MSP praises nursery success

THERE has been warm praise for a high-achieving nursery at Dumfries . . . and a visit from the local MSP.


The well-equipped 'Happy Faces' facility in Calside Road again received impressive ratings in two key areas selected for inspection by the Care Inspectorate during a recent visit.

Building on previous success, grades of excellent were achieved for care / support and staffing to the delight of the enthusiastic team.

Happy Faces currently hold amongst the highest Care Inspectorate gradings for nurseries in south west Scotland.

Owner and manager Lesley Woodhouse, who also runs an after-school club with her husband Chris Belford, believes nursery services are increasingly important in meeting the challenges of modern life.

Lesley pointed out that following official visits elsewhere in the region by the Care Inspectorate, the second and third highest scoring nurseries were also privately operated.

She said: “I have always known my team were fantastic, highly skilled and dedicated. I’m delighted they have now been recognised.

“Most of the Happy Faces team have been here for years and our success reflects their tireless hard work and continuous development.’’

Lesley welcomes the roll-out this year of the Scottish Government early learning programme which will provide 1140 hours publicly funded care and education for eligible two-year-olds and all three and four year olds.

Happy Faces, she explained, had already received enquiries from parents looking for flexible quality early learning opportunities.

Lesley said: “I understand it is extremely difficult for parents to juggle working and paying for childcare. 

“The journey to get here has been fraught with difficulties and I want to say a huge thank you to Oliver Mundell, who has supported the sector tirelessly.”

Mr Mundell, a member of the Scottish Parliament education and skills committee, visited Happy Faces to congratulate them on their achievement.

He said: “Lesley and the team’s success illustrates the importance of the all-year round service offered by private operators.

“The early years investment is a welcome move nationally although there are still issues remaining in my constituency which I’m continuing to highlight.

“One point raised is that although private nurseries gain glowing reports, they appear to receive less than half the hourly rate of that given to local authority school nurseries.”