A HALSTEAD childminder has been highly praised by a government watchdog following her first inspection in six years.

Kimberley Jayne Hopkins, Of Saxon Close, Halstead, has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted following an inspection in February 2024.

The childminder received the highest Ofsted grading possible due to the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management on offer.

Inspector Clare Ford, who conducted the inspection, said: “Children thrive at this incredible setting.

Halstead Gazette: Location - Saxon Close in HalsteadLocation - Saxon Close in Halstead (Image: Google Maps)

“The childminder has created a safe, warm and welcoming environment where children are given every opportunity to flourish.

"Children demonstrate secure attachments and emotional security.

“They ooze confidence and demonstrate a strong sense of self-worth."

According to the report, Kimberley uses her expert understanding of children’s learning styles and interests to provide an environment that inspires, motivates and challenges children’s thinking.

Communication and language teachings are woven “seamlessly through the curriculum”, with the childminder aware of how the Covid pandemic impacted speech and language outcomes for some children.

The report says: “Children are highly motivated to join in and take part in the exciting activities on offer.

“The childminder helps children to think about possibilities using thought provoking questions and supporting their ideas.

“Consequently, children are becoming critical thinkers and expert problem solvers.”

Kimberley, who operates under the name Star Childminding Halstead, has been registered since 2012 and has a childcare level 3 qualification.

The previous Ofsted inspection took place in 2018 when she also received an ‘outstanding’ report.

In the most recent report, it praises how children demonstrate “high-level mastery and skill that they have developed over time.”

For example, they crack their own eggs into bowls and cook pancakes on a gas hob, whilst being aware of important safety rules.

The report also said: “The childminder is incredibly passionate about her work.

“She is unwavering in her pursuit of giving children the best start in life.

“She has a comprehensive plan of improvement and challenges herself through meticulous self-evaluation and regular professional development.

“This translates consistently into the exceptional quality of care and education she provides.”

Kimberley operates all year round from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, except bank holidays and family holidays.

To find out more, go to tinyurl.com/2p8u67pk.