A nursery run by the City of Edinburgh Council has achieved a clean sweep of ‘excellent’ grades in an Education Scotland report.


The Cowgate U5’s Centre was awarded the accolades in five categories in the report which inspectors published today (Tuesday 11 March 2014).


The grades were for Children’s Experiences, Meeting Learning Needs, Improvements in Performance, The Curriculum and Improvement through Self-evaluation. This means the nursery becomes only one of a handful in Scotland to achieve a full set of ‘excellents’.


The report highlights a number of key strengths:


  • The rich learning experiences which promote children’s creativity and bring about achievements
  • The exceptional skills of staff in responding to individual children’s interests and needs
  • The outstanding opportunities for children to reflect, investigate and explore the outdoors
  • Dynamic and enquiring leadership throughout the centre
  • The ethos based on trust and mutual respect which reflects the strong vision and shared values of the centre


It goes on to say that:


‘Children’s learning at Cowgate Under 5’s Centre is outstanding’, ‘in all areas of the nursery, highly-knowledgeable staff provide comfort, encouragement and stimulation’ and ‘children’s outdoor experiences are of an exceptionally high-quality’.


In addition the Care Inspectorate report awarded the centre four ‘excellent’ gradings for the quality of care services.

Lynn McNair, Head of Cowgate Under 5’s Centre, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the inspector’s findings. In their report they celebrated, as we do, early childhood as a period in its own right and shared our view that children are rich, capable, trustworthy people.


“The report also illustrates our close relationships with parents – we can often be heard to say ‘we live’ with our parents!  Finally, and significantly, the report highlights the commitment of our highly motivated team of outstanding professionals.  We are very happy.”

Cllr Paul Godzik, Education, Children and Families Convener, said: “This is an outstanding report, highlighting the real quality we have within our early years establishments here in Edinburgh.  I’m delighted that the inspectors found such a high standard of learning at the nursery and I’m especially pleased at the hugely positive comments about the staff team.

“The Capital Coalition has a commitment to ensure every child in Edinburgh has the best start in life and the Cowgate nursery is a shining example of how we are meeting that pledge.”



Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children & Young People, MSP said: “The work taking place at Cowgate Under 5’s Centre is clearly having a positive impact on the children’s progress and development. Cowgate is a great example of how a flexible, high quality approach to childcare and early years learning can benefit pupils.

“To obtain five evaluations of Excellent is indeed impressive and I am delighted to learn that the school is performing so well for its children. I’m really looking forward my visit to Cowgate Under 5s Centre today.”

Alistair Delaney, Director of Inspection at Education Scotland said: “Our inspection has shown that Cowgate Under 5s Centre is achieving tremendous success in promoting the learning and development of its children. The work taking place is clearly having a positive impact on the children’s progress and development.

“The nursery is also an example of how a flexible, high quality approach to childcare and early years learning can really benefit everyone involved. I would like to congratulate all the staff, parents and children involved and encourage them to keep up the good work.”