Nursery World Awards 2021 - Childminder of the Year

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sally Harvey, Oxfordshire

You can download the digital Awards book here

Sally has been registered since 2009 and has achieved two Outstanding Ofsted inspections in that time. She studied for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education while childminding full-time, has completed enhanced SEN training for childminders, and continues to attend as many relevant training courses as possible, always looking to improve her practice and the outcomes of the children she cares for.

Sally offers a homely, caring and nurturing environment where she carefully plans play to ensure children can reach their full development potential. Sally spends a lot of time outdoors with children in her large garden which is appropriate for all ages and has a focus for three-year-olds and upwards, with the opportunity to try woodworking. The experiences that Sally offers support physical development, creativity, problem solving, curiosity and massive levels of engagement.

As part of a local authority project, Sally volunteered to help childminders who were newly qualified or needed help in developing their practice. Sally gives her time at weekends to meet other childminders and explain how communication and language is key to children’s development, and encourage them to become part of the School Readiness Strategy in Oxfordshire. The impact of this work has contributed to the rise in attainment levels and evidence of improved self-regulation and emotional development for children in Oxfordshire.

Sally is also a mentor to newly registered childminders, offering advice and guidance and directing them to relevant training and useful resources. She meets with them to share good practice and answer any queries, introduces them to childminding groups and helps build a support network.

She reports to the local authority childminding lead if she has any concerns, or when she wants to share information, such as identified training needs or requests. Sally often keeps in touch with childminders long after the initial mentoring phase.


Catherine Fay, Cambridge

Catherine has been a dedicated, thoughtful and passionate childminder for over 15 years. Together with her husband Laurence, she has provided Ofsted-rated Outstanding quality childminding to many children in Cambridge.

The children in Catherine’s care are never doing the same thing, with a seemingly endless range of different activities, trips and celebrations.

Catherine prioritises places for children with special needs or who have English as a second language, as she has noticed they often have the hardest time finding childminding services and often need high-quality support.

During the recent lockdown, she was one of the few childminders who stayed open to look after the children of key workers. This was to her own financial detriment, and it would have been economically better for her to close completely and work elsewhere, but she said, ‘it is one less thing they have to worry about at the moment’ and ensured her doors stayed open to key worker families.

In addition to full-time childminding, and often starting or finishing late to allow for parents’ work commitments, Catherine also looks after twin boys with severe autism every second Saturday.


Julie Dixon, Cambridge


Nominees must be registered childminders

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