Early Years Leadership: Outstanding grade achieved for two nurseries

There is no greater feeling for an early years leader than to be awarded an outstanding Ofsted grade. To have the hard work and dedication of the whole team recognised in this way often serves to strengthen practice and boost team morale.

This feeling is equally felt with external agencies that work collaboratively with settings, and the team at Early Years Leadership are no different. When the settings we work with gain an Outstanding grade, the pride and satisfaction is felt across the whole Early Years Leadership organisation.

As a company supporting leaders across the early years sector, we are often called upon to support settings who are looking to improve their practice, upskill their teams and create the very best settings for the children and families they serve. The settings vision becomes our vision and we become a critical friend, working to achieve this vision together. We immerse ourselves into the setting in order to coach, develop and train leaders to deliver that vision with bells on.  

When we meet a manager at their setting for the first time the question we always ask first is:”Why do you do what you do?” 

Often taken aback, managers can immediately reply with a whole host of reasons. They start reflecting. This is where we begin.

In our experience managers have so much information going through their minds, so much that they both want and need to do, that they have lost their vision and sometimes their motivation. 

We have worked with so many different settings from small pack away preschools to purpose built nurseries in a large chain, however. there is always one common theme. The dedication to achieving the absolute best for the children. Take for example Barts Busy Bees, a setting which recently received their Outstanding grade.

As a pack away setting, Barts Bees has their own challenges, but have a brilliantly dedicated team and passionate leadership team. Over the last few months, our coach dedicated themself to helping the Barts manager see the path to their goal looking in detail at 6 overarching principles:

1. Vision and Values

2. Team


4.Strategic Growth

5. Quality and Innovation

6.Health and Wellbeing

By working together with the manager, asking probing questions, encouraging reflective practice and deeply exploring the fundamentals of some critical challenges, the manager was able to find solutions, build team morale and improve the culture of the setting. Practice improved, confidence grew, and team skills were scaffolded. And the result was what they had all worked so hard the achieve!

Another example is Wood St Nursery, who contacted Early Years Leadership to request support with their leadership and management processes. Their early years practice was already outstanding, with children’s learning and development at the very core of everything they did. Our Early Years Leadership Coach worked with the owners on those 6 over arching principles, resulting in leadership and management of the setting improving significantly, with owners gaining confidence in their processes, ready to look at buying a second setting. Once again, when their inspection day came, their confidence in their abilities, knowledge and skills was high, resulting in another Outstanding grade.

For both settings, having a critical friend, a fresh set of eyes and someone to support their vision, resulted in outstanding practices and brilliant services for the children and families in their community.

If you are looking for guidance, support, training or coaching, contact us by emailing [email protected]

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