This provision is outstanding:
Summary of key findings for parents   

Leadership is exemplary and worthy of disseminating. The principal of the nursery is highly dynamic and skilful. She provides exceptionally high-quality childcare through the meticulously precise management of her effective team. 

Children are extremely motivated to learn in the vibrant and resourceful environment. They enthusiastically move between the exciting indoor and outdoor learning environments that capture and sustain children’s interests. 

Children’s progress is expertly monitored by their dedicated key person. Children excel in their learning, making exemplary progress from their starting points. 

Children form extremely close bonds with the practitioners in the nursery. They enter the nursery confidently and are greeted by warm and welcoming gestures from all of the practitioners. Children show great kindness towards each other. They form small friendship groups and are regularly heard asking other children to join them in a game or to produce a model together from the construction toys. 

Partnerships with parents are exemplary. Parents speak extremely highly of the nursery principal and her team of expert practitioners. Parents whose children did not attend the nursery on the day of the inspection made a special trip to share their views with the inspector on the way in which the nursery has comprehensively supported their children’s development. 

All children are superbly supported in both their learning and development and their well-being needs. Practitioners work extremely well with other professionals to support all children, especially those who have special educational needs or disability. 

What the setting needs to do to improve further

To further improve the quality of the early years provision the provider should: 

  • review the already thorough and effective monitoring of children’s progress to evaluate how the data can be used to raise teaching and learning to an even higher level.  

Inspection activities 

  • The inspector observed the quality of teaching during activities indoors and outdoors and assessed the impact this has on children’s learning.  
    • The inspector completed a joint observation with the principal.  
  • The inspector held a discussion with the principal. She looked at relevant documentation, such as the nursery’s self-evaluation and evidence of the suitability of practitioners working in the nursery.  
  • The inspector took account of the views of parents spoken to during the inspection and through written comments within children’s development information.  


Lynn Hughes 

Inspection findings 

Effectiveness of the leadership and management is outstanding   

Arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Practitioners are extremely skilled at recognising the signs and symptoms of abuse. They follow the nursery’s rigorous safeguarding procedures to ensure that every child’s well-being is paramount. Leaders implement robust policies to ensure the safety of both children and practitioners. Highly effective supervision and coaching ensures that practitioners’ professional development is expertly enhanced. The nursery principal acts as an exemplary role model for her team of well-qualified and dedicated childcare professionals. Effective monitoring of children’s progress enables the principal to identify any gaps in children’s learning and to seek appropriate interventions. She is currently reviewing how she uses this data to target children’s learning to raise it to an even higher level.    

Quality of teaching, learning and assessment is outstanding   

Opportunities for children’s learning are extensive. Children enthusiastically guide their own play and learning by freely accessing the innovative range of resources available to them. They explore whether a small selection of items will float or sink in their bowl of water. Once they establish the answer they place the item on the correct visual prompt of float or sink. Practitioners sit close by and ask children purposeful questions to extend their thinking. Children thoroughly enjoy expressing themselves in the role play and messy-play rooms. The resources to promote children’s imaginative skills are exciting and versatile. Children determine how the role play room is used and which scenario they want to act out. Practitioners skilfully enhance children’s communication and language skills, ensuring that all children are able to articulate their feelings and participate in both large- and small-group discussions.  

Personal development, behaviour and welfare are outstanding   

Children are extremely comfortable in the nursery. Children’s self-esteem and confidence are expertly promoted by practitioners who consistently offer children praise and encouragement. Children are highly respectful of each other and of the adults caring for them. For example, they know not to interrupt a conversation between other people; they say excuse me and wait until there is a gap in the discussion. Children are extremely knowledgeable about where food comes from. They grow and harvest a wide range of fruit and vegetables in their garden. Children are provided with extensive opportunities to develop their physical skills. For example, they negotiate walking along wooden stepping stones in the garden and gallop around the horse trial circuit in their horse costume.  

Outcomes for children are outstanding  

Children are extremely well prepared for their next stage of learning, including entering school. Many children are able to write their own names and some read simple sentences from reading books. All children develop excellent personal care skills from an early age. For example, they proficiently prepare themselves for playing outdoors by choosing appropriate clothing.  

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, The Earl and Countess of Wessex Visits Mersea Island.

On Tuesday March 10th 2020, we were lucky enough to meet Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, The Earl and Countess of Wessex.  We spent some time at Nursery exploring the members of the Royal family, before walking to our local Mersea centre to greet them and to wish Prince Edward a Happy Birthday! The children waited beautifully and demonstrated lovely manners-well done everyone!

Mulberry Bush Proud To Be Awarded ‘Good Beginnings Silver Award for Autism Friendly Environments’ 2017

The Mulberry Bush Montessori Nursery in West Mersea has been awarded the GB Silver Award for Autism Friendly Environments.

Nursery Principal Cheryl Knight said, ‘We welcome this award in recognition for the work we do to promote equality and inclusion. Nursery Senco, Jo Walton is our Autism Lead and Leander Trunks is the nursery speech and language coordinator, they mentor all staff to ensure continuity in practice in promoting Inclusion by maintaining a safe, positive, welcoming and enabling environment which reflects the needs of all the children within our setting. As a team we are committed to working in partnership with parents and other professionals and hold shared aspirations for each and every child, ensuring they are given the support and the opportunities to reach their full potential and achieve the best outcomes”.


The Mulberry Bush Children make regular visits to local elderly residents.

National Management Team Awards 2016 Finalist

Independent Nursery Award

November 2016

A local Montessori nursery has been selected for the final for the Independent Nursery of the year category in the NMT Nursery Awards 2016.

The Mulberry Bush Montessori Nursery is owned and run by Mrs Cheryl Knight and her fantastic team. It is an independent private nursery in West Mersea, Colchester, Essex and is judged outstanding in all areas by Ofsted (2016)

The Mulberry Bush Montessori Nursery was nominated for the Independent Nursery Award.

Cheryl Knight the owner and Principal of the Mulberry Bush Montessori Nursery in West Mersea, Colchester said: “We are all very proud to have come this far in these prestigious national nursery awards. We work extremely hard as a team to ensure we provide the very best inclusive care and education for all of our young children and their families and it is so nice to receive external recognition for our hard work and dedication.  We were once again graded Outstanding by Ofsted in July, so also making it to the finals of the NMT awards has been a great achievement for us.


Winners of the NMT Nursery Awards 2016 were presented with their trophies by Professor Lord Winston at the high-profile Gala Night held on Saturday 26th November at the London Hilton Metropole Hotel, attended by over 500 guests.

About the Awards

National Management Team Awards is an annual event organised by Nursery Management Today, the leading business publication in the nursery sector and sponsored by key companies providing services in the early years sector. The Awards are designed to reward excellence in childcare and celebrate the very best people in the Nursery Sector. There are 17 categories to enter overall and there were four or five finalists in each category with three independent judges. We were finalists in the National Independent Nursery category.

For more information and all categories, please visit 

Media Contact

Fiona Robb – Deputy Events Manager

The Royal Wedding

Children at The Mulberry Bush celebrating the Royal Wedding

Sponsored Horse Race


The Queens Birthday Celebrations

Beach School


Pancake Day

Chinese New Year