St John's Wood nursery 'requires improvement' after surprise Ofsted visit

Google maps image of St John's Wood High Street shop frontages in Westminster

B_together provides early years childcare in St John's Wood. - Credit: Google Maps

A nursery in St John's Wood has been rated by Ofsted as "requires improvement" after a recent, unannounced inspection.

B_together is a nursery in St John's Wood High Street for 0 to eight-year-olds that opened in 2021 by Maggie Bolger, who previously launched the family members’ club Maggie & Rose.

In its first Ofsted visit, the regulator found the nursery to require improvement in each category.

On what the nursery was doing right, the report said: "Children are happy to come to this nursery. Staff get down to their level to interact with the children and speak warmly and positively to them. Staff are quick to comfort children with a cuddle or words of reassurance when needed.

"Leaders work hard to provide an environment where children can explore and develop their curiosity and confidence."

However, it also said that the quality of interactions between children and staff is "variable".

On occasion, children are "left to play with limited interactions from staff" and "some toddlers find it challenging to share or take turns".

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On occasion, staff do not support and encourage quieter children to join in with activities, the report found.

It also noted that the children speak a variety of different languages but staff do not use children's home languages in play.

A spokesperson for the nursery said: "We are understandably disappointed to have received a 'requires improvement' rating in our latest - and first - Ofsted inspection. This means that we provide a good level of care for our little ones and our safeguarding is effective, however some aspects of nursery life require a little more work.

"This was an unannounced inspection which came at an incredibly challenging time, with multiple team members absent from work that day due to sickness and personal emergencies.

"Over the last year, early years staffing has been at critical levels in the UK and we are sadly not immune to the impact of this crisis here at B_together.

"We take the inspector's observations seriously and have already begun work to address both our staffing issues and the specific actions highlighted in the report around consistency of teaching and improved support to those children who speak English as an additional language, engaging a senior consultant (an ex-Ofsted inspector herself) to work with us on implementation."