Ceremony on 28 September 2019

Winners 2018

To see the full write-up of all of the 2018 Winners, please click here

Results 2018

Nursery of the year

Winner: Greenfields Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Southall

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The winner this year is Greenfields Nursery School and Children’s Centre, which is situated on a particularly imaginative and inspiring site in an underprivileged area. The high levels of aesthetic awareness expressed through the ambitious art work achieved by the children have received widespread acknowledgement and appreciation, and music too is strongly supported within the very rich, responsive curriculum. Staff provide for parents with a wide variety of courses, help through a foodbank, legal advice and an advocacy service. Close links with the wider community are promoted. The work at Greenfields has been described as visionary, and it is seen as a beacon in a very needy area. Greenfields’ curriculum is directed towards nurturing, supporting and listening to young children through a vibrant, creative approach to learning. The nursery school is well known for its work with resident artists, where children are challenged to think outside their own scale and experience by creating large works with new materials and considering questions of maths and physics as well as exploring a set of art practices.

Highly commended:

  • Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre, White City, London

Finalists:
  • Bedworth Heath Nursery School, Bedworth
  • Grosvenor House Day Nursery, Nottingham
  • Grove House Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Southall

Pre-School of the Year

Winner: Nature to Nurture, Liverpool


With increasing numbers of children being diagnosed with special educational needs and disabilities, and a rise in childhood obesity, owner Julie White has diversified her business to find a solution to the problems currently experienced by many children. Last year, Ms White, who is currently studying for a Master’s in development psychology and pedagogy, linked with Hope University to undertake research on sensory foundational systems. This included putting accelerometer devices on the children attending Nature to Nurture and measuring how much physical activity they do on a daily basis. The findings revealed that children at the setting exceeded the national recommended guidelines, which Ms White says only ten per cent of children in the UK achieve. They also found children’s wellbeing levels to be very high. The research will continue with children’s cortisol levels being measured to identify whether their stress is reduced when they are outdoors. Ms White and her team plan to develop a programme to support children’s emotional intelligence, attachment and well-being by understanding their personal, social and emotional development on a deeper level. The idea will be to use the programme with children attending Nature to Nurture and to train practitioners. At the beginning of the year, Ms White, who is currently awaiting a second hip replacement, put together a practical guide, aimed at practitioners and parents, on delivering the EYFS in creative and innovative ways, emphasising the Nature to Nurture (N2N) outdoor approach. Building on the work she has done within the setting, Ms White has designed a sensory foundation curriculum, which has been proven to benefit Reception children, that she hopes will be rolled out as a strategy schools can use to support children’s motor planning and sensory integration skills. She designed this as part of her Master’s degree and trialled it with Reception children from her local school who had low attainment. She says the curriculum has delivered outstanding results. Ms White has enjoyed the media spotlight, having featured on a BBC documentary and a Radio 4 programme to discuss the importance of outdoor opportunities for children. Following the radio programme, the nursery owner received messages from people all over the world including New Zealand, Washington D.C. and Abu Dhabi all interested in their outdoor approach. As far as what’s next for Ms White and Nature to Nurture, Lloyds Bank has just agreed to fund corporate social responsibility days so work can start on developing the setting’s allotment and sensory garden. There will be a geometric polytunnel and raised beds to allow Nature to Nurture to start its intergenerational work. Ms White is also looking for investment opportunities to expand the business and have more nurseries across Liverpool.

Highly commended:

  • Lark Lane Pre-school, Liverpool
Finalists:
  • Little Acorns Pre-school, Leigh-on-Sea
  • Saffron Walden Nursery School, Saffron Walden
  • The Willow Set Pre-School, Taunton

Early Years in School Award

Winner: Greenfields Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Southall


Central to the success of Greenfields Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Southall is its creative curriculum that gives children the power to play with ideas and develop projects on an ambitious scale – such as creating an enormous whale and building a raft. Critical too is the team’s willingness to engage with the children’s families and the wider community. Greenfields is situated in the London Borough of Ealing and ranked within the top 20 per cent most-deprived wards nationally. Deprivation, overcrowded housing, immigration issues, high unemployment rates and poor language development mean children enter the setting with very low starting points. During their time at the setting, however, they make outstanding progress and the majority leave working at or above expectation. The school’s creative projects stem from the children’s interests and experiences. One child seeing beached whales on the news inspired a whale project, while a raftbuilding project came about when another child saw a photograph of a refugee boat capsizing in the Mediterranean. Throughout the projects, practitioners and resident artists challenge the children to create large works with new materials, while considering questions of mathematics and physics and exploring a set of art practices. Children are involved at all levels of the creative process, in which open discussion of ideas, shared problem-solving and teamwork are central. The adults acknowledge the children’s skills and passions and make clear that they value children’s contributions. The quality of the enabling environment and the thoughtful, creative and inviting experiences on offer feed children’s play and exploration and active learning, says early years consultant Di Chilvers. For more than a decade, the school’s innovative approach to learning has resulted in high-profile public representation of children’s work, through exhibitions at national and international museums and galleries. These have included the V&A Museum of Childhood and Horniman Museum in London. Its ‘Ecofish’ project was presented as a case study at the World Conference on Arts Education in Seoul, South Korea, while its ‘Shelter from the Storm’ project was shown at the Fukushima Fine Art Biennale in Japan following the tsunami in 2011. Last year, Greenfields developed a permanent public site for a Children’s Sculpture Garden along the banks of the Grand Union Canal through a creative partnership with local organisations.

