A children's nursery in North Hertfordshire has been rated 'requires improvement' by education watchdog Ofsted.

Puddleducks Day Nursery in Baldock requires improvement in all areas, Ofsted has found, from the quality of education and personal development, to behaviour and attitudes, and leadership and management.

Following an inspection of the nursery in November, an Ofsted report published on Tuesday says: "The dedicated and ambitious leadership team has a clear understanding of what they want all children to learn and how to achieve this. However, the curriculum is not fully embedded.

"Staff's knowledge of the planned curriculum and their interactions with the children are variable across the nursery.

"They plan inviting experiences for children, but do not always consider how they can implement this for the age and ability of the children.

"Consequently, children do not stay at the activity for long and some do not learn as much as they could."

The Ofsted inspector also found that, "during some activities, staff provide too few opportunities for children to hear high-quality back-and-forth interactions".

Meanwhile, "staff support children's personal, social and emotional development well," and "there are many opportunities for children to develop their independence," the report says.

It continues: "However, some routines and transitions of the day are not always planned as well or supported by staff.

"Therefore, at times, staff become rushed and disorganised, and children are not able to make the most of the potential learning opportunities."

Ofsted found that parents are happy with the care that their children receive, and that "they comment that they know their child is happy and safe as the staff are so caring."

To meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and Childcare Register, Ofsted says the nursery must "improve and embed the implementation of the curriculum, including staff's interactions with the children, to ensure all children receive consistently meaningful learning experiences that build on what they already know and can do."

To further improve the quality of the Early Years provision, Ofsted says the nursery should also "extend staff's knowledge on supporting and extending children's language development and review the organisation of routines to better support children's individual needs and learning outcomes."

Dena Leek, the nursery's director, said: "We recently introduced a new curriculum at the nursery in order to meet the main principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage and ensure it reflects our ethos. Unfortunately, this has only recently been implemented and on the day of inspection we were not able to fully implement the changes required and demonstrate this.

"We were very sad to receive this outcome, but immediately made plans to make very positive changes in order to further embed practise and improve the overall quality of learning and opportunities for our children.

"The nursery engaged an Early Years professional to work with us at the beginning of December in order to define key areas and provide a robust improvement plan. 

"The nursery has already made many positive improvements and will continue to do so. We are also committed to mentoring and training all of our staff team. 

"When we informed parents of the Ofsted report we were blown away by their positive response and support for the nursery. 

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"Puddleducks is a well-established day nursery with a good reputation and has been providing childcare for over 28 years.

"All the management team are determined to get the nursery back on top and ready for our Ofsted inspection later next year."

The nursery's Ofsted rating was good in 2018 and outstanding in 2013.