Nursery World Awards 14: Individuals - Nursery Manager of the Year

Monday, September 29, 2014

Winner - Carolynn Fletcher, Swineshead Pre-School, Lincolnshire

Carolynn's colleagues say that she was born to manage the pre-school and since joining the setting in 1999 has been the driving force behind its success.

Under Carolynn's management, the pre-school has grown from 24 sessional places to 78 full-time places, achieved an Ofsted grade of outstanding and was one of the first settings in the country to achieve a Food for Life catering mark from the Soil Association.

Along with managing the day-to-day running of the setting, Carolynn has taken on a number of other roles at the pre-school including SENCO, stage director-in-charge of nursery productions, administrator and architect - she played a huge role in designing the pre-school's new purpose-built setting.

Her colleague Melanie Steggar says that Carolynn is always there to offer advice, support and guidance, while maintaining her professionalism at all times.

The nursery manager has made a difference in countless children's lives. Five years ago, a visually impaired child with autism, Charlie, who was two at the time, arrived at the setting. Upon his arrival and after assessing his requirements, Carolynn put in place several measures to ensure his transition to the pre-school was smooth and he was able to join in with the same activities as his peers. Carolynn also secured £3,500 in fundraising to pay for extra resources for Charlie at home. She remains a friend of Charlie and his family, and often provides respite care for him in the school holidays.

Carolynn's colleagues say she is not afraid of taking on new challenges, having taken part in many pilot schemes and embarked upon a degree in childcare last year to underpin her knowledge and to further her own personal development.

Highly commended

Tina Thomson, abc Nursery & Out-of-School-Club, Wiltshire

According to the owner of the nursery, 'Tina always goes the extra five miles to ensure all children are happy and parents are supported.'

Tina, who started at the nursery in 2004 and was promoted to manager just four years later, knows all of the children inside out and has built strong relationships with all parents and staff.

No matter how busy she is in the nursery office, she always 'gets stuck in' with the children and makes as much time for them as she can.

One parent says, 'I was extremely anxious about finding places for my children, two of whom have speech and language difficulties and other developmental disorders. I myself suffer with separation anxiety, depression and post natal depression.

'When I first met Tina, I almost instantly felt at ease, as did my children, who normally, due to their diagnoses, don't respond well to people they know. As a mother, I cannot thank Tina enough. In my and my children's eyes, she is a winner.'

Finalists

Keri Allen, Sparklers Private Nursery, Castle Douglas, Scotland

Wendy Feddon, Stone Eden, Carlisle, Cumbria

Helen Magan, Bluecoat School, Stamford, Lincolnshire

Criterion

Open to any nursery manager in a full daycare or sessional setting.

Sponsored by Early Years Direct

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