A POTENTIAL nursery place crisis in Blackbird Leys has been averted after a childcare centre improved enough to take on new two-year-olds.

The Co-Operative Childcare Blackbird Leys Nursery was deemed inadequate last year by Ofsted after an inspection found serious concerns including children hitting each other.

During this period it was unable to take on new placements.

The problem was compounded earlier this year when nearby nurseries Shepherds Hill and Little Doves announced their closures, resulting in about 120 two and three-year-olds being at risk of having no educational facilities.

But the Cuddesdon Way centre was re-inspected by Ofsted in March and the report released on Monday confirmed it was now rated good.

Ofsted praised the “sustained and successful” improvements that the centre had made in the past year.

The inspectorate praised the “buzz” of the pre-school room, and how enthusiastically children engaged. It also highlighted improvements in the way the nursery was managed, saying new manager Beverley Capewell was driving changes.

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “I very much welcome the progress the Co-op nursery has made.

“This is very important for pre-school provision in Blackbird Leys and the surrounding area. It is especially welcome that the nursery can now take two-year-olds again in view of the plight of other provision in the area.”

Ms Capewell, who became the manager at the beginning of this year, said: “We’re delighted that all of our hard work and commitment to providing good care and education to children has been recognised by Ofsted in our most recent report.

“We constantly strive to make our nursery a stimulating, learning environment for our children and are pleased to have had our improvements acknowledged.

“As part of these changes we are now also able to accommodate more children in our Blackbird Leys nursery, as the demand for nursery places in the area continues to grow.”

Inspector Gill Little said: “The nursery has made sustained and successful improvements with regard to all actions set by Ofsted.

“The team now shows a clear understanding of its responsibility to meet the legal requirements set out in the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.”

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