It was only four years ago, in the babies’ room at Fennies Nursery in Beckenham, that Kerri Savage felt she wanted to reach for the top in her chosen career of childcare.
‘It was a light-bulb moment,’ Kerri explains. ‘I loved my job and I had always been passionate about working with children but I realised that something was holding me back: my lack of experience with babies at the time.
‘But, when working as a room leader in the baby room at Fennies, and being part of this magical stage in life, where I saw milestones for the first time and experienced true professional love, I knew that there were no longer any barriers and I was determined to climb up the career ladder,’ she adds.
Luckily, Fennies recognised Kerri’s commitment and drive and supported to work her way up from early years educator to manager of a fledging new setting in Oxted, Surrey - in just five years.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Kerri’s journey began at East Surrey College, where she completed her Level 2 and Level 3 Early Years qualifications at the age of 18.
When she joined Fennies in 2013 as an early years educator at the Beckenham nursery, she had no idea that she would progress so fast up the career ladder.
‘When Fennies spot potential in someone, as long as they have the determination and drive to take on new challenges, there are plenty of career opportunities,’ she says.
After six months, Kerri landed the role of room leader and she spend several years working with different ages groups. But the turning point in her career came when she began working in the baby room. After making the conscious decision to progress up the career ladder, there was no holding Kerri back.
Her commitment was recognised, and she was offered the position of deputy manager at Addiscombe nursery in Croydon. During this time, she also completed her Foundation Degree with Carshalton College and this then led to her being offered the position of Acting Nursery Manager, covering maternity leave.
Kerri has now achieved her dream of becoming nursery manager at the newest Fennies location.
The nursery is situated two minutes from the train station with direct links into central London and a 20-minute direct commute from Croydon.
For Kerri, moving from the bustling town of Beckenham where she was acting manager at Kings Hall Road, was quite a contrast to working in this charming town at the foot of the North Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
But when Fennies’ management team approached Kerri to take on the challenge of becoming the manager, she ‘seized the opportunity’.
Kerri’s passion and dedication to the role, nursery and families has served her well in the past, and she beams with pride as she recalls how she felt when Beckenham Nursery, where she worked as a room leader in 2018, received an Ofsted outstanding.
‘It was such an amazing feeling to know that all our hard work and dedication had paid off. My aim is to develop the same welcoming, stimulating learning environment in line with Fennies learning approaches at the Oxted setting – and achieve an Outstanding as we strive for excellence.’
Already, in the four months since Kerri was appointed, the setting has received positive feedback from parents who report that their children are ‘happy and stimulated’; the setting is ‘homely and welcoming’ and they value the contribution that the nursery is making to the local community.
As well as providing much-needed extended childcare for commuting parents, we’re part of ‘something bigger’, Kerri explains. ‘Working with and for the community and getting involved in local events like the annual Pram Race fundraiser and farm events, is a hugely rewarding aspect of the job.
‘I feel privileged to be part of the Fennies, which supports each other through training events and annual Christmas parties together,’ Kerri says. ‘The Oxted team have welcomed me with open arms, and as well as working hard, it’s essential to hold do things as a team outside of work such as, spa days and experience days.’