Redcliffe Children’s Centre evolved from being a purpose built Nursery School in the 1960’s to an Early Excellence Centre in 2000, to an Early Years Centre in 2003 . It became an Early Designated Children’s Centre in September 2003 and the Neighbourhood Nursery opened in May 2004. It is a local authority Children’s Centre and is managed by a Head Teacher. The Senior Management / Leadership Team reflect the integrated services provided at the Centre. The Centre is in the 30% band of the most deprived areas in England. We have a 60% ethnic minority mix and on average we have 12 different languages spoken at the Centre. We have had ten Ofsted inspections in nine years. In all we were judged `Outstanding` this includes an equal opportunities and mathematics subject inspections. We were particularly proud that our 2011 Schools inspection judged all teaching sessions to be outstanding. The Centre provides nursery places for 3 and 4 year olds and 2 year olds. It also offers breakfast and tea club places. The Centre is open for 48 weeks a year. We have over 140 children on our register using our nursery provision. Our family services provide an outreach for 1,400 families.
The nursery building is set amidst a group of high rise flats close to the city centre and areas of historical interest. In 2009 we acquired family service space at unused church premises only 100 yards from our main building. This has given us much more scope to develop our service to families and the community, we have also recently acquired a shop unit on Prewett Street that will be used for smaller groups and cookery sessions. We use all the community space that we can and we have a thriving allotment and are very lucky to have access to St Mary Redcliffe & Temple secondary school swimming pool. Over forty of our families regularly use this facility. We also have three forest sites. The Governor’s, Head and staff continue to develop the space for the families believing that the comfortable appealing space we offer values the family and children that attend the centre.
In September 2006 we started a Forest Experience to benefit the families and children of the Centre. Our Forest Experience, which illustrates our principles, is to provide awe inspiring matter, challenge, adventure, and ecology. This outdoor agenda moves very much beyond the basic outline of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). We have three forest sites and now all children spend a day at the forest every week finding freedom and adventure. We purchased a minibus for forest trips in January 2011.
Here at Redcliffe we have food at the heart of what we do every day. The children explore food in our children's kitchen, eat healthy home cooked meals for lunch and tea and visit the allotment at Windmill Hill City Farm. In 2006 we founded our Creative Food Project which is now threaded throughout the whole Centre. We were presented with the Bristol Food Hero award in 2013, Jamie Oliver said of Redcliffe Food Project “What Redcliffe Nursery School does for food and eating is absolutely beautiful”
Another main strength of our centre is mathematics and in 2008 the Williams Mathematics Committee visited the centre. They were extremely impressed by the mathematics and particularly that children had the opportunity to make their own mathematical graphics to solve their problems. The review team commented on the visit and made a major recommendation in their review document as a result of their experience at Redcliffe.
Professional development is key and Redcliffe’s teaching staff are highly qualified in Early Years education practices and are in close touch with and, in some cases contributing to, the development of teaching practices for this age group on an international level. Many of our teaching leadership have completed, or are in the process of completing, masters level studies in Early Years education practices – a fact that displays a deep commitment to excellence within their practice. We are also a research base and support research projects and see the need for theory as well as practice as we strive for early years to be a true profession. In March 2013 we became a National Teaching School.