The good news for Southdown Nursery and Forest School continued this week after its summer fair raised a record-breaking £1,069.
Already basking in the glow of an Ofsted’s ‘Outstanding’ report, the Steyning pre-chool saw 150 adults and children relax in the sunshine last Saturday. Face-painting, ‘splat the rat’, cakes sales, bar and barbeque all added to the total.
The ‘Buy-a-brick’ initiative, to replace the sagging garden wall on Jarvis Lane, secured £105 for an urgent project that will cost an estimated £40,000.
Two years ago South Downs was on the verge of closing with few pupils and little cash. Now parents are queuing up to get in with four new pupils asking to join at the fair.
Its reputation has soared under the management of headteacher Lucy Smith and her deputies.
“There have been enormous improvements under the new manager,” Ofsted said, and that she provided “inspirational leadership for the dedicated and experienced staff team.”
It added: “The staff team has excellent teaching skills,” Ofsted said. “The nursery is highly organised so that children have continuous support and guidance.
Southdown uses its ¼ acre to develop its Forest School activities, led by former primary school teacher Amanda Walton.
“Staff are, without exception, consistently skilled at encouraging children to think, problem solve and achieve their goals,” Ofsted reported. “All children make exceptional progress from their individual starting points.”
Ms Smith said: “It was a really lovely day, the sun shone and the atmosphere was really relaxed. We’re delighted to have raised so much money and I’m incredibly proud of my staff and our achievements.
“I’d also like thank Coop for contributing buns and strawberries as well as many other locals businesses who generously gave raffle prizes.”