On Tuesday 3rd November we held our Annual Training Day and Review at the Textile Centre of Excellence to enhance and develop the childcare practice of our 107 strong staff team and reflect on the year past. General Manager, Anastasia Murphy gave an overview of the previous year and reported that over 84% of the childcare staff now hold a NVQ Level 3 qualification, with many of them going far beyond to achieve degrees. She added that “this is a fantastic amount and reflects the investment in the high quality care and education we provide at our nurseries. With 7 new apprentices and last year’s 3 having recently completed their NVQ level 2 childcare this percentage is something to be proud of as research has shown that early years settings led by highly-qualified practitioners have the greatest impact on children’s outcomes. As a company we have always put a strong emphasis on continual training and development, holding the Investors in People award for 16 years and ensuring that the staff are trained above and beyond the legal and Ofsted recommendations. This year Portland Nurseries brought in an external consultant, Sue Overton, who has worked in Early Years for the past 30 years doing everything from Nursery Assistant to Managing Director of a National Chain of Nurseries, Consultant, Award Winning Trainer and Motivational Speaker. “ Sue Overton is an exceptionally passionate, award winning speaker who focuses on raising standards in early years settings, championing the staff, and making life magical for our little ones. The day began with a focus on Communication with interactive, real life examples highlighting how to make all those listening more aware of how they communicate, as an individual and how they can improve themselves and their teams. A strong focus was put on giving 100% at all times and how important Nursery Practitioners are as role models for the future generations in their care. Oakwood House Nursery & Forest School Practitioner, David Shaw commented, “It was a brilliant day. Sue was inspirational and highlighted to everyone how important being motivated and enthusiastic is for the children in our care.” Anastasia went on to explain “Our nursery teams work hard throughout the year to improve the care and resources we provide for the children. This is done in a variety of ways; through internal and external training courses; conferences; personal development plans and appraisals; coaching and mentoring; networking; professional qualifications and the sharing of high quality practice. Alongside these methods we close the nurseries twice a year to come together as a company to improve and develop our skills. We do appreciate that this is often an inconvenience for parents; however we strongly believe that the training and development of our staff team not only helps them reach their own full career potential, but also continually improves the quality of our service by developing the skills, knowledge and individual capabilities of our Childcare Practitioners.” Each Annual Training Day takes on a different focus covering key areas that are highlighted through the development needs of the children such as Literacy, Attachment, Outdoor Play and Behaviour Management. This year saw a focus on Communication and Engagement, Supervisions, How boys learn differently to girls, Parent Partnership, Mentoring and Personnel Development. The Training Days help us to continually expanding on and improve all aspects of their childcare skills and keep everyone up to date with current legislation and childcare practice. The staff team had a highly interactive and informative day and have been putting everything they learnt into practice. Portland Nurseries always set the highest standards to create an environment where children can reach their individual potential and are encouraged to grow, develop and safely experience the world around with the guidance of our highly qualified and dedicated team. The day was brought to a close with the Annual Review where staff are recognised for all their hard work over the last year by an awards presentation. The Manager’s Award for Child Carer of the Year was awarded to Cherelle St Hilaire of Harlequin Nursery, Jayne Micklethwaite at Holly Bank Nursery, Martha Bott of Oakwood House Nursery & Forest School and Clara West of Portland House Nursery. Rising Star was awarded to a recently qualified apprentice Jasmine Francois for excelling in her practice and showing potential for a bright future and Best Team went to the Baby Room Team at Portland House, Lindley. Prizes were also given to staff to celebrate achieving new qualifications, and the staff team celebrated the fantastic £4,231 raised for their sponsored charity Water Aid. A great day was had by all!