Congratulations to the winners of the Nursery World Awards 2023!

Online and Social Media Award

Winner: Beeches Park Day Nursery - Burton upon Trent

Beeches Park Day Nursery uses high-quality content, eye-catching graphics, and detailed blog posts to communicate with customers, providing them with valuable information and insights into the nursery and making them feel part of the ‘family’. The nursery’s social media channels help to build and maintain its brand and showcase the setting’s ‘personality’. Posts are fun, engaging, often humorous, and reflect the essence of the nursery.


  • Dandelion Education - Norfolk
  • Highfield Nursery - Blackpool
  • Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries
  • Jesters Childcare - Essex

Community Support Award

Winner: Family Matters, The Indigo Childcare Group - Glasgow

The Family Matters Hubs were developed by social enterprise Indigo Childcare Group in response to the increasing numbers of families it was working with in the Castlemilk area of Glasgow who were experiencing in-work poverty. The group was able to secure funding to employ a dedicated family support co-ordinator in 2021.

They have supported more than 90 families this year alone with free and subsidised childcare places, income advice and signposting to practical support such as food and utilities vouchers.

Family Matters also secured funding for events allowing families to access warm spaces, healthy hot meals and essentials, as well as warm bundles that included thermal blankets and hot water bottles.

Highly Commended

The Nursery in Belong, Ready Generations Nursery - Chester

Pillars of the Community, Smallville Nursery - Kent

Working With Parents Award

Winner: The Indigo Childcare Group, Early Years – Glasgow

Sponsored by:

The Indigo Childcare Group is a social enterprise that reaches beyond the nursery and is making a positive difference to families in some of the most deprived areas of Glasgow. It supports parents’ understanding of their child’s learning and development and the important part they play in improving their child’s life chances by giving them the best start in life through a love of learning.

Highly Commended
Roots Federation - Hertfordshire


  • Babblebrooke Day Nursery - Loughborough
  • Bright Little Stars Nursery - Watford
  • Centre for Early Child Development, Aga Khan University Hospital - Karachi, Pakistan
  • esSENtial Early Years - Wirral

Business Development Award

Winner: Bonnie Bear Day Care - Liverpool

The unexpected death of their daughter, Bonnie, in 2020 inspired HR manager Hayley and self-employed electrician Charlie Murtagh to focus on something new. The couple threw themselves into creating an ambitious business plan, finding the perfect building and investing a lot of their personal savings into creating Bonnie Bear DayCare. Happily ,they also gave birth to a son and spent their maternity leave transforming the former pub into a welcoming setting for 42 children.

Bonnie Bear now works with 131 local families and has a waiting list pending the recruitment of additional staff.


  • Family First Nurseries
  • Little Adventures Nursery Group

Team Development Award

Winner: The Nurture Nursery - Bathgate

Sponsored by:

The Nurture Nursery’s biggest asset is its staff team, which has grown from three to nearly 20 members since the nursery opened five years ago. The nursery’s ethos encourages staff to be themselves and understands the value in each individual. When advertising and interviewing staff, time is spent understanding the applicant’s story and considering those who are not yet qualified. This approach has benefited the setting by bringing in people with different experiences which are celebrated and shared with the children.

Highly Commended
The Sunflower Children's Centre - Hyde


Hitchin House Day Nursery - Hitchin

Working with Babies and Toddlers Award

Winner: Snapdragons Nurseries - Bath, Bristol and Wiltshire

Snapdragons Nurseries puts a special focus on caring for babies and toddlers, ensuring that babies follow their own path to develop into resilient, confident, curious individuals with the capacity to experience joy and succeed. Staff receive targeted training on understanding the importance of nurturing environments that take account of individual routines using close partnership with parents.

In response to the growing numbers of very young children, Snapdragons Keynsham has developed two additional buildings in the nursery grounds – the ‘Baby Cottage’ and ‘Baby Barn’.

Highly Commended
Kids Planet - Wallasey


  • Blue Giraffe Childcare - Worcestershire
  • Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries - Northolt

Enabling Environments Award

Winner: The Nurture Nursery - Bathgate

Sponsored by:

The Nurture Nursery has created smaller, cosier, enclosed spaces within the large nursery setting as a deliberate approach for staff after they identified that some children were becoming over-stimulated throughout the day in larger spaces. Outdoors, these smaller spaces creatively include a real caravan for the children to play in. A reading shed is filled with cosy beanbags, blankets and cushions and books to create a calmer environment, while a polytunnel allows children to be within nature.


