Pacey and NDNA: Resources for a Nursery School Practitioner


woman typing on a laptop

PACEY and NDNA provide nursery practitioners with the skills they need to progress in their career.

As a nursery practitioner, it’s important to keep building on your knowledge as there are always new ways of doing things. By understanding different teaching methods, ut allows you to deliver the best possible standard of education to young children.

You have a very important job as you work with young children and shape their perception of the world. The skills they learn in nursery extend beyond the classroom, as it affects how they manage different life experiences including their relationships.

Therefore, it’s crucial the experiences they have during the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are positive, and put them in good stead.

Moreover, building your skill set opens up new opportunities in your career. Maybe you would like to progress further in your role or even start your own nursery. By engaging in training and professional development, it helps you achieve your aspirations for career progression.

But with so much information available, where can nursery practitioners access valuable resources?

In this blog post, we will explore how PACEY and NDNA support nursery school practitioners and help implement best practices in teaching.

Why Is Training Important for Nursery Practitioners?

As we’ve covered, training enables you to give the children in your care the best start in life.

By improving your own teaching practices and expanding your knowledge, you can be confident that you’re delivering the best education possible. This is not only important for your own sense of achievement, but also reassures parents and carers that their children are being well looked after. This relates to standards in both an academic and well being sense.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) combines a range of different approaches and helps you to understand more about your job role and how you can improve. This is particularly important if you have been in the same role for a long period of time as it’s important you keep up to date with how teaching practices are evolving and how these can be incorporated into the classroom.

CPD is an ongoing process throughout your career as your learning should never stop. There are always new things to learn and better ways of doing things so it’s important you view this from a long-term perspective.

Benefits of Training and CPD

There are lots of benefits of training from increasing your own knowledge base to acquiring the skills needed to progress in your career.

  • Share your experiences with colleagues and learn from each other. This helps you broaden your skills and feel more confident about the way you deliver your teaching.
  • Helps you achieve higher qualifications to support your career goals.
  • Helps you to improve the level of service you provide to children and their families. It also helps you to understand the level of inspiration and influence you have over young children as they develop.
  • Stay up to date with any changes in childcare legislation which could affect your teaching, as well as social and economic development which could affect where you work.

Who Are PACEY?

PACEY was formed in 1977 and is the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years.

They are a charity dedicated to helping everyone involved in the childcare sector from children, to their families, to nursery school teachers. By providing high quality services, advice, and information, their aim is to make sure children have the brightest start in life.

Moreover, PACEY is committed to supporting and promoting the UK Government’s goal of increasing the skills of childcare providers by ensuring they understand the best practices in teaching. They offer free and discounted training opportunities to support nursery practitioners who are looking after young children.

Training is available across England and Wales, and the association champions the vital role nursery teachers play in preparing children for their future and further education.
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What Training Do PACEY Provide?

Whether you’re a childminder requiring pre-registration training, or a nursery teacher looking to improve their knowledge of safeguarding, PACEY have all of the training courses you could need.

This helps you develop your knowledge, skills, and confidence regardless of your role in a child’s life. As a nursery school practitioner, this increases the standards of care and learning you provide to your class.

Let’s take a further look at some of the training opportunities.

CEY Smart

So much is changing in the early years setting that it can be difficult to stay in the know.

There are always new frameworks being introduced and more research being carried out, meaning the way you teach never really stays the same. As a practitioner, you need to reflect on your practice and continue to develop to make sure you are providing the best education.

Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or need a refresher on changes to the current curriculum, then CEY smart is the course for you. This is PACEY’s online training platform and provides short 15-20 minute courses that can be done on any device, at any time.

By providing practical help and advice to nursery practitioners, it helps you to better support children in your care. Furthermore, the content and structure of the training puts the child at the centre, meaning everything can be directly applied to your nursery setting.

PACEY have filmed with practitioners, children and parents at a variety of real nurseries, to demonstrate examples from actual practice. Each CPD certified course marries theory and practice together in an accessible and meaningful way.

Pre-registration courses

If you’re interested in becoming a childminder or nanny in England or Wales, then PACEY has all of the resources you need.

If you live in England, then the Level 3 Award in Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcare (HBCA) is the most comprehensive qualification you need. It covers everything you need to know to work in a home-based childcare setting.

HBCA is a regulated qualification and is officially recognised meaning much of the criteria covered can be mapped to the Early Years Educator Qualification. Therefore, if you decide to progress with your studies to a full Level 3 qualification you can use some of the knowledge gained in the award. This is important as not all pre-registration childminding courses are regulated qualifications.

The qualification is also intended to help existing childcare providers improve their expertise, and covers topics such as how to set up a home-based business. As this is an e-learning course, you need access to a computer and a basic level of computer knowledge. It’s a flexible course which allows you to balance work commitments and family life which is a huge benefit.

