In this article we look at how we invest in our staff team, where we can provide further resources and how and what timeframes we can apply to management progression for those who invest in themselves
Staff Development and Training
At Hatching Dragons we value our staff highly. We believe that personal and professional development is essential for maintaining the delivery of high-quality care and learning for children in their early years. It underpins all aspects of positive interactions and activities planned for children.
In the interests of the nursery, the children, their families and the individual we give every staff member the opportunity to develop their skills to their maximum and to broaden their knowledge and skills in caring for children. A comprehensive and targeted programme of professional development ensures practitioners are constantly improving their understanding and practice. High-quality professional supervision is provided, based on individual performance related targets, consistent and sharply focused observation and evaluations of the impact of staff’s practice.
We ensure that at least 50% of staff are qualified to Level 3 (or equivalent) or above in childcare and education or Early Years Educator. Other staff working at the nursery will either be qualified to Level 2 or undertaking training. Where necessary staff will be supported to achieve a suitable level 2 qualification in Maths and English (as defined by the Department for Education on the Early Years Qualifications List) for the completion of the Early Years Educator.
We strongly promote continuous professional development and all staff have individual training records and training plans to enhance their skills and expertise, which are based on discussions at supervision meetings and appraisal meetings. We have a training budget which is set annually and reviewed to ensure that the team gain external support and training where needed.
To facilitate the development of staff we:
- Coach, mentor, lead and offer encouragement and support to achieve a high level of morale and motivation
- Promote teamwork through ongoing communication, involvement and a no blame culture to enhance nursery practice
- Provide opportunities for delegation based on skills and expertise to offer recognition and empower staff
- Encourage staff to contribute ideas for change within the nursery and hold regular staff meetings and team meetings to develop these ideas. Regular meetings are also held to discuss strategy, policy and activity planning
- Encourage staff to further their experience and knowledge by attending relevant external training courses
- Encourage staff to pass on their knowledge to those who are less experienced and share knowledge from external training with small groups of staff within the nursery
- Provide regular in-house training relevant to the needs of the nursery
- Carry out regular monthly meetings with all staff, termly supervisions with all staff and annual appraisals with all staff. These provide opportunities for staff to discuss any issues particularly concerning children’s development or well-being including child protection concerns, identify solutions to address issues as they arise and receive coaching to improve their personal effectiveness. Monthly meetings are help after hours and are paid for at the discretion of the management.
- Provide 3 inset days / year on the first day of each term to train staff further in specific areas of learning and development and our practice
- Develop a training plan that sets out the aims and intended outcomes of any training, addressing both the qualification and continuous professional development needs of the nursery and individual staff
- Carry out training need analyses for all individual staff, the team as a whole, and for the nursery every six months
- Promote a positive learning culture within the nursery
- Offer annual team building training
- Carry out full evaluations of all training events and use these to evaluate the training against the aims set to enable the development of future training programmes to improve effectiveness and staff learning
- Provide inductions to welcome all new staff and assign a ‘work buddy’ to coach, mentor and support new staff
- Offer ongoing support and guidance
- Offer varied information sources including membership of local and national organisations, resources, publications and literature to all staff.
We hold staff inset days three time per year, these are usually done in January, April and September. The inset days are used as teacher training days, the nursery manager/ central team will cover areas such as learning and development,safeguarding, health and safety ,training, Company Announcements and to refresh our knowledge on policies and procedures. This allows the teams to develop their practice in order to fulfil their roles to the best of their ability. Managers are required to have a set agenda for the inset day training ahead of the event.
Staff will automatically be allocated training programmes to complete on the Training section of their BambooHR profile. These will almost always be linked to either Educare and / or NDNA online CPD level 2 courses in childcare, welfare, health & safety and teaching & learning.
Staff must complete these training programmes for probation to be passed (amongst other assessments in attitude / attendance / performance and managerial review). Managers must review their teams training on an ongoing basis and mark the training programmes complete on Bamboo as and when the staffer has forwarded the certificate - these certificates need to be uploaded to the Training folder on the staffer’s Documents section in BambooHR
Failure to complete the training programmes by the end of your probation may result in probationary extension or termination
For staff who engage in funded training, for which the company must subsidise further, must sign a Training Costs Agreement with the company, as per the procedure. The company will pay for the training of the staffer but require the staff benefitting from subsidised / paid training to remain as part of the staff team for a period of 18 months post qualification.
Should the staff stand to benefit, personally, from training i.e certificates are provided for their future use and at subsequent employment, and training be provided on weekends, staff will not be remunerated for this additional day as it is for their own professional development as well as for the benefit of the school. Should the training directly benefit the school and not stand to materially benefit the staffer with certificates that he or she can take with him/her on to subsequent employment, the nursery will provide remuneration for the extra day.
Training providers can be found here.