set by the QCA. The intended readers are interested parents, prospective parents and visiting OFSTED inspectors. It has been noted that the purpose of the specialist Montessori equipment is not always clear to newcomers. The entire Montessori system can in fact be placed neatly within the latest QCA Early Years framework, that OFSTED use as a guideline for inspection. Below is a table that sets out how five classic Montessori Curriculum areas correspond to the six Foundation Stage Curriculum areas:

Montessori CurriculumFoundation Stage Curriculum
LanguageCommunication, Language & Literacy
MathsMathematical Development
Practical lifeKnowledge & Understanding of the World (KUW); Personal, Social & Emotional Development (PSE)
Sensorial LearningMathematical Development
Cultural Subjects: (include Geography, Science, History & Arts)KUW & Creative Development

At Staunton Montessori School each child’s progress is assessed and monitored in the following ways:

(i) Termly Reports: These are divided in to the six areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum set by the QCA, however many details discussed refer to Montessori exercises. For instance, progress with the ‘sand paper letters’ or the construction of the ‘pink tower’.

(ii) Progress Lists: These chart the child’s progress in hundreds of areas of activity. The lists include both traditional Montessori and ‘non-Montessori’ activities. Each activity is categorised into one of the six areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum. This categorisation indicates how all of the various Montessori activities can be placed within the QCA framework, however there is often a great deal of overlap (see table). These lists also help with informed planning.

(iii) The Skills Register: This pack published by Step Forward (2001), reviews the key areas of learning in the Foundation Stage, and this is employed to give a focus on the whole child’s development.

Please also see the Foundation Course Manual (From Birth-6), published by Montessori St. Nicholas Centre (Revised 1993), for clarification on the purpose of the large number of specialist Montessori materials. Rather than review them here, it is possible to find the learning attainment targets for each exercise listed under ‘purpose’, in the manual. Please ask a member of Staunton Montessori School staff for assistance in this process if required.

Although some Montessori practitioners have felt threatened by the introduction of a nation-wide Foundation Stage Curriculum, it seems clear to us at Staunton Montessori School, that there need be no conflict between the two systems. They are actually complimentary, and moreover the recent QCA Curriculum assists in bringing the classic Montessori methodologies up to date.