A childminder described as an “outstanding role model” received the highest possible rating from the national watchdog for education.

Samantha Jane Bentley, based in Queens Road, North Weald, Epping, was rated ‘outstanding’ in all inspection criteria by Ofsted following a visit last December.

In a report, published on January 6, Ofsted inspector Jane Benson described the service as “excellent”.

The inspector wrote: “The childminder is an outstanding role model. She treats the children with the greatest respect and is exceptionally mindful of their needs.”

Ms Bentley registered as a childminder in 2002. She operates all year round from 7.15am to 6.30pm, Monday to Thursday, except for bank holidays and family holidays.

The report noted children were found to settle very quickly at and develop “extremely close bonds” with the childminder.

The childminder was praised for providing an excellent range of resources and high-quality activities. Ms Benson added: “They are excited to take part, gaining independence and confidence to explore the world around them.”

The quality of teaching was labelled “outstanding”.

Ms Benson said children also benefitted from regular trips, visiting places of interest in the community.

Ms Bentley was further praised for helping children develop their communication and language skills “incredibly well”. She was said to "skilfully adapt" the levels of language she uses alongside play and children in her care were said to take “great joy” from learning.

Children were described as “extremely well mannered” and were said to play "incredibly well" with their peers. Ms Benson added: “They are happy to take turns and share the toys.”

The environment provided by Ms Bentley received top marks for safety.

She was praised for her knowledge of safeguarding practices and her attention to detail when checking por potential hazards.

“She meticulously carries out regular checks to the premises and equipment, making sure children are cared for in an extremely safe and secure environment,” said Ms Bentley.

Ms Bentley was also rated ‘outstanding’ following her previous inspection in 2015.