A NURSERY has been praised for improvements made to turn around its fortunes after inspectors previously criticised staff.

Shepherds Spring Nursery and Pre-School, in Smannell Road, was inspected by Ofsted on February 5 and was rated as ‘good’.

Last year the watchdog rated the pre-school as ‘inadequate’ after fears were raised over welfare, but in its latest report it said staff “have a secure understanding of a wide range of signs that could indicate that a child is at risk of harm, including exposure to extreme views.”

The report added: “Staff act swiftly if they have a concern about a child and work in effective partnership with agencies to support children’s welfare”.

Manager Sharon Harper-Ronald was also praised, with inspectors saying her “dedication to raising the quality of the provision is admirable”.

In the previous report, inspectors all said children were not making enough progress, but children now “gain a wide range of skills that will prepare them for the next stage in their learning or move to school”.

Youngsters also “arrive happy and eager to learn,” with “interesting play opportunities that spark children’s love of learning and support children to successfully investigate and problems solve for themselves”.

Parents lauded the nursery for the progress of their children, and inspectors said that the provider “works effectively” with a range of professionals to fill in any gaps.

Nursery trustees said: “We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a good rating from Ofsted.

“We are extremely proud of the incredible hard work and achievements of the management and staff. Their determination to deliver the highest possible standards over the past six months has exceeded all expectations. Our achievements could not have been realised without the help, support and guidance from Hampshire County Council: Services for Young Children and Vanessa Dooley of Jigsaw Early Years Consultancy to which we extend our appreciation and gratitude.

“We also want to express our heartfelt thanks to all parents and carers who have provided the staff with much needed confidence and support over recent months.”