A WORKINGTON nursery is celebrating after it was rated as outstanding for the third time by the education watchdog.

Footsteps Nursery, which is based at the Minto Centre on Nilsson Drive, was judged outstanding by Ofsted in all of the four areas inspected: effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare; outcomes for children.

Inspector Carys Millican said: “The nursery benefits from the outstanding and inspirational leadership of the manager and the exceptional practice of the highly qualified and motivated staff team.

“They demonstrate an incredible passion to maintain the highest standards attained at their last inspection and continue to create a highly stimulating, exciting and nurturing environment for all children.”

Karen Fisher, nursery manager, said: “On a personal level I cannot think of a better way for me to celebrate 40 years of working in the world of early years education.”

Mrs Fisher said the secret to the nursery’s success is staff’s continuous professional development.

“We invest very heavily on this, I’ve always believed that you never stop learning - the man who’s really educated is the one who’s willing to learn and knows how to learn,” she added.

The nursery, which is owned by Westfield Housing Association, opened 14 years ago and the number of children using the service has doubled since then, from 54 to 108. It was first rated as outstanding by Ofsted in 2010.

Mrs Fisher said she was pleased the inspector reaffirmed leadership and management were strong. “Inspiring 38 members of staff on a daily basis is a huge task itself and it’s nice for that to have been recognised,” she said.

The nursery is part of the Edinburgh Froebel Network. “We have Froebel to thank for reminding us to maintain a totally child-centred environment giving our children the freedom to learn through play whilst guiding them with a sensitive, caring hand,” said Mrs Fisher.