Highly commended:

  • Grove House Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Southall
Finalist:
  • Bedworth Heath Nursery School, Bedworth

Nursery Group of the Year

Winner: Paint Pots Nurseries, Southampton

Sponsored by:


This award-winning group’s name symbolises the potential within each child to paint his or her ‘picture’. The company’s ethos is based on the three underlying values in the Paint Pots Pyramid: learning, laughter and love. Paint Pots is ‘much more than a business’, say the owners Anna and David Wright, and their son Joseph. It is ‘an extended family for all of us whose lives are intertwined through relationships that now extend across generations – thousands of children and carers, hundreds of team members over the years, all connected through our activities.’ As a small family business, the group’s strategy is to operate in the Southampton area only, which enables the owners to be hands-on. The group’s six day nurseries, three pre-schools and an after-school club are based in diverse areas, some in very deprived parts of the city, and have gained a strong local reputation. All three owners are qualified Early Years Teachers and are involved in setting the strategy, ethos and the day-to-day operation of the settings. There is a strong focus on quality in staff development programmes, supervisions and appraisals. Every setting has a nominated physical and nutritional co-ordinator (PANCo) who is a physical activity and healthy-eating champion. Paint Pots takes induction seriously, with all staff, volunteers and students undergoing a mandatory induction day. A three-month induction programme covers all areas of operation, policy and procedure for new team members, who are assigned a mentor and are set personal development goals, which are subsequently reviewed. Many team members have worked for Paint Pots for more than ten years – some have left and then returned because they miss the working environment so much. CPD for Paint Pots is viewed as ‘Continuous Personal Development’, a combination of training, practice networking and sharing good practice. The owners research and connect with other organisations across the world, and have taken staff to experience early years practice in Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Austria. Currently team members are able to volunteer in orphanages in Kenya. Both David and Anna are trustees of New Life Home Trust UK, which supports abandoned babies in Kenya. In 2016, Paint Pots widened its remit by setting up the charity Families First Southampton (www.familiesfirst southampton.org), which supports disadvantaged families, particularly fathers, and last year worked with more than 200 disadvantaged children and their carers. David is an advisor to the NAHT Early Years sector council and a member of the leadership team of the World Forum – Men in Early Childhood Education working group. He is recognised as an international advocate, author and speaker for men in early years, advising the Government on gender diversity, and is one of the founders of the Southampton branch of Men in Early Years. The group’s strengths are well-known in the early years community. A parent on a local Facebook group said, ‘Absolutely love it there, my son has been there for two and a half years and my daughter will be starting soon. ‘The staff are so friendly and the kids love them. The management are so helpful and I really feel the company puts the kids before profit.

Highly commended: n/a

Finalists:

  • Attimore Barn Pre-School, The Commons Pre-School, Breakfast and After School Club, Knightsfield Pre-Schoolers and Harding Pre-School, Welwyn Garden City
  • Fit ‘N’ Fun Kids, Cornwall
  • Jack and Jill Day Nursery and Pre-School, Wirral
  • Kangaroo Pouch, West Midlands
  • KidzRus Nursery, Manchester
  • South Hills School, Wiltshire

Childminding Business of the Year

Winner: Pebbles Childcare, Worthing

Sponsored by:


Bridgit Brown launched Pebbles Childcare in 2015 to provide an educational, holistic and nurturing environment for children. Her approach was to listen to the child’s voice and put them first in every decision, planning stimulating activities and experiences every week. Demand was so high that Bridgit took on an assistant, who is now a registered childminder, in February 2016. This has enabled the business to grow, but Pebbles still has a bursting waiting list, with enquiries flooding in almost daily. Pebbles Childcare draws from a range of pedagogies to provide an exceptional enabling environment. Loose parts’ resources are freely accessible to challenge children’s thinking and inspire their play. A Froebelian approach is taken to using outdoors and the natural world, and a visit to a Froebel-inspired nursery resulted in a project based on the artist Kandinsky’s Circles for the children to learn about, explore and interpret in their own ways. The setting is also a huge advocate of risky play and incorporates the elements of earth, wind, fire and water into everyday activities. Pebbles is recognised within its local community for initiatives such as the beach school sessions it developed after acquiring the use of a beach hut near its setting in Worthing. And it also takes part in events that benefit the wider community, such as a ‘beach clean’ with its local childminding network. Intergenerational relationships are fostered with weekly visits to elderly relatives with dementia, and Pebbles also organised a ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’ project for its local Salvation Army branch last Christmas. Pebbles aims to inspire other like-minded settings to step outside their comfort zone and help to change the face of the wider childminding community, writing a blog offering ideas and advice to both professionals and parents, which is read in 12 countries worldwide. Ofsted rewarded Pebbles with Outstanding in all areas in its first inspection in September 2017. Our judges commented on the setting’s excellent partnership with parents, its success in sharing its experiences and learning with the wider community, championing childminding as a profession, and the way it makes the most of the local environment. Parents too were glowing in their assessment. ‘The thought and planning they put into the children’s experiences and learning is outstanding. I love how they take into account the children’s personal interests when planning trips or activities, said one parent. Another commented, 'We love that Florence is always out and about visiting new places. Equally, it is just lovely to see her curled up on the sofa under a blanket with her friends in Bridgit’s home. We feel incredibly lucky to have found and be a part of the Pebbles family.

Highly commended:

  • Brightest Beginnings, Yeovil
Finalist:
  • Cheeky Cherubs, Melton Mowbray

Nursery Manager of the Year

Winner: Linda Sawyer, Busy Bees Salisbury

Sponsored by:


Linda Sawyer always harboured a desire to work with children and joined her first nursery aged 17, where she was encouraged to take her Level 2 and 3 qualifications in childcare. She briefly left the sector to take on a customer service manager role, but soon returned to her vocation and joined Busy Bees in 2003; first as a senior room manager, but later promoted to nursery manager in 2007. Linda believes all children deserve the very best start in life, and works hard to ensure that this is put into practice in her nursery at all times. Her passion for caring for children has always been with her, but her drive and relentless commitment to ensuring that the children achieve, the staff are engaged and the parents are happy and reassured are what sets her apart. She is responsible for every aspect of her nursery, which is at full occupancy with 93 children attending every day. Children are provided with stimulating, age-appropriate environments designed to stretch every aspect of their development, while an engaged nursery team makes sure the children are supported and nurtured as they learn through play. Linda has successfully introduced key learning enhancements such as Shake and Write, a foundation writing enhancement, and Cooking with Me, which she runs alongside her fully trained chef and assistant chef. With three of her own five children attending the nursery, Linda is fully aware of the need to involve parents in every aspect of their child’s experience throughout the day. She runs a parent partnership group and regularly meets with a representative from each age group. Linda manages her time flexibly and efficiently throughout the week to make sure she has availability to catch up with all parents at times that are convenient for them. A great listener and diplomat, Linda has introduced many of her own ideas to the nursery to strengthen relationships with parents, including Next Step packs, which provide activities and helpful pointers that can be used in nursery and at home to allow parents to experience their child’s educational development first-hand. Rather than managing from behind a desk, Linda is involved in all aspects of the nursery’s work, and her office door is always open to parents and staff alike. Her ‘exemplary’ leadership skills and management were heavily praised in the nursery’s latest Ofsted report in 2015. In her 15 years at Busy Bees, Linda has built a dedicated team of 32 staff whom she mentors and nurtures every day. One of her colleagues says, ‘Linda has been my manager for just over a year, and it has been a pleasure to work for her during this time. She has helped me to reach my full potential. I went from an Early Years Educator to room manager in eight moths and I couldn’t have done it without her help and guidance.’ Linda’s team also testify to her drive, determination and belief in her staff. Another says, ‘Her approach ensures we all want to do our best. During every enrolment week we beat our targets and at every audit or inspection we improve on our previous results.’ Despite everything she has already achieved, Linda is constantly thinking of ways to evolve and add an extra bit of magic to the children’s day.

