Nursery World Awards 16: Organisations - School Early Years Team of the Year

Everton Nursery School and Family Centre, Liverpool

Describing their role, the team at Everton Nursery School and Children’s Centre say, ‘We take all the children that nobody else wants and provide an oasis of learning opportunities both indoors and outdoors so that they can thrive socially, emotionally and intellectually.’

The team recognises that every child is capable of making exceptional progress and is committed to working collaboratively with multi-disciplinary colleagues to achieve an inclusive and holistic approach. Effective leadership and management and high-quality teaching, learning and assessment lay the foundation for producing excellent outcomes for these children, so too the school ethos, which recognises Personal, Social and Emotional Development as the bedrock on which all other learning should be built.

The learning environments and curriculum reflect both the emotional and developmental needs of the children, who are encouraged to become independent, confident and resilient individuals. These attitudes extend into the children’s learning across the EYFS, with children curious to find out about themselves and the world around them.

Their thirst for knowledge and a love for learning is celebrated; they are listened to and valued, and they quickly recognise that they play a pivotal role in their own learning. A rigorous cycle of observation, planning and assessment enables the team to deliver purposeful, inclusive and child-led experiences based on the children’s interests and learning styles.

Planning meetings ensure a rich dialogue between staff, enabling all team members to contribute and draw upon their wide and varied subject knowledge and experience.

Key worker groups operate as small ‘communities’ within the setting, which enable children to work together and promote mutual respect. Children’s home languages and cultures are also respected and acknowledged in their learning experiences.

The arts are an important aspect of provision. Children are encouraged to develop a love of music through working on site with the Liverpool Philharmonic musicians and to develop an appreciation of art through working with artists from the Tate gallery.

The team’s achievements were recognised in their most recent Outstanding Ofsted report, which noted, ‘The curriculum is inspirational…Children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding…They are taught about the world around them and learn to respect people from different walks of life.’

As a Lead Teaching School alongside a group of primary schools, Everton is committed to developing its work with the city’s most vulnerable learners. Its aim is to have local schools commission it to provide a nurturing environment for these children beyond the EYFS, into Key Stages 1 and 2, so preventing those with complex social and emotional needs from being overwhelmed by mainstream school environments. Sixteen schools have already expressed an interest.

‘Teachers and staff are always thinking of new ways to extend children’s learning’ - Judge

Highly commended

Carterhatch Infant School, London

The school team at Carterhatch Infant School has vigorously defended sound early years practice and demonstrated how it can help children make outstanding progress without formalising provision.

A priority has been calm, purposeful and stress-free environments, so enabling children to engage in deep-level learning and feel secure enough to try new experiences and manage risk. The learning spaces are well-organised with flexible, open-ended, quality resources.

The team’s overriding focus is the child’s involvement in their learning. So, their planning system is based on learning that is happening ‘in the moment’, rather than on assessment-driven targets. Paperwork is both manageable and meaningful, leaving practitioners able to spend as much of their day as possible interacting closely with the children.

Their knowledge of each child is detailed and accurate, so they can support them in the most appropriate way.


Friars Primary School and Nursery, Southend-on-Sea


Open to Early Years Foundation Stage or equivalent teams in maintained nursery schools and primary schools

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