Nursery World Awards 2013: Initiatives - Website of the Year

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Winner: Young Friends Nursery, Hove, Sussex

In the words of a parent, Young Friends' website is 'bursting with love and information'.

Another tells of how they were forced to select a nursery for their child while living abroad, and the website made their choice easy. The parent portal section answered all their queries and their son was even able to start familiarising himself with his new setting by discussing the weekly blog and looking at all the photos of children enjoying themselves.

Young Friends changed its website last year so that staff could personally control daily updates and changes in-house. The design of the website is consistent with the nursery branding and, above all, is informative and easy to navigate.

It aims to tell people what happens at Young Friends every day. Visitors can take a virtual tour around the nursery, book an actual viewing and check policies and the latest Ofsted report. There is also information on fees and funding, background on the EYFS, current menus and details on the nursery staff. There is an interactive Twitter feed and a weekly blog describing all the great things the children have been doing. Potential staff are also catered for with the ability to download application forms.

Director Louise Lloyd-Evans says, 'Future parents know what to expect; because of the virtual tour there are no surprises - bookings are booked because people like what they see from the website. If they come and visit the nursery on their own, they can then follow it up with their the family inclusively online.'

As well as being a great way to market the nursery, Louise believes it helps word-of-mouth to spread faster because when a parent has had a recommendation, they can immediately get a feel of the nursery through the site. It is also in keeping with the setting's eco values with newsletters being posted online instead of printed. New policies are put on the website and parents are emailed to alert them.


Highly commended

Officreche, Brighton, Sussex

Officreche offers flexible childcare that is bookable online. Its website was designed and tested with a sleep-deprived parent in mind. This results in only simple actions being needed to create complex results and pop-up boxes keep users informed of their actions. The online booking system allows busy working parents to book creche places 24 hours a day.

Staff/child ratios are calculated by online software, removing the work from staff members, and there is even the function to reserve a last-minute place if available. One parent comments, 'Time is the most valuable commodity I have and the website means that I can organise my life quickly and easily on the move.'


Finalists

Each Peach Childcare, Hove, Sussex

Grafton House Preparatory School and Day Nursery, Ashton under Lyne

Happy Days Nurseries, Cornwall


Criterion

Open to early years providers (nurseries, schools, pre-schools and childminders) whose websites are informative, accessible and innovative.

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