SMILING faces are not an unusual sight at a Southampton nursery.

But now staff and children at Busy Bee pre-school in Shirley have even more reasons to be cheerful.

It has received top marks in its latest Ofsted report.

Inspectors awarded it an outstanding report, praising the inspiring staff and excellent indoor and outdoor spaces filled with toys and equipment for its 92 two- to-four-year-olds to explore.

The pre-school in Marlborough Road opened in 2001 and welcomes children with special educational needs, disabilities and those who are learning English as an additional language.

Inspectors noted how staff help youngsters flourish in time for school and parents are kept up to date with their child’s learning.

The report said: “Children’s needs are quickly identified and exceptionally well met, generally through highly effective partnerships.

"Consequently, children thrive in their care and make good social and educational progress while at pre-school.

“Children flourish due to the diversity and exceptional quality of the activities staff make available by planning a rich learning environment.

“Staff are highly reflective about their practice and have an excellent understanding of how to nurture, excite and enrich children’s interest.

"Consequently, children enjoy their time at the pre-school and make very good progress in their learning.”

Owner Alison Neville said: “Both Busy Bee pre-schools, in Shirley and in Millbrook, operate to extremely high standards, led by a team of dedicated and high qualified staff. We all love our chosen career, and work hard to create a learning environment that children and their parents want to be a part of.

“Over the last three years we have made huge improvements to the settings and spent long hours and much money creating the Busy Bees we have today.

“Our aim is to give each child a happy, interesting and motivated start to their educational life.

“Staff work together to plan interesting and fun activities to meet each child’s individual skills and needs to ensure they all reach their full potential and are ready to transfer to school when the time comes.

“We have been waiting for this Ofsted inspection for several years now and I have phoned on numerous occasions, asking them to visit.

"When they did arrive, we were all genuinely pleased and excited, that at long last we could get recognition for everyone’s enthusiasm and effort. Receiving an ‘Outstanding’ award was the icing on the cake!”