Highly commended: n/a

Finalists:

  • Lucy Clarke, Kiddi Caru Caldecott Day Nursery, Milton Keynes
  • Sharon Curtis, Ellesmere Children’s Centre, Sheffield
  • Sasha Northam, Hungry Caterpillar Acton Park

Nursery Operations / Regional Manager of the Year

Winner: Danielle Butler, Tommies Childcare, West Midlands


Danielle is a worthy winner for her passion as an advocate for Tommies Childcare, and her dedication to improving outcomes for children and colleagues. Her dedication and commitment cannot be questioned, and it is through this that she is committed to the long-term goals of the organisation. Last November, Danielle’s skills were recognised further when Tommies Childcare was named Leadership Team of the Year for 2017 at the Coventry Telegraph Awards. Danielle understands that the organisation’s employees are its greatest asset and appreciates and values their contribution in everything she does. All her efforts make Tommies Childcare a great place to work and consequently a great place for children to grow and learn.
At the forefront of Tommies Childcare, Danielle Butler embodies the ethos and culture of the organisation. Since starting at the company in April 2015, she has been a key driver in shaping the organisation as it is today, and is involved in all aspects of the running of the business, from HR to finance, marketing and the nursery managers. The company has transformed over the past three years, driven by Danielle’s clear vision for children, parents and employees. The management structure has been overhauled and Danielle has led the organisation’s Employee Engagement Strategy, implementing employee benefits, including increased pay, extra holiday, staff welfare budgets, and an annual awards ball to recognise all employees. She has also introduced a training programme to support all of the staff’s professional development. Nursery managers feel confident in being able to approach Danielle for all aspects relating to their nursery settings. Danielle has personally developed and mentored all the nursery managers to nurture them as leaders and to support their settings. Nursery manager Melanie Hughes praises Danielle’s ‘positive and enthusiastic way of delivering training and management meetings. I feel this really engages me to think about aspects of my own professional development and my nursery and supports me to deliver and be the best that I can be.’ Colleague marketing officer Lewis Wales says her impact on the organisation has been ‘profound. Danielle has shown tremendous leadership and inspired people to come together and make Tommies Childcare a great place to work.’ Danielle has been instrumental in supporting the renovation of the nursery group’s settings to support a more openended, natural approach to learning. Gone are the colourful, plastic resources fit for one purpose only. Since 2015, and in an ongoing project, the nurseries’ environments have been stripped back to allow children to explore and develop through resources that are open to their own interpretations. Under Danielle’s leadership, parents are involved more in their children’s learning, with Parent Forum groups at all the nurseries, regular workshops on areas of interest to them, stay-and-play sessions at nursery, and communication in place for parents to share their thoughts and opinions on the services Tommies provides.

Highly commended: n/a

Finalist:

  • Hayley Maggs, Little Angels Day Nursery, north London

Early Years Teacher of the Year

Winner: Christina Noton, Snapdragons Nursery, Atworth


Christina Noton oversees the practice of the nursery and leads and shapes practice and provision, particularly through her sound knowledge and understanding of the EYFS, close relationships with children and positive partnerships with parents, carers and her fellow professionals. She is a strong mentor and leads by example, promoting the skills and behaviour needed to ensure excellent outcomes for all children. She leads planning across the nursery and headed up the implementation of a new planning system in consultation with a team of advisory teachers. Her dedication to her own professional development informs her approach to that of her colleagues – she is a passionate believer in the importance of refreshing and extending knowledge and skills. She identifies training needs within her team and then facilitates their development, identifying key skills to be extended or used more effectively. She promotes creative and innovative approaches to practice by supporting opportunities for improvements and by encouraging other members of staff to make suggestions too. Christina also leads the assessment and cohort tracking across the nursery. She identifies children who are below or above their developmental stage band in areas of learning and ensures individual support plans are put in place, which are written in conjunction with the child’s key person to help inform their practice. As lead SENDCo, Christina works to ensure all learning and development opportunities at Snapdragons are available to everyone. She works closely with Stepping Stones, a specialist school, to support a baby with chromosome deletion, meeting with his team and parents to discuss his needs and progress and ensuring his development is maintained in a consistent way. She enabled a child with Type 1 diabetes to be fully included in nursery life, organising training at the local hospital for six team members to enable the child to attend all trips outside the nursery despite hourly blood sugar checks and alterations to his insulin pump dose. She has also worked to obtain the support he will need when he starts school in September, completing 60 pages of information for the local authority. Christina has recently been successful in her application for manager at Atworth and is due to commence that role imminently, while retaining her EYT and lead SENDCo responsibilities.

Highly commended:

  • Teresa Lalley, Lark Lane Pre-school, Liverpool
Finalist:
  • Stephanie Green, Woodlands Day Nursery, Timperley

