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Are you NDNA’s Nursery of the Year? We would love to hear from you! This prestigious award celebrates the ultimate success for early years settings who have gone above and beyond.

Three regional (North of England, Central England, South of England), two national (Scotland and Wales) and one overall winner are awarded. Encourage your parents or carers to vote for you and your nursery.

All Nursery of the Year finalists will be visited or interviewed by an early years adviser who will compile a report for the judging panel.

ENTRY CRITERIA

All Nursery of the Year finalists will be visited or interviewed by an NDNA Early Years Adviser who will compile a report for the judging panel.

The regions are defined as:

  • North of England
  • Central England
  • South of England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • With one overall winner being awarded.

The regions are defined below:

North of England (southern boundary) - South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and Lancashire

Central England (northern/southern boundary) – Norfolk, Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Birmingham, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire, South Lincolnshire

South of England (northern boundary) - Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex.

Scotland – all areas

Wales – all areas

Please visit the event Terms and Conditions for map of defined areas.

Site visit: Yes

Type: Onsite visits for finalists

Evidence required: Yes

Secondary evidence required from finalists: Yes

Additional criteria/information to upload:

  • Testimonies/photographic evidence
  • Type of provision – nursery, pre-school, forest school, childminder etc.
  • Number and age of children
  • Number of staff. Percentage of staff qualified to L3. Percentage of staff qualified at graduate level
  • Most recent inspection rating (if applicable)
  • Details of any quality improvement schemes such as Quality Counts, Millie’s Mark, Investors in People, Healthy Eating Awards etc.

Guidance for application:

Share the impact of what you are doing for children. Describe specific elements of your practice to show how you provide a high-quality experience for all children and families. Give specific examples, with details for questions 1-5 demonstrating how you meet each, for example, question 3 – tell us what parents wanted to change and describe what you did to meet their wishes. Specific examples enable the judges to understand your ethos and how you work in your daily practice. Include additional information to support your entry, for example, testimonials and photographs.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.

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Is there a practitioner in your nursery who is the Practitioner of the Year 2024? Tell us why you think the practitioner is outstanding, how they have made a difference, and why they should win NDNA Practitioner of the Year.

ENTRY CRITERIA

Entries are open to anyone working in an early years setting whose typical environment is the nursery floor. This includes: Room Leader, Senior Practitioner, Practitioner, Assistant etc. Entries must be nominated by a manager or colleague and evidence will need to be provided to support the nomination.

This award is nominated by the nursery manager and voted for by parents.

Site visit: Yes

Type : Virtual interview for finalists

Evidence required : Yes

Secondary evidence required from finalists : Yes

Additional criteria / information to upload:

Testimonies from colleagues/parents/other stakeholders

Guidance for application:

Describe how and why you think the practitioner is worthy of winning this award over all other practitioners. Describe specific examples for the panel to review. Have they gone above and beyond for a child or family? Have they brought a fresh perspective or new idea to the daily practice? Have they led on a specific area of practice or supported a colleague? Describe their dedication to supporting children. Include additional information to support your entry, for example, testimonials from parents, colleagues, etc.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.


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Do you have an outstanding manager who is passionate about childcare and supporting the staff, parents, colleagues, external professionals involved with your setting?

We are looking to hear about remarkable individuals and their journeys in early years, the innovative changes they have made, the positive impact they have had and their drive and inspiration.

ENTRY CRITERIA

Entries are open to anyone working in a day nursery that holds a managerial title and responsibility. This includes: Deputy Manager, General Manager, Nursery Manager, Nursery Director. Entries must be nominated by a colleague within the setting and evidence will need to be provided to support the nomination.

Site visit:  Yes

Type:  Virtual interview for finalists

Evidence required:  Yes

Secondary evidence required from finalists: Yes

Additional criteria / information to upload:

Testimonies from staff at different level/parents and external stakeholders.

Guidance for application:

Ensure that you provide sufficient depth and description to your examples. Describe specific examples of what your manager has done and the impact of their leadership. Include testimonials and evidence for other stakeholders that demonstrates their key leadership skills and attributes. Include additional information to support your entry, for example, testimonials from parents, staff or other stakeholders.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.


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Tell us why you think an apprentice in your setting is outstanding, how have they made a difference and why they should win NDNA Apprentice of the Year.

We want to hear about their outstanding achievements, incredible contributions and their aspirations for a long and rewarding career in early years.

ENTRY CRITERIA

This award is nominated by the Nursery Manager.

Site visit:  Yes

Type: Virtual interview for finalists

Evidence required:  Yes

Secondary evidence required from finalists: Yes

Additional criteria / information to upload:

Testimonies from parents, manager and training provider.

Guidance for application:

Describe how and why you think they are worthy of winning this award over all other apprentices. Provide specific examples of their practice, skills and knowledge for the panel to review. Have they gone above and beyond for a child or family? Have they brought a fresh perspective or new idea to the daily practice? Have they led on a specific area of practice or supported a colleague? Describe their dedication to supporting children. Include additional information to support your entry, for example, testimonials from parents or training provider.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.

