GNG sees itself as ‘not just a nursery’ but as ‘a family here to support one another’. Based in Smethwick, one of the most deprived areas in the West Midlands, the nursery was awarded an Outstanding grade from Ofsted just six months after opening.
The nursery's vision is to support as many families as possible with the organisational strategy of Health, Employment, Learning and Poverty reduction (HELP). This includes services such as health and fitness classes, homework club employment support, youth and English classes and welfare advice.
Many of the children who attend the nursery receive nursery education funding and are from families who are unemployed for a variety of reasons. The nursery manager has arranged for parents to talk to employment advisers at SYCC, who have helped them with their CVs, job applications and interview techniques, with several of the parents succeeding in finding work with this support.
A welfare adviser has also been able to help some parents with gaining access to benefits that they did not realise they were entitled to, supporting their family's financial stability.
Some families are migrants from Kurdistan and Pakistan, and the nursery has provided free ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes, which has had a knock-on effect on their children's home-learning. Makaton and the Early Talk Boost programme have led to an improvement in the speech of children with English as an additional language.
The Language Enrichment project has had ‘dramatic results’ for children with additional needs and English as an additional language, which led to the nursery taking part in piloting the project in Sandwell.
The nursery is a vegetarian setting, offering a range of dishes and educating families about a healthy diet, through holding cooking classes for parents and the local community.
Various events have also focused on the importance of physical activity, working closely with Cancer Research to raise money by organising a garden tea party, with football and basketball. Parents subsequently adopted the charity as one to continue to support.
GNG's ethos is one that addresses the causes of social issues, rather than trying to treat the symptoms. The nursery envisages a future where the cycle of deprivation no longer exists, viewing itself as ‘a local hub for change’, tackling the attainment gap by providing high-quality care and education for young children and simultaneously helping parents and family members to improve their own lives through finding employment and changing their lives for the better.
As one parent put it, ‘I tried so hard finding a job, and my English isn't the best you know. I had Mandeep as my employment adviser. He got me the job after consistently trying.
‘I wanted to give up [but] before you know it I have a job and it's made my life easier, as I am able to fund for my child and make him happy.’
“Embedded practices and huge impact. Clear and compelling
Fit ‘N’ Fun Kids, Falmouth
Cherubs Nurseries, East Midlands
Open to early years settings and services that involved staff, parents and children in projects to support charities or the local/wider community