Nursery Practitioner of the Year

Winner: Adele Hooper, Chatterbox House Day Nursery, Sidcup


Adele Hooper joined Chatterbox House in 2013 as an unqualified member of staff, having never worked with children before. Since then, she has taken on a Level 2 qualification and worked across all areas of the nursery. In a short period of time, Adele became invaluable to the setting. She has 18 key children, whose parents receive daily updates from her via an app. This includes a daily diary about the child’s day, information on what they have eaten and drunk, a minimum of two observations per week, plus photos and videos. Adele works alongside the pre-school room leader by contributing to planning and delivering the EYFS. She also works with children with special educational needs and has improved their outcomes significantly. The setting’s recent Ofsted inspection stated that the ‘quality of teaching means that children are well prepared for the next stage in their learning, including school’. Managers
attribute this largely to the work Adele does with pre-school children, ensuring they reach their early learning goals and are ready for the next step. Under Adele’s direction, children enjoy many new experiences, including signlanguage classes, yoga activities and football lessons. Her caring, calm and patient demeanour is hugely reassuring to parents, many of whom can feel anxious or guilty about leaving their child at nursery. Her care and devotion to the children she cares for is unconditional, and can always be relied upon to reassure nervous families. The nursery receives comments on almost a weekly basis from parents about how much they appreciate her and the work she does for their children. Adele manages to put them all at ease, comfortable in the knowledge that their children are spending the day with a loving, reliable and trustworthy practitioner. During a time of upheaval at the nursery, with changes to ownership and management, Adele’s reliability and consistency has been important for children, parents and staff alike. Managers testify to Adele being the ‘rock’ of the nursery, providing everybody involved with the stability they need. As the longest-standing employee at Chatterbox House, Adele’s experience and knowledge of the children means that her colleagues, whatever their qualifications, look up to her as a role model for guidance. Adele’s colleagues have learned from her experience and knowledge, enabling them to become better practitioners themselves. Adele can always be counted on to go the extra mile. One parent says, ‘My child has had times when he didn’t want me to leave him at nursery. Those times are hard. But whenever Adele is there my heart is at ease because she finds ways to distract him, cuddles him and makes him feel better even before I’ve left the building. That is a skill not everyone has, but Adele excels in it.’

Highly commended:

  • Georgina Elton, Kiddi Caru Caldecott Day Nursery, Milton Keynes
Finalists:
  • Sonia Church, Kidzone Cranwell, Sleaford
  • Rebecca Claassen, Kiddi Caru Plympton Day Nursery, Plymouth
  • Chevone Newman, South Acton Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Acton
  • Sarah Walton, Cherubs Longdale, Nottingham

Newcomer of the Year

Winner: Luke Astle, Charnwood Nursery & Pre-school, Leicester


Luke Astle joined the team at Charnwood Nursery & Preschool full-time in September 2017 after a period of providing ad hoc Forest School instruction during school holidays. Thanks to the introduction of Luke’s Forest School and nature-based learning sessions, the setting has finally been able to realise its ambitions for outdoor learning. The design and construction of an outdoor play space to maximise the opportunities and experiences available to children has benefited greatly from Luke’s input. In the time since he joined the nursery, the setting has introduced a chicken coop, Robina structure used for den-building and rope swings, an outdoor classroom and a variety of new plants. Luke leads weekly excursions to Watermead Country Park around a network of lakes, woodlands and nature reserves where children spend the whole day on mini-beast hunts, climbing trees, using mud slides, searching for fairies and goblins, collecting natural resources for art activities and building natural structures. On-site, Luke co-ordinates and encourages a range of outdoor learning experiences. Cookery is a daily feature of the nursery garden, with the children using the campfire to roast marshmallows and pop popcorn as well as to prepare more complicated dishes. Through this, the children have become experts at building and starting fires, fire safety and risk assessing. An accomplished Forest School instructor, Luke has developed children’s confidence and their motivation to learn, play and explore in the outdoors. The children have taken Luke’s passion for nature and impressed it on their families, who are also becoming lovers of the great outdoors and are increasingly enjoying the benefits of time spent outside together. With Luke’s encouragement, colleagues have followed the children’s lead and are learning from the natural environment. He planned and delivered a Saturday session to staff members on fire-lighting, and the nursery is now designing a competency framework for fires, which practitioners will be required to work through and evidence before they light fires independently. He has stepped into the breach on several occasions and assumed the role of his fellow colleagues in their absence. He has been a one-to-one adult support worker, lunchtime cover and substitute key worker. Luke is unfazed and unflappable, and his flexibility and adaptability are gratefully received within the nursery. His flexibility extends to being a fervent supporter of the nursery’s work with Hadrian House, a local care home for the elderly, and he has accompanied children on their weekly visits and welcomed residents to the nursery where, along with his colleagues, he has engaged them in making soup and cooking it over the campfire. Luke has collaborated with the nursery to welcome two groups of students from nearby Brooksby Melton College to join full-day Forest School outings, and is working with the nursery to develop an outdoor learning workshop for parents.

Highly commended: n/a

Finalist:

  • Hannah James, Eureka! Nursery, Halifax

Trainer of the Year

Winner: Katie Ward, Holmsdale Manor Nursery, Ibstock

Sponsored by:


Katie Ward has had an outstanding influence on practice in her setting. A Level 4 Forest School trainer, who also has a PGCE, Early Years Professional Status and a Master’s in Early Childhood Studies, Katie introduced Forest School to Leicestershire, instituting the practice at Holmsdale Manor before any other local setting. The setting has recently been awarded a prestigious Forest School Leadership Centre award from Archimedes Earth and now offers Forest School to babies right up to children aged 11. Katie started to deliver Forest School sessions at the nursery ten years ago, developing a small on-site area with trees she gained free from The Woodland Trust. She also negotiated with the Forestry Commission to obtain access to a nearby area of woodland, and now the nursery has acquired its own patch of wood within walking distance. She has trained ten members of her team in the practice, including all the setting’s team leaders. Katie takes a highly flexible approach to training, running skills development days to enable staff who are already qualified to refresh their skills, repeating for those who missed them and producing training materials for staff to take away. The overall result has been significantly improved attainment, particularly in physical development and creative play using loose parts. Spreading good practice throughout the local area has been a priority for Katie, having trained more than 100 local setting staff as Forest School leaders. This includes childminders, for whom she runs weekend courses, as well as week-long courses around the year, taster days and introductory courses – and an annual party in the woods with parents. In this submission, her colleagues said, ‘It is clear to see that Katie engages and enthuses the staff she works with. For example, the head of a local school attended two years ago and has now sent a further seven of his team.’ But it is not just Forest School in which Katie excels: literacy is another focus, as she was involved in the Raising Early Achievement and Literacy project with Professor Cathy Nutbrown. Since then she has run literacy workshops with parents which has expanded into Forest School, and workshops on the importance of play. She worked with another trainer on a parent play project which saw parents attend a workshop on child development, which had a big impact on the parents. Other workshops have followed different areas of Katie’s interest, such as transient art at local authority conferences, communication skills at a local teaching school, creating attractive and engaging displays, facilitating sand play, gender equality training and more. She is also experimental in her methods of delivering training, using video to show best and less good practice. The setting has been Outstanding since 2011 and is now visited by practitioners from across the world, while attendees of Katie’s Forest School training have come from Switzerland, Germany and Israel.

