Life’s a beach!  Family-run nursery wins national award

ARCHFIELD House in Cotham has won a national title as Nursery of the Year.

Staff from the setting received the award at a ceremony in London attended by more than 500 people and hosted by comedian Paul Whitehouse.

The 103-place nursery in Archfield Road was founded in 1986 by Sue Parslow and is now run by her daughter Rebecca Clevett. Many of the highly-qualified staff have worked there for more than 15 years and one for 28 years.   

Archfield House, which received its second Outstanding judgement from Ofsted earlier this year, works closely with other independent, voluntary, community and maintained early years settings across Bristol to share expertise and has been selected by the Government to take part in a Stronger Practice Hub.

The judges for the award, run by the Nursery World magazine, praised Archfield House for striving to “provide exceptional care and to ensure that every child is supported to achieve their full potential in a safe, nurturing and enabling environment”.

They highlighted the play-based curriculum and experiences that promote exploration, problem-solving, creativity and social interaction. 

Archfield House was a pioneer of Beach School, where children catch the train to explore Severn Beach, and also offers forest school sessions.

“Children’s outcomes are enhanced by working with the skilled dancers, photographers, musicians and linguists among the staff team. There is also an artist in residence and a woodwork area, while mindfulness and yoga sessions are offered too,” the judges said.

“The nursery also has great links with local schools and care homes, the local bus routes and train station, as well as local parks and shops. Regular ‘Wandering Wanderers’ sessions encourage children to step into the locality and simply see what they can find.”

Both the award judges and Ofsted noted the nursery’s strong partnerships with parents, and a recent Ofsted inspector commented on the ‘overwhelming support from the parent community’. 

A spokesman for Bristol Early Years the family-run nursery’s success was a welcome positive story at a tough time for the sector.

“Early Years settings have been facing and continue to face an incredibly hard time, struggling to recruit, stay open and offer spaces for families. 

“We are very proud of the sector for continuing to advocate for the importance of high-quality early years care and education and we hope this award being nominated to a Bristol setting reflects the amazing work that is happening within Bristol Early Years.”