AN Oswaldtwistle nursery school has retained its outstanding rating after a recent visit by Ofsted inspectors.

Fairfield Nursery, in Fairfield Street, was once again given the highest rating possible by the independent inspectors — a rating it has maintained since 2007.

Sacha Walker-Byrne, the deputy headteacher, said: “We are delighted.

“It’s smashing to have that affirmation from an external agency to come in and recognise the work of the children and the staff.

“We are outstanding because we recognise how we need to improve further.

“We are always striving to be even better.”

The Ofsted report praised the school and said: “Children make rapid progress in their time in the school.

“From below typical starting points most children reach the levels expected for their age by the time they move to reception.

“These excellent outcomes are the result of outstanding teaching.

“Staff are skilled at providing a wide array of activities that capture children’s imaginations.

“Children develop quickly and most become confident in learning.

“Children quickly improve their speaking and communication skills.

“When they leave, most read and write at levels typical for their age.

“At times, staff do not take advantage of opportunities to extend the children’s awareness of letters and sounds.

But it went on: “Original and very effective strategies are in place to assess and record the children’s progress.”

The inspectors found there was a wide range of activities available for youngsters.

The report added: “Activities are extremely well organised to enable children to follow their own interests.

“Outdoors, children can cycle, climb a tree-house, and learn about wildlife by looking at the two hens.

“Classrooms inspire children to learn.

“Books are always available, and play areas carefully devised to encourage learning.

“Imaginative approaches to staff training keep everyone up to date and encourage ambition.

“The school is very well placed to continue to improve.”