We had a number of parents volunteer to join our management committee which we will be supporting them with over the coming weeks. At the meeting our acting manager gave a speech on experiences over the last year, highlighting successes in what has been a difficult time for many nurseries:
"I have been doing this role since mid-February and during this time, there have been quite big issues to deal with, but the biggest issue was the boiler which stopped working after 30 years. We now have a shiny new boiler and are on our way to having working radiators throughout the setting, which will be wonderful as winter approaches.
The other major issue before and during Sarah’s absence was staffing – we lost a highly valued member of staff in early February, and had to rely on two agency staff (the same individuals to ensure consistency for the children) from February until July, but we did manage to recruit a Level 6 agency member of staff who could not join our staff team until July, and consequently staffing costs were high for this period.
As a nursery, we have survived Covid-19, and learned a lot from the experience, including how responsive and supportive our families have been, and how they continue to be so, which we thank them for. We now face moving forward in a very competitive childcare market in the area. We are currently asking all our service users to post positive comments about the nursery on our Facebook page.
In- order -to review the year, I have gone back over reports presented to the Management Committee every month and will summarise key moments from the year.
In November Geraldine and I interviewed candidates for our Kickstart sponsored Nursery Management Assistant staff member and we selected Caitlin, who proved to be extremely useful with all the jobs nursery staff don’t have time for including maintaining the website and improving the user features amongst many other things. We would very much have liked her to stay, but she returned to University to complete her degree. She was with us for six months from January to July.
We have welcomed a new apprentice who started with us two weeks ago and will be completing an in-house apprenticeship with us. We will be using a company we use for most of our training called Woodspeen Training (Sarah and I are both doing Level 5 Business Management with this company).
The plan is that I will continue to mentor her when Sarah returns to work... I am happy to continue in the role of supporting Sarah as I have done previously, but now have several more skills under my belt to be a more useful stand-in when Sarah is not here.
We have had a very successful year with the achievements of our school leavers with 91% achieving Expected or Exceeding in their final EYFS development checks before leaving us.
Most of our pre-schoolers took part in a survey by the NDNA in two parts (November 21 and June 22) to assess their development across seven months with the same online tests being undertaken by each child each time they did the test. We were not part of the group which used the Maths Champion programme, we were instead in the control group, but the results were excellent nonetheless. This is testament to the excellent teaching that takes place in our nursery. The person that came to the nursery to test the children remarked that of the three settings she had been to – our children achieved the best results.
I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work and dedication to ensuring the children attending our setting achieve the best outcomes possible and working with parents and carers` to achieve this.
The biggest highlight of the year involves our partnership with Rachel Dean and her wonderful team bringing music and movement to our nursery children, and members of the public coming to Stay and Play is something we hope to continue in the near future. We also visited the Reginald Centre to watch a fantastic version of Thumbelina, in which the children took an active part. The pictures of the sessions are being shown in the Quiet Room.
Our community room is utilised for many different functions - from a polling station, to a facility small businesses can use to run from, to a group meeting room, Christmas bazaar facility including the wonderful Rastaclaus, all because of the amazing space we have available to use here. Of course, we also have use of our nursery for birthday parties and other celebratory functions, this is a great place, full of useful spaces and a great place to work.
I would like to thank Geraldine for all the amazing support she provides to the nursery and the Management Committee and particularly the fund raising she does for us and the many, many applications she makes so that we can keep operations working efficiently. We also thank all the other members of the Management Committee for their own roles which are equally significant to the running of the nursery.
The nursery celebrates its 50th birthday next year, I know we are going to make every effort to have a year full of events to celebrate this incredible milestone in the nursery’s history.”