This has been an amazing year for Everton Nursery School and Family Centre. In January Dr Lesley Curtis, Headteacher and Head of Centre of Everton Nursery School and Family Centre in Liverpool was bestowed the OBE by the Queen for her services to education. In March Dr Curtis, was presented with an Education Resources Award for her ‘Leadership in Education’. The judges, an independent panel of experienced educational professionals, most of whom are classroom teachers, felt that Dr Curtis’s commitment and achievements stood out. The decision to select her as the winner was unanimous and they congratulated her on her award. Also in July Dr Curtis was nominated and won Headteacher of the year at the Echo Schools Awards held at the Crowne Plaza in Liverpool. Dr Curtis stated that she was “honoured and delighted” to be recognised by educational professionals for these awards and to be presented with her OBE by the Queen.
Dr Curtis has been the Headteacher at Everton Nursery School and Family Centre for 16 years. During this time the Nursery School has received the accolade of 4 outstanding judgements from Ofsted. Clearly in Ofsted’s view education at Everton Nursery School and Family Centre is exceptional. Visitors to the school are warmly welcomed by staff and there is a positive, happy atmosphere with the children in the classrooms fully engaged and happy in their learning. The school reaches out to over 900 families in the Everton area and provides a wealth of opportunities to support them and their children; a booklet in the foyer offers a wide range of activities including sessions in the splash pool, magical story time, coffee and a chat in the Centre’s cafe and many more. In July the school was again awarded the Eco Schools award Green Flag for the fourth time.
Creating this centre of excellence for pre school children and their families is a significant achievement. The early years of education are crucial for the overall success of every child. Dr Curtis has ex-students coming back to the school and offering to undertake voluntary work in the nursery before going to university; a testament to the education they received when children at the school.
Dr Curtis is passionate about the importance of high quality nursery education for every child; not just in the Everton area. She is involved in a number of projects researching and developing nursery education, locally, nationally and internationally. Totally committed to this Dr Curtis is involved in pioneering work in nursery education and determined to pass on the message that a solid foundation in a maintained Nursery School leads to success in the next stages of education.
Another mark of the exceptional nature of the school is the fact that Everton Nursery School and Family Centre became the first Nursery School in the country to become a national Teaching School. Before that point, Teaching School status was only awarded to primary and secondary schools. However, Dr Curtis is not someone who will take no for an answer and encouraged the National College that her school and other Nursery Schools could provide the strong leadership and staffing to become a Teaching School. Her determined approach paid off and the National College agreed. Now, 3 years later, 33 Nursery Schools have become Teaching Schools and are influencing the development of high quality education and outstanding nursery teachers/leaders of the future.