On Friday 7th November we closed the nurseries to hold our Annual Training Day and Review. Over 95 staff from the four nurseries in the group were brought together at the Textile Centre of Excellence to enhance and develop their childcare practice for the future and reflect on the year past. Rosemary Murphy OBE, the owner and managing director of the company, took a back seat this year while her children Anastasia and Michael Murphy, now General Managers of Portland Nurseries, gave an overview of the previous year. They reported that absences were down by almost half and over 85% of the childcare staff now hold a Level 3 qualification, with many of them going far beyond to achieve degrees. As a company we have always put a strong emphasis on continual training and development, holding the Investors in People award for 13 years and ensuring that the staff are trained above and beyond the legal and Ofsted recommendations. 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. Over the years we have concentrated on a wide variety of areas such as on Outdoor Play, Behaviour Management and Transitions. On this occasion the day featured workshops on Attachment, Literacy, E-Safety, The Characteristics of Learning and Positive Language & Reflective Practice. 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 highlight of the day was 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 Amy Atkinson of Harlequin Nursery, Naomi Pearson of Holly Bank Nursery, Josephine Cadwell of Oakwood House Nursery & Forest School, Caroline Byrne of Portland House Nursery and Beth Auty of the Afterschool and Fun Club . Rising Star was awarded to Assunta Miles at Portland House Nursery for excelling in her practice and showing potential for a bright future. Prizes were also given to staff that had achieved new qualifications, and a £100 gift voucher for Concepts Lindley was awarded to super healthy Deputy Manager Natalie Clifford for a fantastic 4 years without any absence! The Portland Nurseries staff team also celebrated the fantastic £3500 raised for their sponsored charity Water Aid. A great day was had by all!