A SOUTHAMPTON nursery has been criticised following a recent inspection by the education watchdog.

The Mulberry Bush in Bitterne Park 'requires improvement' based on the recent findings of Ofsted inspectors.

The report, published on April 1, highlighted issues with retaining staff at the site in Witts Hill. Safeguarding was "effective," the report said.

Issues at the nursery have impacted "children's emotional well-being, causing them to become unsettled".

Inspectors assessed the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership at the nursery.

All categories were rated as requiring improvement following a visit on February 25.

The report found that staffing at the nursery was "inconsistent" after many key members of the team left.

In the pre-school room children did not make the best progress they could as staff did not plan well for activities.

The report said activities in the older age groups were not always designed to give children the knowledge and skills that they needed.

As well as this, staff moved between rooms during the day which meant "not all children build strong attachments with their key person".

Inspectors said this did not "help promote children's emotional wellbeing".

However, the management team is working to address the shortages and staff turnover.

Inspectors also found that individual needs are not always targeted effectively as some staff "do not know what they intend children to learn".

Concerns were raised about the learning of scissor safety, as staff do not provide any safety reminder or model on how to hold them properly.

"The management team does not provide regular supervision to staff," the report added.

"This does not enable them to identify the professional development needs of staff securely to help strengthen their teaching skills.

"Staff do not have enough opportunities to discuss the individual needs of children to ensure these are consistently met, " it stated.

The report also highlighted "excessive noise" in the pre-school room, which means it is "difficult for children to focus".

Despite this, the report found that children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive effective support.

Parents speak positively about the nursery telling inspectors about the extra experiences on offer for youngsters, such as yoga and trips to a pumpkin farm.

Parents also commented on the staffing changes and said they felt reassured by the level of information shared in weekly updates.

It was found that behaviour is, generally, good but children sometimes struggled to share equipment and resources.

A spokesperson from the nursery explained that staffing issues in early years education are being felt nationally.

They added that they are "seeing the benefits of their new remuneration package" and are "confident" that they are " beginning to be able to provide the consistency of care that we always aim to provide for our families".

The spokesperson said: "We are very pleased to be able to reward our excellent staff with increased pay and benefits, we are concerned however that smaller settings, which offer vital support to many families, will not be able to compete in this market.

"Government childcare funding is so far behind the rising costs of living and inflation in wages (partly driven by the national living wage increases which increase at a far greater rate than the rate of funding provided to childcare settings) that it will eventually impact the ability of the sector to provide a range of childcare options and this will have the greatest effect on the most vulnerable families."