STAFF and children at a Halesowen nursery are celebrating becoming the first in Dudley to be marked “outstanding” under Ofsted’s new tougher measures.

Inspectors found that under fives made “extremely strong progress” describing Merryvale Nursery as “vibrant and stimulating”.

They said exceptional teaching enabled all children to make the best progress possible and staff have high expectations about what and how children learn.

Activities were judged to be inspired and exciting, well planned and delivered with enthusiasm and passion.

Safeguarding was rigorous, children were able to test their confidence and skills, partnerships with parents are extremely effective and leadership and management is inspired.

Nursery owner Gayle Perry said: “We are delighted to have been awarded “outstanding” by Ofsted.

“We are the only day nursery in Dudley MBC to have been awarded an outstanding since Ofsted changed the criteria in November last year.

The nursery, which has been operating in Hurst Green for 22 years and is managed by Vicky Lambert with many original staff, currently caters for 75 children.