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Rachel McMillan Nursery School and Childrens Centre

Rachel McMillan Nursery School
and Children's Centre

Headteacher's Welcome

Welcome to Rachel McMillan Nursery School and Children’s Centre.

We are a Local Authority Maintained Nursery School, in the heart of the Deptford community, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

We are a world renowned, Ofsted Outstanding Nursery School. Opened in 1914 we are thought to be the first ‘Open Air’ Nursery School in England.

Our founders, Margaret and Rachel McMillan believed children learn best if they are healthy and active. They encouraged the children to be out in the fresh air for most of the day. The children at Rachel McMillan still do most of their learning outside - no matter the weather! The McMillan sister’s ideas about early childhood education continue to be followed and talked about across the world.

The children at Rachel McMillan still do most of their learning outside.
No matter the weather!


Our atmospheric classrooms (known as ‘Shelters’) were built to create a village feeling and are located in a large, lovely, semi- wild garden, known to many of our families and visitors as the secret garden of Deptford! It is a wonderful space to be a child, encouraging curiosity, exploration and wonder.

The staff are a very experienced and dedicated team and include qualified teachers with an Early Years specialism, practitioners and teaching assistants. We believe very strongly that children have an inbuilt drive to learn and that a young child’s natural way of learning is through play, following their own interests and curiosities. The staff support children’s emotional well-being and develop children’s learning by encouraging and helping thinking through conversation and by providing a rich and varied curriculum.

The general feeling of our school is that of love and care. Our passion and expertise for high quality early education means that children make excellent progress here. They are happy and confident children who leave with competent personal and social skills and with a sense of curiosity that we hope they carry with them for life. Headteachers from some of our partner primary schools, say that they can always spot a Rachel McMillan child.

At the heart of our work with children, is the relationship we build with our families. You are your child’s first teacher and we value the knowledge and expertise you have about your own child. We know children thrive when our partnership with mums, dads or carers is strong.

I feel very proud to be the Headteacher of this unique school and to work alongside such experienced staff and wonderful children. Of course the information in this website can help but nothing will give you a better sense of the school than coming to visit us. You would be most welcome and we look forward to working closely with you to make sure your child’s time at Rachel McMillan is a happy and productive one.

Rachel Hogarth-Smith | Headteacher