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The Community Support/Charity Fundraising Award looks at the setting's role within the wider community, your approach to community support or charity fundraising and how this has supported children’s learning and development.

We want to know what you set out to achieve and the positive impact you had. Did you achieve your community support or fundraising goal? We are looking forward to hearing about your journey.

Are you the next winner for 2024?

ENTRY CRITERIA

Site visit:  No

Type:  N/A

Evidence required:  Yes

Secondary evidence required from finalists : Yes/no

Additional criteria / information to upload:

Testimonies from beneficiaries of your community support or charity fundraising, testimonies from staff or parents, photographs to support your evidence.

Guidance for application:

Judges will be looking for a clear description of your work in this area and the benefit for your community. Set out the process you went through to identify specific support or fundraising and why you chose to help? What impact were you looking to achieve for your community? How did it come about? How did you get all staff on board? Clearly describe any involvement the children have played alongside any support you received from parents and other local groups. Describe the positive impact this has had on all your stakeholders so far (this may include individual testimonies, case studies or images). Explain the legacy that your project has had, this may include empowering others, an increase in confidence, improved support in the community etc. Include additional information to support your entry, for example, testimonials and photographs.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.

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The Excellence in Additional Needs Award looks at the setting's role in meeting the needs of children with additional needs, and your approach to upskilling your team. How do you ensure successful outcomes and make a positive difference for children and families with additional needs?

Could you be the winner for 2024?

ENTRY CRITERIA

Entries are open to all settings offering support to children and families with additional needs.

Site visit:  No

Type: N/A

Evidence required: Yes

Secondary evidence required from finalists: Yes/no

Additional criteria / information to upload:

Testimonies from parents and external professionals.

Guidance for application

Provide specific examples of how you have supported children and families, how you upskill your whole staff team, how you support your coordinator and the strategies you use to ensure successful outcomes for children and families with additional needs. Share details of when you may have gone above and beyond for a child or family, or tried a new initiative that has made a positive difference to others. Describe how you share knowledge and best practice to improve and develop your practice.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.

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Do you have an outstanding baby room practitioner who is passionate about working with babies and supporting the staff/parents/colleagues/external professionals involved with your nursery?

ENTRY CRITERIA

Entries are open to any member of staff working in your baby room (0-2 years). Entries must be nominated by a colleague within the setting and evidence will need to be provided to support the nomination.

Site visit:  Yes

Type:  N/A

Evidence required: Yes

Secondary evidence required from finalists : Yes/no

Additional criteria / information to upload:

Testimonies from colleagues/parents/other stakeholders

Guidance for application:

Describe how and why you think the practitioner is worthy of winning this award over all other practitioners in the baby room. Describe specific examples for the panel to review. Have they gone above and beyond for a child or family? Have they brought a fresh perspective or new idea to the daily practice? Describe the strategies they use to build relationships with parents. Describe how they support new starters and transitions. Have they led on a specific area of practice or supported a colleague? Describe their dedication to supporting babies.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.

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This award celebrates those settings that invest in the development and motivation of all staff. Are you planning for success within your setting? Do you evaluate success? Do you offer outside the box opportunities for development in your setting?

ENTRY CRITERIA

Site visit:  Yes

Type:  Virtual interview for finalists

Evidence required:  No

Secondary evidence required from finalists : Yes/No

Guidance for application:

Give specific examples for each of the questions to demonstrate your practice, for example - question 2: Identify a member of your team that has been a successful part of your succession planning and describe the path they have taken and the impact this has had. Ensure you provide sufficient depth and detail to demonstrate your understanding of how to build and maintain a high-quality team.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.

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Our Network of the Year award is open to all NDNA Networks. If you’re part of an NDNA network that makes a positive contribution to progress within the nursery sector, then nominate your network group now!

ENTRY CRITERIA

Nominations may be made by any member(s) of that network.

Site visit:  No

Type:  N/A

Evidence required:  No

Secondary evidence required from finalists: Yes/no

Guidance for application:

Ensure that you provide sufficient depth and description to your examples. Provide specific examples of how the network has made a difference to local providers and the impact this has made. Include testimonials and evidence for other stakeholders that demonstrates why they are worthy of winning this award.

Secondary evidence required from finalists:

Further details may be sought from finalists to support their entry.

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This nominated award recognises an individual who has been influential and has significantly contributed to making a visible difference within the early years sector during their career to date.

Nominations are invited for individuals who you believe are innovators, passionate influencers who are delivering real and positive change.

We would welcome nominations from across the sector who have been active in influencing and promoting the importance of high-quality early years education and the professionalism of the workforce.

ENTRY CRITERIA

Site visit:  No

Nominations will be reviewed for the quality, breadth, and impact of the candidate’s contribution to early years. Evidence should be presented of how their work has impacted significantly on children’s outcomes. That impact might be based on a single but very important contribution, activities that have made a sector wide difference or a sustained record of contributions over many years.

Please upload two supporting letters for your nomination in the evidence section of this application.

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