Highly commended: n/a

Finalists:

  • Debbie Alcock, Chatterbox House Day Nursery/Influential Child Care Training
  • Gemma O’Hara, Mini First Aid, Manchester

Childminder of the Year

Winner: Joanne Marvell, Ashtead

Sponsored by:


An inspirational early years practitioner, Jo Marvell has been looking after both pre-school and school-age children before and after school for 21 years. Her years of experience, combined with her evident love of children, mean she excels at what she does. She is patient, tolerant and, above all, extremely kind. She has an exceptionally positive attitude to professional development, continuously enriching her understanding of requirements and practice, and uses her precise observations to identify next steps for children’s learning and maintain high expectations of what they can achieve. Jo provides an exceptional range of exciting activities for children, constantly developing their skills in a highly stimulating environment both indoors and outdoors. An excellent role model, Jo has effective arrangements for managing behaviour, and her children understand boundaries, are kind to one another, use good manners, take turns and share. All children in Jo’s care benefit from being with her because she leads by example. They flourish in her care and, in turn, the parents of the children she looks after can leave for work knowing their children are safe, secure and loved. Five years ago, Jo was approached by parents whose son, Rory, had been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness at the age of six months. Rory had many medical needs, including developmental delay and physical disability, and Jo cared for him for four years. She was never afraid to load the car with wheelchairs and equipment and take him out on day trips that other children of his age might take for granted; to the zoo, aquarium, sensory room, or to the park to feed the ducks. As Rory grew, so did his medical needs. Despite the growing challenges, Jo adapted with him, and learnt skills to enable Rory to remain in her care. From meeting with physiotherapists to obtain equipment or advice, learning to feed him through a tube, or learning about airway positioning and how to administer emergency oxygen, nothing was too much for Jo. Two years later, Rory’s parents brought their newborn daughter, Ivy, to Jo as well, as she continued to go above and beyond to do everything in her power to help both children live life to the full. When, in October last year, Rory died, Jo was involved until the very end, and continues to look after Ivy to this day. Jo is a typical ‘unsung hero’ who would never imagine that what she does is so special.

Highly commended:

  • Joana Smith, Croydon

Outstanding Contribution

Winner: Noreen Hennessey, Lark Lane Pre-school, Liverpool


Noreen Hennessey became a volunteer worker at Lark Lane Pre-school 21 years ago, when her grandchild was first attending the nursery and the lunch assistant was off work. Noreen volunteered to cover for her, and has stayed at Lark Lane ever since. In that time, she has become a much-loved and valued member of staff who will always go above and beyond her duties. No matter the weather, Noreen will arrive into work before any of the paid staff, and will have the daily morning books filled in, the tables laid for the children and the kettle on for when the rest of the team arrives. If any shopping is needed for the nursery, Noreen will pick it up at the weekend and bring it in on Monday morning. Nothing is too much trouble. Noreen is passionate about her role and is an inspirational and motivated worker. She makes everyone feel welcome and is always encouraging children to try new things and make new friends. She projects a warm, cheerful attitude to all families and is able to resolve conflicts and handle difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact. Noreen values parents’ knowledge and understanding of their child, and will talk to parents regularly and build trusting warm relationships with them to enable her and other members of staff to work more effectively with their children. When she turned 60 she announced that she was going to complete a Level 2 and Level 3 CACHE diploma for the children and young people’s workforce. She also attends any courses that are available to nursery staff – although as a volunteer she doesn’t have to – including first-aid, health and safety, portage, speech and language, Shine therapy and safeguarding. Noreen has her own key worker group. She looks after six children and is meticulous in ensuring their development files are correctly written up. She builds on the children’s interests to plan their learning journeys, follows weekly planning, and has studied the EYFS in depth to better understand her role in the children’s education and development. In order to better support the children in her care, Noreen has also gone out of her way to become proficient in understanding and using technology. She is now a confident and prolific user of iPads, smart TVs and touchscreen whiteboards. She also uses Tapestry to update parents on their child’s day. Recently, Noreen has also helped pilot a programme of targeted support for developing communication and language skills through high-quality interactions. It was aimed at two-year-olds, and engaged parents and carers in developing children’s communication skills in a home learning environment. She constantly goes out of her way to help people in need and can always be relied on to lift the spirits of all those around her.

Working with Parents Award

Winner: St Pauls Community Devt Trust & Smartlyte, #Get Balsall Heath Reading, Birmingham


#GetBalsallHeathReading is a literacy campaign for isolated families aiming to improve parents’ skills in order to help them in turn support their children’s development, enhance their own social mobility and create a more integrated community. As part of its commitment to raising literacy and encouraging families to enjoy reading, St Paul’s Community Development Trust, which runs Balsall Heath Children’s Centre, commissioned training partner Smartlyte to develop its early years parental engagement work by creating the campaign. Set in one of the most deprived wards of Birmingham, #GetBalsallHeathReading introduces families to books and reading at weekly classes and sessions in the holidays. Parents attend twice-weekly classes based on the principle of modelling reading behaviour, with this intended to be transferable to the child, improving development. Since February 2017, more than 200 families have joined Balsall Heath Library, where many of the sessions take place, as a result of the programme. The initiative also delivers English My Way, a pre-entry English for Speakers of Other Languages programme. The most recent intake in September 2017 registered 89 learners on this, 178 per cent of Smartlyte’s target. After completing English classes, parents can progress to digital skills and numeracy classes and are also offered first-aid, road and home safety courses as well as support with CV-writing, as part of follow-on programmes that Smartlyte has developed to support families at home and offer pathways to employment. The original members of classes are able to work as mentors and volunteers to assist with new learner intakes. They can also continue to meet on a more informal basis at coffee mornings to maintain their language skills as part of the follow-on campaign, #GetFamiliesTalking. This helps parents feel less isolated, supports their well-being and encourages them to engage with local services. The campaign hosts a weekly radio show, #GetFamiliesTalking on Unity FM, which aims to boost parents’ communication skills, reaching up to 370,000 listeners. #GetBalsallHeathReading aims to develop aspiration and confidence in underprivileged families to help reduce the attainment gap.