  • Birmingham Day Nurseries and Explorers’ Forest School at Winterbourne House and Garden – Birmingham
  • Broussa Day Nursery, Elmscot Group - Hale
  • Incy Wincy's Day Nurseries - North Yorkshire
  • Jack In The Box Nursery - Bosbury

Health and Well-Being Award

Winner: SIL - Liverpool

SIL has developed the Early Years Emotional Health and Wellbeing Award with the aim of providing early years practitioners with holistic knowledge that will equip them to support the emotional health and wellbeing of the children, families and staff they work with. The training programme was funded by the Public Health Department at Liverpool City Council in response to the pandemic, when the emotional health and wellbeing of children and families in the early years was prioritised within the city.


  • Bright Horizons - Nationwide
  • Eagley School House Nurseries - Bolton
  • Edufeel, Enya’s Childcare - Lincolnshire
  • The Old Forge Day Nursery - Derby

Inclusive Practice Award

Winner: Early Intervention Speech and Language Team at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Sponsored by:

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Early Intervention Speech and Language Team was commissioned by Small Steps Big Changes to provide speech and language services to help meet needs in four ethnically diverse wards in the city. The team focuses on dispelling the myths around multilingualism and English as an additional language in terms of children’s language development among both families and professionals. 'This is exactly putting inclusion at the heart of practice', says a judge.


  • Early Inspirations - Manchester
  • SEND Support Team - Kids Planet Day Nurseries
  • Smallville Nursery - Kent
  • South Acton Nursery School and Children's Centre - London

Nursery Food Award

Winner: Portland House Nursery - Huddersfield

Mealtimes at Portland House Nursery in Huddersfield are happy, calm and social occasions with shared conversation. Practitioners use meal and snack times to further learning experiences, role model and bond with their key children and to help promote independence through making choices, serving food and drink and feeding themselves.

Children are involved in the setting of tables, serving and clearing away, with pre-school children often taking on the role of ‘mealtime monitor’.

Highly Commended
Grass Roots Private Day Nursery - Sowerby


  • Acorn Early Years - Milton Keynes; Northamptonshire; Bedfordshire
  • Woodlands Day Nursery, Elmscot Group - Altrincham

Eco-Friendly Early Years Award

Winner: Joint winners: Acorn Early Years - Milton Keynes; Northamptonshire; Bedfordshire and The Old Forge Day Nursery - Derby

Sponsored by:

Acorn Early Years - Milton Keynes; Northamptonshire; Bedfordshire
As a childcare provider with 17 settings, Acorn Early Years feels a social responsibility to ensure that all children are provided with opportunities to help to develop their understanding of the natural world and how important it is to respect and care for it. They have an organisational eco- committee made up of eco-leads from all the nurseries and the central staff team.

The Old Forge Day Nursery - Derby
Sustainable practices are incorporated into the Old Forge Day Nursery’s daily routines through a nature-based curriculum, so that children are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to become responsible and sustainable citizens for the future. Children learn about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling and they engage in hands-on activities including composting and tending to the nursery garden.


  • Childbase Partnership
  • Jayne's Nursery - Chelmsford

Professional Book of the Year

Winner: Slow Knowledge and the Unhurried Child: Time for Slow Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education – Routledge, by Alison Clark

This book, and the international research on which it is based, is set against a backdrop of acceleration in early childhood and ever more measured and assessed young children. Thinking about ‘slow’ offers possibilities for reclaiming ways of being with young children that enable an ‘unhurried child’ and less hurried adults.

Highly Commended
The Passionate Practitioner's Handbook – That Guys House, by Michele Doull & Avril Robertson


  • Developing Child-Centred Practice for Safeguarding and Child Protection: Strategies for Every Early Years Setting (Little Minds Matter) – Routledge, by Rachel Buckler
  • Early Childhood Theories Today – Learning Matters, edited by Aaron Bradbury and Ruth Swailes
  • The Neuroscience of the Developing Child. Self-Regulation for Wellbeing and a Sustainable Future – Bloomsbury, by Dr Mine Conkbayir
  • Schemas in the Early Years: Exploring Beneath the Surface Through Observation and Dialogue – Routledge, by The Pen Green Schema Group, edited by Cath Arnold

Early Childhood Graduate of the Year **NEW CATEGORY**

Winner: Helen Haygarth - University of Sunderland

Sponsored by:

Having the Childhood Studies with Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies embedded has opened doors and roles to Helen that she had not previously considered, such as her current role as family hub and engagement participation lead at Durham County Council. Helen has used her undergraduate dissertation as a way to improve practice in relation to the use of music in early years settings to support children’s wellbeing, learning and development. Her research directly impacted practice with practitioner questionnaires and interviews highlighting areas to reflect upon, which became a focus for setting improvement.

Highly Commended

Laura Hale - University of Northampton

Louisa Johnson - University of Chichester

Early Years Apprentice of the Year

Winner: Hibah Ahmed, Edgbaston Nursery School - Birmingham

Hibah Ahmed has a natural talent for working with young children and shows great care, patience and kindness in all of her interactions with them. Her approach to her training has been exemplary and she has demonstrated a strong desire to learn and grow in her role, actively seeking out opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge.

