Nursery World Awards 2021- Team Development

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunbeams Day Nursery, Leeds

You can download the digital Awards book here

When COVID hit, Sunbeams had to rethink how it recruited, trained and developed its teams to ensure that the quality, knowledge and learning of staff across sites was not affected, that the nursery continued to recruit and retain staff in a COVID-secure manner, that career development was protected, and that there was minimal impact on children’s learning.

In response, a new e-learning platform was created. The nursery identified and prepared detailed content and an online platform that was accessible and easy to use, with more than 60 courses ranging from in-house training videos and PowerPoints to password-protected YouTube videos and hand-outs.

The nursery purchased Microsoft licenses for every staff member to ensure they had their own secure log-ins to access the e-learning and to enable managers to tailor training packages, monitor progress and check learning.

Newly developed appraisals now link to the training by creating an individualised learning pathway for each staff member in accordance with their needs, abilities and knowledge base.

This has meant any disruption to children’s learning and development because of COVID and lockdown has been kept to an absolute minimum as staff have continued training virtually. Staff on furlough could choose to access the training, which most of them did, and a ‘Return to Work’ refresher training document helped ease the transition after lockdown.


N Family Club, London and Home Counties

N Family Club’s N Academy, an initiative aimed at investing in team learning, provides an extensive leadership programme, foundation awards designed to equip educators with essential skills for their role, and continued professional development awards based on N Family Club’s bespoke curriculum and pedagogy. It also offers specialist courses for those who want to lead in a particular area, such as Forest School Leaders, atelieristas or team happiness champions.

The academy takes a ‘blended’ approach of webinars, manager coaching and experiential learning.

Team members have their own personal development plans. Nursery room managers are trained in coaching, feedback delivery and skill development.

Professional qualifications are supported, from Level 2 and 3 apprentices to early years degrees.


Evergreen Early Years, Preston

During the pandemic, managers at Evergreen took the opportunity to develop and enhance the setting’s ethos. They began by giving staff more autonomy with their keyworker time, allowing them the freedom to support children as they wish, as well as letting them take responsibility for their own paperwork, recording what they need in order to keep track of where children are and how they plan to help them move forwards.

The agenda for regular team meetings is set by gathering all staff members’ thoughts on how to develop and progress. The time is used to develop policies, self-evaluate and plan promotion and business ideas together.


Honey Pot Nurseries, Liverpool

Sunflower Children’s Centre, Sheffield


Open to early years and childcare services that have built a high-quality staff team through good practice in recruitment and retention, training and career development

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