Highly commended:

  • Fit ‘N’ Fun Kids, Young Mums Will Achieve, Cornwall
Finalists:
  • EasyPeasy
  • Koru Kids, London
  • South Acton Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Outreach Groups, Acton

Inclusive Practice Award

Winner: Dandelion Education, Small children; Giant voices, Norfolk


Small Children: Giant Voices is an initiative that gives children with communication difficulties the power to be heard. It uses visual aids and staff interventions as a way of breaking down communication and language barriers that stand in the way of learning and well-being. It addresses the dangers of children becoming trapped in cycles of frustration, unable to form friendships or express their needs and emotions. Instead it gives them the tools to meet their potential. With 12 out of 57 children at Dandelion’s Marsham site presenting with characteristics linked to ASD, ADHD or delayed communication and language, Giant Voices has been key to creating an environment in which all children can flourish. Dandelion found that without language, a child wanting to climb a tree, say ‘no thank you’ or tell others what Jack should do at the top of the beanstalk becomes frustrated and their behaviour becomes their language. To address this, all staff wear emotion cards. Children have quickly learnt to find the card that expresses how they feel. Rather than screaming in frustration, they use the card to communicate. The adult, or a peer, then follows the Dandelion script and says, ‘How can I help you?’ Staff have also been trained to be the children’s thesaurus. Rich language is modelled and synonyms are continuously offered. During ‘Brunch story time’, staff retell or read the same story every day for two weeks. Synonyms, such as in ‘Jack’s mum was disheartened, disappointed or despondent’, are repeated, allowing children to become immersed in the text. Lunchtime philosophy sessions are a strategy that encourage children to participate in sophisticated conversations. The table is set with a tablecloth, and teachers sit with them. The ‘philosophy fairy’ asks an open question and all children have the chance to speak, if they wish, in a non-judgemental space. They learn to understand that opinions differ but everyone can still be friends. For children unable to speak, Dandelion has developed communication cards with pictures and words. These are designed to meet children’s needs with sentences such as ‘I need to go to the toilet’, ‘I can get down from the table’ or ‘No thank you, I can do it independently’. The assumption is always that a non-verbal child has the same needs as verbal children, with unlimited potential. Since embedding its approach to language during the past three years, Dandelion’s ‘Every child a talker’ assessments highlight that children’s use of expressive language and social communication has improved. A local feeder school, in an area of deprivation, has testified to children having ‘significantly higher levels of communication and language than older siblings, and other children in the cohort’. Dandelion has also noted a significant reduction in behaviourrelated incidents, with children using a script to resolve conflicts independently. One parent says, ‘The care taken to build emotional intelligence and emphasise kind and respectful behaviour helps enormously with my daughter’s social and communication skills, all without her really being aware of it or made to feel different at all.’

Highly commended: n/a

Finalists:

  • Fit ‘N’ Fun Kids, Young Mums Will Achieve, Cornwall
  • St George’s Childcare, Tunbridge Wells
  • Shine, Equality and Diversity, Leeds

Team Development Award

Winner: South Acton Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Willow Room Team, Acton


In 2016, Willow Room, which is based within South Acton Children’s Centre, was rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted. Staff felt the rating was unworthy of the support they gave to the 14 children aged six months to two years in their care, some of whom are known to social services. But despite an appeal launched by the Children’s Centre, the rating stood. According to centre head Beverley Kellett, the room’s four staff ‘were devastated and very upset at the outcome’. But she says, ‘Willow team worked very hard and with support and guidance made changes to planning, which incorporated parental contributions focusing on individual children’s interests, as well as to embed learning stories in everyday practice.’ After regular meetings, training and hard work to improve systems, the dedication paid off. Willow gained an Outstanding rating in May last year, just 11 months after the previous inspection. Ofsted said the setting now enabled ‘all children to make exceptional progress’. The team currently caters for fee-paying children and those who come via referral. One attendee is on a Child Protection Plan, another has a Child In Need Plan and another receives the funding as a respite measure because of a sibling with SEND. The setting has access to a recently refurbished outdoor space, and has just expanded from offering six places to nine per day to meet parental demand. Ms Kellett says that is crucial in an area where many families live in flats without any outdoor space at all. Now, staff plan for each child individually. Planning is shared with parents on a six-weekly basis, which requires them to contribute and support the child with learning at home. ‘Learning stories’ enable staff to identify these key areas and the next steps to develop them. Parents are thinking more about how learning takes place and how it is related to children’s interests. The setting has been praised for its settling-in process, which involves a home visit. A parent, who left her daughter at the centre when she was eight and a half months old, says, ‘The team made the process easy and stress-free, meaning when I returned to work I did so with great confidence that my daughter would be safe and happy.’

Highly commended:

  • Honey Pot Day Nurseries, Liverpool
Finalists:
  • Kidzone Cranwell, Building Capabilities, Sleaford
  • KidzRus Nursery, Manchester
  • Sleepy Hollow Group, Northern Ireland
  • Sunbeams Day Nursery, Enhanced Quality Training, Leeds

Early Years Launch of the Year

Winner: Kids Play Childcare, The Childcare Hub, Milton Keynes


Children today do not always get the chance to really connect with nature, but everything about The Childcare Hub – both inside and out – provides endless naturebased play opportunities for children. Kids Play already had a busy, wellestablished nursery on-site when work started on developing a magical natural environment for children that really met their needs, with children as experts in their own play. What makes the hub different is that its design was designed and inspired by what the nursery children wanted. The nursery carried out research into outdoor learning, using observational filming, and child focus groups to establish how children would benefit from the new hub. Children said they wanted free-flow access to the garden, to play outside all the time, to climb, dig, run and grow things, as well as to be able to relax and see out of the windows. Their ideas were incorporated by an inspiring architect who visualised the building as a tree. The hub opened in August last year. Clad in wood, the building also has a rooftop garden with views of the skyline and a growing patch. Parents were also keen for their children to play outside more, reinforcing the direction the nursery took. The unique building design allows children to have free-flow access to the gardens from all the rooms, including wooden walkways among the trees from the first floor. The first floor overhangs the ground floor to provide year-round shelter, and the windows are different heights and sizes, enabling children to relax on cushions, looking out at the trees. The giant slide from the roof – which the children talked about – was due to be installed this summer. The rich natural environment is designed to stimulate all children’s senses – from tasting vegetables they have grown to smelling the flowers and herbs, and feeling the rain on their faces. The hub employs qualified Forest School practitioners – children build dens, make camp fires and climb trees – either in the nursery garden or a local wood. Risky play is encouraged with a zip wire, rock-climbing and water-zorbing (getting inside a large inflatable ball that allows you to walk, run, jump and dance on the surface of water without getting wet). All these activities help to develop confidence and self-esteem. Children are also given time to relax too, swinging in hammocks and listening to the sounds of nature. The hub has implemented ‘planning in the moment’ through training with early years consultant Anna Ephgrave. A new hobbit house has supported this training, enabling children to use their imagination in storytelling. To learn appreciation for living things, the children look after guinea pigs, fish and Gary the Giant African Snail. The hub also partners with 25 schools to provide wraparound care for children up to the age of 12 through day camps and out-of-school clubs, and hosts community events enabling local families to meet. One parent says, ‘Since the opening of the Childcare Hub we have seen her thrive and develop even more, and watching your baby turn into a confident, independent child being prepared for school is heart-warming.’