Hibah has taken on responsibility for developing the nursery’s outdoor area and used her Forest School training to support children’s outdoor learning and wellbeing.


  • Natasha Bruce-Jones, Smallville Nursery - Kent
  • Bethan Hall, Kerries Cherubs - Blyth
  • Bethany Moorhouse, Little Angels Day Nursery and Out-Of-School Club - Huddersfield
  • Liliana Nobrega Afonso, Seahorse Nursery Park House - London

Trainer of the Year

Winner: Dr Stella Louis, The Froebel Trust - London

Sponsored by:

Dr Stella Louis lives and breathes commitment to supporting and nurturing early childhood educators. It is a vocation in which she excels.

She is dedicated to improving the professional development and expertise of educators and the lives and learning of young children and their families. She makes time and space to care and to offer guidance or support to others. While being innovative and creative, she is not afraid to speak out and be an advocate, to retain a principled stance in the face of adversity or challenge, while always being humble about her remarkable skill and expertise.

Highly Commended

Liz Edwards, Janet Packer and Jan White, Outdoors Thinking - Sheffield


  • Aaron Bradbury, Early Years Reviews
  • Kate Peach and Jo Caswell, Peachwell Early Years Consultancy - South East
  • Becky Watanabe, Acorn Early Years - Milton Keynes; Northamptonshire; Bedfordshire

Childminder of the Year

Winner: Charlotte Greeno, Among The Leaves - Cambridge

Sponsored by:

Dedicated childminder Charlotte, who has a BA (Hons) in early years and a BTEC National Diploma in childhood studies, is currently caring for children from five different families who have a range of needs, including complex SEND and English as an additional language.

She understands the developmental and emotional impact that the Covid pandemic has had on her current cohort of children and works hard to improve outcomes for them using her robust knowledge of child development and how children learn.


  • Kimberley Forteath, Little Sunbeams Childminding Service - Guisborough
  • Debra Meakin, Cheeky Cherubs Childcare - Leicestershire

Nursery Practitioner of the Year

Winner: Joint Winner: David Heard, The Oaks Day Nursery - Birmingham and Matt Langton, Outdoor Owls - Richmond

Sponsored by:

David Heard, The Oaks Day Nursery - Birmingham
Senior practitioner David has a natural ability to put people at their ease, and it is thanks to this, and his unwavering dedication to his role, that make him such a special member of the Oaks team. His positive, caring and professional approach has enabled him to take on more responsibility and challenges since he joined the nursery in 2016.

Matt Langton, Outdoor Owls - Richmond
Education lead Matt truly understands both theory and practice and is regarded as a shining example to others, especially those new to the sector. He is incredibly passionate and curious about the science behind early childhood development – and studies it avidly outside of work – but is also dedicated to being a hands-on practitioner.

Highly Commended
Sophie O'Sullivan, Springfield Bees Pre-School - Essex


  • Jess Fudger, Cherubs Wynndale - Nottinghamshire
  • Katy Hicks, Kingswood Day Nursery and Preschool - Hull

Nursery Operations / Area Manager of the Year

Winner: Louise Monange - Beeches Park Day Nursery; The Old Forge Day Nursery; The Old School Adventure Club

Sponsored by:

Operations director Louise Monange plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth and efficient running of the group’s three sites and is responsible for overseeing an environment for children’s growth, development and wellbeing. She has strong leadership skills and effectively manages 65 staff, providing clear direction, performance expectations and the motivation to achieve. Drawing from her first-hand experiences as a practitioner and manager, Louise understands the intricate roles within a nursery.

Highly Commended
Danielle Hamer - Bright Horizons


  • Tracy Berry - The Old Station Nursery Group
  • Rachael Lyons - Elmscot Group
  • Sarah Yates - The Old Station Nursery Group

Nursery Manager of the Year

Winner: Elizabeth Kemsley, Nurtured at Chell - Stoke on Trent

Sponsored by:

Elizabeth Kemsley has many plates spinning as she successfully swaps her leadership skills to adapt to any situation – from an inspiring leader of 22 staff members to counsellor, practitioner, and nurturing mother.

In her two years as manager at the nursery, she has boosted staff morale with her straightforward and approachable leadership skills. She is passionate about her role and ensures that her team are motivated to deliver a nurturing and caring environment for the children and their families.

