LEARNING is proving to be child’s play for a nursery was hailed ‘outstanding’ across the board by Government inspectors.

Ofsted inspectors awarded the top grading to Darlington College Childcare Centre in four key areas including effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for children.

They last inspected the facility in 2015 when they rated the nursery 'good' with outstanding features. Since then, learning and care have improved even further for more than 60 children, ranging in age from babies to four-years-old.

In a thorough examination of all aspects of the childcare centre, inspectors toured nursery rooms and the outdoor play areas.

They spoke to staff and children, observed sessions, scrutinised documentation, including evidence of the suitability and qualifications of staff working at the nursery and listened to the views of parents.

Inspectors said: “Staff work incredibly closely together. They strongly motivate children across the age ranges, providing a rich and vibrant learning environment.

“They expertly use questioning to encourage children to think creatively and solve problems for themselves. Babies communicate delightfully with sounds and facial expressions.

“All children, including those who receive additional funding, excel in their learning. They acquire a superb range of skills in preparation for their future learning. Children show great curiosity and have a wonderful approach to learning.”

A full report of the findings also noted children's behaviour is "exemplary" and they are able to develop "very secure attachments with staff".

Centre manager Andi Brennan was delighted with the report. She said: “This has been a huge team effort with every single one of us playing a part in this successful inspection, which recognises all our hard work.

“What the inspector saw is what we deliver every day and that is what is important to me. For my deputy Dionne Evers and room leaders Doni Allan and Amanda Donald this is especially rewarding as they started here as apprentices and this shows the opportunities staff have to progress, develop and flourish in what I feel is a great place to work.”