Highly commended: n/a

Finalists:

  • Honey Pot Day Nurseries, Liverpool
  • N Nursery & Family Club, London

Nursery Food Award

Winner: Incy Wincy’s, Bedale


At the beginning of each term a small group of children at Incy Wincy’s pop on aprons and accept the Star Baker challenge, to cook a new recipe every week. Money raised from selling their wares to parents is invested back into ingredients, baking equipment and books chosen by them. For these hard-working children, gaining a Star Baker badge is a real source of achievement. It is these kinds of fun ideas that have succeeded in embedding a vibrant food culture across all areas of Incy Wincy’s practice. The starting point is the menus, which impressed our judges for being well-balanced and creative, using ingredients that are sourced locally to ensure seasonality
and the best quality. The links to the rural community in which the nursery is situated are strong, with visits to the bakery, butcher and farms. Children also learn where food comes from in their well-tended garden and greenhouse, and staff have benefited from the support and resources of the Royal Horticultural Society. The nursery is particularly proud of its well-designed kitchen, which opens onto a dining area where children bake and access their own cupboard for ingredients and bowls. The chef used to be a sous chef in a Michelin restaurant but is thoroughly enjoying working in a nursery. He prepares take-home meals for parents that can be ordered in advance, and these are properly chilled, labelled and packaged. As a day nursery for funded children, working with parents is key to ensuring that healthy eating is fully embraced. Strong communication begins with pre-registration home visits where dietary details are shared, while a parent forum helps to maintain menus on an ongoing basis. Information about meals and snacks is also shared with families through open evenings, daily conversations and the website. Incy Wincy’s also scored top marks when it came to staff training and knowledge of nutrition and hygiene. Staff meetings focus on portion sizes with visual demonstrations, and staff enjoy participating in the bake-offs. It is this passion for food, which is evident from the manager through to all staff, children and families, that makes Incy Wincy’s such a worthy winner.

Highly commended:

  • New Beginnings Day Nurseries, Essex
Finalists:
  • Blue Grass Purple Cow Nursery, Stockport
  • Holmsdale Manor Nursery, Ibstock

Enabling Environments Award

Winner: Beatle Woods Outdoor Nursery, Coventry

Sponsored by:


Frustrated by the limited range of learning experiences that she could offer children at the packaway nursery that she managed, Rachel Macbeth-Webb found inspiration and a solution ‘on her doorstep’ – a ten-acre area of woodland on which to develop an outdoor nursery. Called Beatle Woods (in memory of her late father and great Beatles fan), the setting has been open since September 2017 and is bringing enormous benefits to all the children who attend. Rachel originally planned to provide a building on the Frogmore Grange site but decided to offer outdoor-only provision after observing a young child at play, clambering up trees and hiding in bushes. She was also inspired by outdoors consultant Jan White while studying under her for a Master’s degree. The nursery has sole use of the woodland site, and since opening, Rachel has done little to develop the space other than to create a base camp area, and provide a large tent, a shed, rope swing, hammock, mud kitchen, basic facilities and an array of natural resources. ‘We don’t have toys, we have tools!’ she says. The environment is calm, unhurried and relaxed, yet offers children enormous freedom, challenge and constant change which engages their curiosity. Working alongside Rachel are two ‘energetic, understanding and passionate’ practitioners, who were former colleagues and share her vision for the setting. They will continue to change and adapt the area in response to the children’s interests. Provision and practice within the nursery have enabled Rachel to achieve some of her primary aims for young children, principally to allow children to ‘be’, to feel empowered and to be well supported through each stage of development. As well as boosting the children’s wellbeing and levels of engagement, the approach has also raised their self-esteem, feelings of agency and self-worth. ‘We have witnessed so much progress, without exception, for all children coming to Beatle Woods,’ says Rachel. ‘The impact has been nothing short of phenomenal.’ Its real value is captured by a parent following a trial visit, ‘When I visit the site I can see the wooden stepping stones, the footbridge, the paint station. I imagine that an early years professional would see the opportunities the children have for learning. However, the magic of Beatle Woods is when you ask a child what they see. That large muddy mound is a volcano to one child, and he is telling you to step around the lava. That fallen tree? It’s a scary octopus, a rocket ship. That hollow? That’s where the dinosaur bone was hidden last week and the children are using a map to find it again.’ The setting has now launched toddler stay-and-play sessions, and held its first training event at which 30 practitioners discussed how to overcome the barriers to outdoor play.

Highly commended:

  • Kidzone Cranwell, Transforming our outdoor area, Sleaford
Finalists:
  • Busy Bees, Our Heuristic Approach, Coventry
  • Dandelion Education, Safe places; Nurturing space, Norfolk
  • Saffron Walden Nursery School, Free-flow outdoor area, Saffron Walden
  • Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School, Sunshine Room, Warrington
  • SEND to Learn Nursery, Morpeth
  • South Hills School, On the farm, Wiltshire

