Nurseries in the Stirling area earn five-star Care Inspectorate reviews

Four nurseries across the Stirling area have been praised by the Care Inspectorate for delivering the very best outcomes for children.

A picture of children in the front row and adults in the back, portrait style, as they smile at the cameras.
Killearn Nursery is one of four early learning and childcare settings in the Stirling area to earn plaudits from the Care Inspectorate.

Nurseries in Balfron, Fintry, Killearn and Killin have received a grading of ‘5’ (Very Good) in each of the four core evaluations of their service - setting, leadership, staff team and care, play and learning.

It comes as Stirling was named the best place to live in Scotland for families seeking excellent childcare in a survey by The Sunday Times, using data from the Care Inspectorate.

The four nurseries provide care for more than 100 children in total, to primary school age, and recently underwent unannounced inspections by the National Regulator.


Among the areas highlighted for praise by the Inspectorate were:

  • Excellent and varied experiences and supportive interactions from staff
  • Happy, confident children who were engaged in happy to lead in their play
  • Thoughtful and well developed links with the local community, which increased the children's awareness and provided further variety to their play and learning
  • Strong and effective leadership that allowed children to feel happy, settled, secure and confident.

A group of children and adults stand in a line, each holding a piece of A4 paper that spells out '5 - Very Good'
Children and staff from Killin Nursery spell out how much the Care Inspectorate Report means to them.

Laura Crombie, Principal Early Childhood Educator at Balfron Nursery, said: “We have a dedicated staff team, all with a diverse range of strengths and interests, and we are pleased that this has been recognised in our report. 

“Our staff team work tirelessly and are constantly developing new and exciting ways to build on our offer to our children and families. We are particularly proud of the recognition of secure attachments and emphasis on outdoor play as this as at the heart of our nursery.”


Principal Early Childhood Educator at Fintry Nursery, Lisa McNeill-Ritchie, said: “We are delighted with our inspection report, which highlights the high-quality play and learning opportunities which we provide as a very committed team. 

“We all share the same ethos and dedication to ensure the continuing care, and development of the service for all our children and families.”

A group of kids play on a balancing beam in a garden in the sun as adults look on, keeping a watchful eye.
Children and teachers from Fintry Nursery ensured their report from the Care Inspectorate was positive and well balanced.

Margaret Campbell, Principal Early Childhood Educator at Killearn Nursery, said: “I’d like to thank our staff team, children and families for nurturing and developing such positive and kind relationships.

“We have created strong partnerships which, in turn, have increased our children’s understanding of life beyond nursery. We are thrilled the inspectors recognised our children as being confident and with a strong sense of belonging. Killearn Nursery is such a special place for all.”


Pauline Harley, Acting Principal Early Childhood Educator at Killin Nursery, said: “I am incredibly proud of our staff team at Killin and Crianlarich nurseries. The dedication, passion and willingness to go the extra mile and ensure positive outcomes for our children and families is evident within our report.

“As a team, we are continually striving to improve and develop our service as well as our partnerships within our local community. We are incredibly thankful to our children, families and community partners, who have all played an integral part in this achievement.”

Two children plant seeds in a wheelbarrow as their teacher looks on and shows them some sapling plants.
Children at Balfron Nursery are part of a strong growth mindset, according to the latest Care Inspectorate report.

Children and Young People Convener, Cllr Margaret Brisley, said: “These tremendous reports reflect the hard work of staff and families in ensuring our children are engaged and interested in their environment and happy in their learning and development.

“Children enjoy a positive experience at these nurseries and are supported to achieve their full potential. Everyone involved deserves praise for such positive reports.”

The reports can be viewed online via the Care Inspectorate’s website.

* The 2023 Sunday Times Nursery League Table uses data from the Care Inspectorate Datastore, a spreadsheet updated monthly by the regulator. Data in the table was taken from the official June dataset, the most recent data available. The 37 day care centres in the city performed best over four areas considered by inspectors - care, play and learning, setting, staff and leadership - giving them a grand total of 19.3 out of the highest possible score of 24. The average for Scotland was 18 points.