STAFF, parents and children celebrated the first outstanding Oftsed report awarded to St Marks Preschool on Monday, November 29.

St Marks, located on North Road near Victoria Park, was opened by Sarah Smith and Carla Disley in 2018, aiming to deliver "high quality childcare and education at affordable prices".

Like most things over the past 18 months, the pandemic had delayed their first Ofsted inspection so the team had been anxiously awaiting the report of a business they are both so passionate about.

St Helens Star: Staff, parents and children celebrating the Ofsted report at St Marks PreschoolStaff, parents and children celebrating the Ofsted report at St Marks Preschool

Judging the organisation on their quality of education, leadership and management as well as the behaviour, attitudes and personal development of the children, the Ofsted report returned a gleaming review for the nursery - marking the team outstanding in all areas.

Often a stressful experience for teachers, the inspectors noted that children at the centre demonstrate an "unmistakeable sense of purpose when they arrive" and greeted by staff who are also looking forward to the day's events.

With team-members described as having "expert knowledge" of how children learn, St Marks was reported to have a "superb attention to detail" regarding their curriculum and all children, parents and carers are highly valued and supported - even in challenging scenarios.

Speaking to the Star, Sarah said: "I'm very proud of our achievements. Me and Carla have worked in nurseries all our lives and although we have a million and one stresses, we never stop working for the children and the business.

St Helens Star: St Marks' Ofsted report alongside their Top 20 awardsSt Marks' Ofsted report alongside their Top 20 awards

With years of experience in the childcare and education sector, Sarah explained she was surprised at the expense of preschool and nurseries, which can often disadvantage families from poorer backgrounds.

That is why the team pledged to keep St Marks as an affordable, supportive and inclusive centre for children to offer them the best start to their lives and education.

In addition to their Ofsted report, St Marks have also won awards as one of the top 20 nurseries in the North West for the last three years running - recognised through parent and carer reviews.

St Marks caters for children aged 2-4 and although places are fully booked up at present, Sarah said the door is "always open" as places often come available once the older children head to school.

For further enquiries, Sarah and the team can be contacted via their Facebook page here