Online and Social Media Award

Winner: Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries, west London


A recent revamp of Hungry Caterpillar’s website has increased traffic, as well as new parent enquiries and led to a drop in late payments. Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries’ updated website includes an online shop for parents and staff to purchase essential items and uniform, a live chat system that allows prospective parents and staff to ask questions while browsing, a parent zone for existing parents with useful information and parent guides, and a careers page that prospective staff can use to apply for job vacancies across the nursery group. Through the ‘apply now’ function, it receives an average of 15 job applications a week. The website also has a payment portal that parents can use to pay their registration, deposit and monthly fees quickly and securely. Currently more than 15 per cent of nursery payments come through the site. Since online payment has been introduced, the group has seen a 28 per cent decrease in late payments. Along with being optimised for mobiles, both the careers page and homepage of the website feature videos through Vimeo. One video is a Doodle Ad of Hungry Caterpillar demonstrating how the nursery can support parents. It has enjoyed equal success using social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are all used to engage parents and for recruitment purposes. Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries says when it first started using social media, it was ‘a bit scary’. There were concerns about negative posts that could impact the group’s reputation. However, it says in reality that the positives far outweigh any negatives because if issues are dealt with properly, they can have a positive outcome. Hungry Caterpillar advertises through Facebook with links to the careers page of its website. Advertising a recruitment evening solely on Facebook yielded a fantastic return in what it acknowledges as an increasingly difficult recruitment market. A total of 20 potential employees attended the evening, eight of whom now work for the group’s nurseries. It also uses social media to advertise open days, show parents what activities children have been taking part in and share its blogs. For parents of one of the nurseries, there is a closed Facebook group, which they use to share ideas, photos and to keep updated. LinkedIn is primarily used to stay connected with the early years community and for recruitment. Hungry Caterpillar plans on continuing to improve its website, including its parent zone, taking on board suggestions from parents submitted through a recent survey. It will also be looking at adding features to its payment portal, including a function for parents to see whether they have any unpaid fees outstanding. Additionally, there are plans to set up closed Facebook pages for each nursery in the group.

Highly commended:

  • Koru Kids, London
Finalists:
  • Cherubs Nurseries, East Midlands
  • Early Years Nutrition Partnership
  • Kiddi Caru Day Nurseries Group, central and southern England
  • Tommies Childcare, West Midlands
  • Tops Day Nurseries, southern England

Community Support

Winner: St George’s Childcare, Tunbridge Wells


The nursery’s subsidised places for vulnerable children provide a lifeline to parents who are struggling. The scheme has helped parents get back to work, take up or continue with training and seek help and support, and their children to be kept safe, grow in confidence, hit key developmental milestones and, for those in need of help, be identified early on. Last year, St George’s Childcare in Tunbridge Wells provided 1,391 childcare sessions at subsidised rates. The scheme is funded entirely through donations. Each year, St George’s aims to raise £25,000 through events and fundraising activities to provide the service to support vulnerable children. This could include children living in unstable homes where there is a concern over substance, alcohol or psychological abuse or violence, those with delayed social or intellectual development, children whose parents or carers have mental and/or physical difficulties and children in stressful or abusive circumstances. Staff at the setting have taken on big challenges to help raise money such as colour runs, half marathons and climbing the Yorkshire Peaks. Its deputy childcare manager was sponsored to trek to Mount Everest’s Base Camp in December. St George’s says that Tunbridge Wells is assumed to be an affluent area but, like all communities, has pockets of deprivation. The setting is located next to the wards of Southborough and High Brooms and Sherwood – rated in the top 29 per cent for income deprivation and in the top 24 per cent of the UK’s most-deprived areas for education. Last year, the families they helped through the scheme included a mum, with several children, who has experienced domestic abuse and mental health issues. The subsidised childcare meant she could attend counselling sessions and take a course to rebuild her self-esteem, which helped her to recognise the signs of domestic abuse. St George’s says the subsidised places scheme means that children from all backgrounds can learn and play together, building the foundations for acceptance, equality and community togetherness. By monitoring children’s developmental progress and using parent questionnaires, staff have been able to measure the impact of the scheme. One family that has benefited is Emma and her son, Billy. The pair both have learning disabilities and experienced abuse from Billy’s father. Emma explains, ‘When we first came to St George’s, Billy couldn’t speak. He was scared to play with other children and never smiled. If the nursery hadn’t helped with the fees, I don’t know where we would be now. ‘The people at St George’s helped Billy feel confident enough to join in with games. Billy is very happy now, he talks all the time. He has made friends and is always smiling.’

Highly commended:

  • Cherubs Nurseries, East Midlands
Finalists:
  • The Co-operative Childcare
  • Timperley Day Nursery and Pre-school, Timperley

Health and Well-Being Award

Winner: The Cambridge Model Initiative, Cambridge Childhood Partnership


The Cambridge Model Initiative has been designed to support the prevention of childhood obesity by creating a nursery environment that enables children to eat well and be active. It was developed by early years leader Linda Baston-Pitt and paediatric public health dietitian Faye Bentley, who founded the Cambridge Childhood Partnership CIC. Central to the project is a new Level 4 qualification, developed with CACHE, and specialist role of the physical activity and nutrition co-ordinator (PANCo), aimed at putting child well-being at the centre of practice. Training and continuing professional development are provided for those taking on the PANCo role, and a best practice framework uses evidence-based resources, national guidelines and rolemodelling of positive lifestyle behaviours. The PANCo course enables early years practitioners to develop reflective practice skills and personal confidence as an agent of change, and to develop and apply their knowledge of behaviour change and support strategies within their own settings. PANCos implement comprehensive nutrition and physical activity policies and practices that support children and families
to be healthy and encourage staff to role-model positive behaviours. The role is supported by the PANCo in Practice Quality Standards and membership of the national online PANCo Network to share best practice. Since the PANCo role launched two years ago, 1,700 PANCos have qualified and 90 colleges now deliver the programme. The initiative combines not only a qualification, but also a new role and career path, in a sustainable model that puts the power back into the hands of practitioners. The project’s goal is to champion and shape the future health and well-being agenda at local and national level, and it is working with the DfE, the DoH and the All-Party Parliamentary Group. It now wants to reach even more people and promote this dynamism across the sector and beyond. Nursery managers and early years professionals gave many examples of changes they had made as a result of the PANCo training, including introducing dance and yoga workshops for staff who then increased the physical activity they delivered to the children; developing the outdoor area to provide more risk and challenge and natural resources; doing a dietitian referral for a child who needed support; and making holistic menu including breakfast and snacks to balance children’s diets across the day. One nursery manager says, ‘We have now created a nursery health and well-being policy, and without question the biggest impetus was Emma completing the PANCo course. The parents now appear to trust us more, and we are better able to support them.’ And one nursery PANCo explains, ‘It has allowed me to keep abreast of the latest research and good practice. As a team, we regularly have walking lunches and staff are eating healthier lunchtime meals. They are happier and more engaged, and have enthusiastically taken part in well-being initiatives.’

Highly commended: n/a

Finalists:

  • Dandelion Education, Paws for breath, Norfolk
  • Early Years Nutrition Partnership