Highly Commended
Hazel Moody, Advantage Day Nursery - Surrey


Hannah Saunders, Snapdragons Nursery - Keynsham

Outstanding Contribution

Winner: Helen Bingham, Aspire Academy Trust - Cornwall

Helen’s outstanding contribution is woven into the fabric of the 36 primary schools and 20 nursery classes she works across as EYFS lead for the Aspire Academy Trust. Her drive to upskill all staff in the importance of the early years – from the catering staff to accountants, subject leaders, and the CEO – is relentless. This tenacity and boundless energy and enthusiasm are at the core of her daily practice.

Highly Commended

Marie Anslow, St Aubin Nursery Roath - Cardiff


  • Joan Bannister, Paint Pots Nurseries and Pre-Schools - Southampton
  • Mandy Farrar, Diamond Wood Community Academy - Dewsbury
  • Deborah Hutler, Blackberries Childcare Group - Cambridgeshire
  • Linda Richardson, Hitchin House Day Nursery - Hitchin

Childminding Business of the Year

Winner: Cheeky Cherubs Childcare - Leicestershire

Sponsored by:

Cheeky Cherubs is a small rural farm-based childminding setting which provides endless opportunities for outdoor learning.

Debra Meakin leads the team along with three assistants, who are all Level 3 childcare qualified and above. They engage the children in endless adventures, from climbing their mountain to sliding down it and caring for the farm’s ducks, filling bird feeders and planting pumpkins, peas and sweetcorn in their allotment.


  • Sarah and Carly Baker Childcare - Rotherham
  • The Playroom Marple - Stockport

Pre-School of the Year

Winner: Seedlings - Doncaster

Seedlings is unique. The Outstanding- rated pre-school is the only specialist nursery in Doncaster for children aged two to four years old with an identified special educational need and/or disability, who can access the specialist provision without an Educational Health and Care Plan or a diagnosis.

It is located in an area of high deprivation, but children from across the city travel up to 45 minutes to access the high-quality support available.

Highly Commended

  • Alphablocks Nursery School & Pre-Prep – Enfield
  • Beeches Park Day Nursery - Burton upon Trent
  • The Old Forge Day Nursery - Derby
  • Smallville Nursery - Kent

Early Years in School Award

Winner: Manor Wood Primary School - Leeds

Manor Wood is no stranger to winning this award. The Reggio Emilia and Scandinavian-inspired Forest School inspired setting also scooped the title in 2021. It continues to be a place of wonder, curiosity, and creativity. A great deal of thought is spent in creating beautiful spaces, with an emphasis on the joy and benefits of spending plenty of time outdoors.

Highly Commended
Great Corby School and Nursery - Carlisle


Diamond Wood Community Academy - Dewsbury

Nursery Group of the Year

Winner: Naturally Learning - Cornwall

Sponsored by:

Set within the beautiful Cornish landscape, Naturally Learning – with its five nurseries and Forest School– offers an early years experience with the magic of childhood at its heart. Integral to the group’s ethos is the importance of nurturing each child as a whole, where the positive development of children’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual wellbeing is encouraged. Outdoor learning is also integral to the group’s ethos.

Highly Commended
Kirktonholme Childcare - Glasgow


  • Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries - West London and Buckinghamshire
  • Little Adventures Nursery Group

Nursery of the Year

Winner: Archfield House Nursery - Bristol

Sponsored by:

Archfield House has been operating for 37 years and is proud to remain a family-run nursery. The Outstanding-rated 103-place setting strives to provide exceptional care and to ensure that every child is supported to achieve their full potential in a safe, nurturing and enabling environment. It actively promotes a holistic approach to support each child’s individual needs and interests with an emphasis on a play-based curriculum.

A recent Ofsted inspector commented on the ‘overwhelming support from the parent community’.

Children’s outcomes are enhanced by working with the skilled dancers, photographers, musicians, linguists and an artist in residence among the staff team.

Archfield House Nursery has also been chosen to take part in the Government Stronger Practice Hub initiative.

Highly Commended

  • esSENtial Early Years - Wirral
  • Lambkins Day Nursery and Pre-School Centre - Cumbria


The Oaks Day Nursery - Birmingham

Lifetime Achievement

Winner: Dr Stella Louis, The Froebel Trust - London

The words used repeatedly by some of the key people in Stella’s professional life are ‘passion’, ‘determination’ and ‘knowledgeable’, but also phrases such as ‘a caring colleague’, ‘a motivational trainer’ and ‘a loyal friend’.

Stella’s passion for the rights and needs of young children can be seen throughout her career; in her unquenchable fascination with the patterns of learning children demonstrate in their play, resulting in her many publications on schemas; and her career-long advocacy for the importance of observation as a foundation for effective practice.

Stella has been able to put her passion into practice and to ensure that colleagues around her, whatever their seniority, listen to the voices of children and educators. Whatever role she takes on, Stella steadfastly upholds her belief in the importance of high-quality care and education for young children and of well-trained early years educators.