Nursery World Awards 2019: Individuals - Early Years Teacher of the Year

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Hannah Lakin, Holmsdale Manor Nursery Ibstock

As pre-school team leader, based in a room which also welcomes out-of-school club children from local Reception classes, and nursery lead for emotional well-being, Hannah Lakin has a wide-ranging role, encompassing acting as key person, modelling outstanding practice, and managing her team and contributing to nursery management as a whole. She carries out supervisions, contributes to team leader meetings and discussions, gives her input on improvements to paperwork systems and formats, and helps to develop the indoor and outdoor environments.

Hannah pays particular attention to children who require additional support. She works carefully, with care and attention to detail, to gather and record evidence relevant to children's individual needs, whether they have special educational needs or attachment issues, which are Hannah's particular areas of specialism. She regularly uses Leicestershire County Council's detailed Early Learning Guidelines, or Small Steps, to clearly identify where children require support, allowing her to accurately target interventions.

Always happy to go the extra mile, Hannah goes in to nursery on her day off to facilitate meetings for parents and professionals about children with special needs.

When Holmsdale Manor took part in a school-readiness project, Hannah effectively incorporated findings from this into her ongoing practice. She welcomes school staff to the setting, discussing each child, their interests, character and assessment information in detail. She also visits schools, both before and after children's transition.

Hannah also has a big impact on her colleagues, modelling consistently excellent practice, and directly supporting them through supervisions and peer observations. In addition, she supports ongoing in-house training. Recently, she has made significant contributions to the development of the skills of the whole staff team, including delivering phonics training and cascading enhanced Makaton and trauma and attachment training to the staff team of 40. Hannah has also spoken in front of 200 teachers at a Leicestershire County Council conference on attachment issues.

Only the best is good enough for Hannah; she sets high standards for herself, her team, the whole nursery, and for every child and family she works with. These high standards are reflected in her dedication to maintaining paperwork, including planning and assessment, and supporting her team by modelling this and helping them develop their practice. This includes ensuring assessment judgements are accurate and meaningful, through paired observations and moderation. Hannah can always be relied upon to attend nursery events, meetings outside usual hours, and evening staff meetings.

Hannah has undertaken a wide range of training opportunities and qualifications, not only through the setting, but also through those she has found and funds herself.


“Good examples of practice – sensitive to children's development and needs

– judge



Gemma Parker, Kids Planet Warrington

Rebecca Sanderson, Tynemouth Nursery Group

Rachel Shevill, Tynemouth Nursery Group


Nominees must have gained Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) or Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) through a recognised pathway

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