Ballymena Nursery gets a 'Gold Star' report

Rachel McNabb


Rachel McNabb

BALLYMENA Nursery School has received a glowing report by the Education and Training Inspectorate (Eti).

The report gave the nursery school the highest award for overall effectiveness with “a high level of capacity for sustained improvement”.

It follows an inspection of the nurserys at Trostan Avenue, Ballymena which was carried out on April 26.

In the report the inspectors commented that the nursery school leadership “understand fully the changing needs of the children and wider community”.

Just last year the nursery school celebrated its 50th anniversary with a community party.

As it sits on the site where Ballymena Castle once stood, the celebrations involved a “castle theme” with knights, princesses, court jesters, balloon modelling and face painting.

The inspectors also commented that parent's written comments “praised the staff's dedicated professionalism and care in meeting the children's individual needs” and highlighted the nursery's positive reputation within and contribution to the community.

The staff comments “endorsed the supportive and productive working relationships at all levels and the caring and positive strategic leadership of the principal”.

The inspectors reported that both indoors and outdoors, the staff provide a “stimulating, richly resourced and well organised learning environment; the wide range of authentic and natural resources and displays are easily accessed by the children to progress their self-reliance and to promote their active interest”.

The inspectors also commented: “The children's personal, social and emotional development is a key strength. Their self-management skills are very well established. All of the children, including those who require additional support with aspects of their learning are making very good progress across all aspects of the pre-school curriculum.”

Ballymena Nursery School principal, Jacqueline Coulter, said she was “delighted to have a top mark for overall effectiveness from the Eti”.

She added: “We are also delighted to have worked with Women's Aid and have received our safe place status and we are currently working towards our safe school status with Women's Aid.”

Ballymena Nursery School is now in its 51st year of providing pre-school education and care (Educare) of the children in Ballymena and surrounding villages.

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