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Abriachan Forest School outdoor nursery applauded by care Inspectorate for quality of service

By Alasdair Fraser

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Care Inspectorate Logo.
Care Inspectorate Logo.

A forest nursery in the hills above Loch Ness has earned a glowing report from inspectors.

The Care Inspectorate rated Abriachan Forest School as very good in four main areas of service examined.

Run by Abriachan Forest Trust and registered in January last year, the facility provides outdoor day care for a maximum of 32 children, from age three to those not yet of school age, at any one time.

A report by inspectors described a “large and diverse outdoor area which offers a very wide range of opportunities for outdoor exploration and learning”.

Drawing on parental feedback and observation on an unannounced visit on September 17, the report described children as being very happy and relaxed in the staff’s care.

It stated: “There was a very good rapport between the children and staff which allowed for natural and open communication.

“The children were all engaged in a range of activities, enjoyed showing us what they had been making, and enthusiastically told us about a camera they had set up to hopefully catch photographs of a pine marten visiting the site.”

Five parents and carers also gave feedback, and were “extremely happy” with the standard of care received by children and the opportunities attending a forest school had provided.

Comments included one parent saying: “I love the fact my son is getting to spend so much time outdoors and discovering the magic of a forest on the hill.”

Another said: “The crafts activities are lovely – a real mixture of letting them do their own thing and also some awesome little ideas from the leaders.”

Another carer credited the service for helping their child develop physically and mentally, shaping her character and encouraging her to be “brave and confident and yet very emotionally aware” of others.

The forest nursery’s quality of care and support, environment, staffing, and management and leadership were all rated very good.

The report added: “Staff were all aware of the individual care needs of the children attending. Each of the children had a personal plan in place which was routinely updated in conjunction with parents and carers.”

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