THE hard work and happiness of staff and children at a Darlington nursery has been recognised by education watchdog Ofsted.

Following a recent inspection, the Ferndene Nursery, in Elton Parade, was declared as outstanding.

In a report, the inspector praised the quality of teaching, inspirational leadership and a highly stimulating learning environment.

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The report said children at the nursery were happy, secure and settled, showing excellent levels of confidence and independence.

Lynne Walden, director of the nursery, said: “The inspection covers three judgements and we are outstanding in all.

“The quality of teaching is outstanding and this is why our children make such rapid progress here.

“All of our staff are well qualified, highly trained and experienced which makes a significant difference to outcomes for each child.

“All children who attend Ferndene reach high levels of achievement.”

The nursery received a letter from Sir Michael Wilshire, HM chief inspector for schools, highlighting its achievements.

It said: “The judgement of outstanding means you are exceptional and significant elements of your work are exemplary.

“I do not underestimate the considerable hard work, expertise and commitment it takes to achieve outstanding provider status.”

Children and staff celebrated by inviting parents to join them for their annual carnival, which was held to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The full report can be viewed at