A specialist nursery based at The James Cook University Hospital has become one of just 22 early years providers in England to achieve Ofsted’s highest rating five times.
The Cleveland Unit Child Development Centre is an assessment, therapy and teaching centre for children aged between two and four with complex special educational needs.
Since its first inspection in 2005 it has consistently been rated “outstanding”.
During the educational watchdog’s latest visit it found the quality of education, children’s behaviour and personal development, and the management of the unit all to be outstanding.
Ofsted inspector Michelle Lorains highlighted staff’s “extensive knowledge” of children’s stages of development, describing them as “nurturing, caring and passionate about their work”.
She also found they were inspired by a manager with “exceptional levels of experience and understanding of how to meet children’s complex medical needs and support children with SEND”.
Jennie Kitchen, Cleveland Unit manager and head of Middlesbrough Council’s Early Years Specialist Support Service, said she was extremely lucky and proud to work with such a “dedicated, passionate and skilled team”.
“I’m delighted that Ofsted have again recognised the amazing work that the whole team does to help every child in our care reach their full potential,” she added.
“I’m enormously grateful to the Cleveland Unit team, parents and carers and all the other professionals we work with across education, health and care for giving the children at The Cleveland Unit such a fantastic experience that sows the seeds for a happy and successful life.
“To be judged as ‘outstanding’ once is a great achievement but to consistently receive this accolade, now for the fifth time in succession, is really something to be celebrated.”
Councillor Barrie Cooper, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for education and skills, said: “Outstanding barely does justice to the achievements of The Cleveland Unit.
“To be rated outstanding once is quite something – to do that five times in succession is really very special indeed.”
Feedback from parents is described as “highly complementary”, with one stating that “teachers go above and beyond for my child and never let us down”.