The course comprises 2 units with 3 plans linked to the e-platform resources and webinars. All learners must complete unit 1 as this provides information required to work in a home-based childcare setting. Learners can then choose to complete unit 2 if they want to be a childminder, or unit 3 if their aim is to become a nanny.
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Safeguarding Children

When you’re looking after young children, you have a duty of care. You need to protect them and make sure they are safe and secure. At such a young age, children are very vulnerable and it’s important you understand your role and responsibilities in relation to safeguarding them.

You can sign up to be a PACEY member and get this course at an exclusive, discounted price. You can also become a Practitioner Plus member which allows you to access this course free of charge!

The safeguarding course is designed to help you understand your responsibilities in full, giving you the confidence to recognise and respond to issues if they arise.

PACEY’S child protection course covers every aspect relating to your duty of care and how this links to child care regulation. The course also looks at different types of abuse and the necessary action that should be taken.

The final part of the course explores policies and procedures and encourages you to consider the procedures you will follow, whether you work independently or in a group setting.

Understanding a safeguarding policy allows you to effectively demonstrate to parents, colleagues, and regulatory bodies that you fully appreciate the importance of raising any concerns about a child.

Food Safety and Hygiene

The course is extremely important as you need to be aware of different hygiene standards and your food safety responsibilities. The content of the course provides learners with up-to-date food hygiene information, case studies, interactive exercises and videos to ensure learners have all of the information they need.

It takes around 2 hours to complete and after successfully completing the course, learners can print a certificate.

The course meets specific learning objectives and has been accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH). This gives nursery practitioners confidence and reassurance that the course has high standards of training design. RSPH is an independent health education charity and the world’s longest-established public health body.

First Aid

As a child care provider, this is not only a requirement for your work but also an essential and potentially life saving skill.

Whether a toddler is choking on a piece of fruit or has an accident and slips, you never know when you will need to use these techniques. This makes having a relevant and up to date first aid qualification essential.

PACEY delivers first aid courses for childcare professionals and works in partnership with training providers Tigerlily Training in England to deliver training that’s both affordable and memorable, meeting all Ofsted and EYFS requirements.

The 12 hour course is a combination of one day of tutor-led training with six hours of interactive e-learning. The training is available at training centres across the country or in-house sessions for larger groups.

Group Setting Training

PACEY training is designed to cater to the needs of nurseries, pre-schools and other group settings. All of their courses have been developed by childcare experts and are regularly updated to make sure they are encouraging best practices in teaching.

Practitioners can choose from a range of courses including paediatric first aid training, online training courses, and workshops depending on their requirements. If practitioners choose to engage in a workshop, PACEY visits the nursery setting and delivers interactive sessions in person. This is designed to inspire and invigorate your planning as you can learn first hand. However, there must be a minimum of 10 staff to qualify for a workshop.
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Who Are NDNA?

NDNA provides dedicated training to childcare providers who are passionate about making a real difference.

They believe in quality and sustainability and put their members at the forefront of everything they do. As a charity, their aim is to improve, support, nurture, cherish, and challenge nursery settings.

Their innovative thinking gives each nursery the edge as they are determined to make it the best it can be by equipping nursery teachers with the skills they need.

NDNA holds governments in Westminster, Cardiff, and Edinburgh and influences policy from business costs through to qualifications, and better investment in early years teaching.

They have bases across the UK and internationally:

    • NDNA Scotland – NDNA represents 55% of private day nurseries, with active networks in local authority areas and a team in Edinburgh.
    • NDNA Wales – In Wales, they contribute to policy development and guidance, provide support to nurseries, and have a team in Ruthin.
    • NDNA International – The charity helps childcare settings across the world not only achieve expectations but to exceed them by transferring their knowledge and training.

What Training Do NDNA Provide?

NDNA trains thousands of early years and childcare practitioners every year. They offer childcare training courses for a range of settings including early years, individual practitioners, and local authorities.

Every course is designed and delivered by experienced and qualified early years experts. In addition, they reflect best practices in teaching as they are up to date with the latest policy and legislation.

Mandatory Early Years Training

These courses cover the basics of working in an early years setting. It includes training on safeguarding, designated safeguarding leads, food and hygiene, health and safety, allergy awareness, and nutrition.

Some of the courses are face-to-face whereas others are online, allowing you to fit your training around other commitments. The courses are packed with information to give nursery teachers peace of mind that they have all bases covered.

Prices vary depending on the course so it’s important you check this before signing up.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

NDNA recognises that CPD is a highly important part of a teachers career, but budget limitations can make it difficult. That’s why they are committed to providing low-cost, high quality training solutions to suit every financial situation.

You can join the thousands of practitioners they train every year by signing up to one of their many courses. This includes face-to-face training, live virtual classroom training, online training courses, CACH endorsed online training, and maths, literacy and SEND programmes.

Teachers can also save on the price of their online courses by purchasing training bundles. This is ideal for a range of people including new members of nursery staff and students who are looking for up-to-date, quality online childcare training.

You also have the option to spread your payments out to make accessing these courses much more affordable.
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Pre and Post Inspection Support

NDNA helps you prepare for your next OFSTED visit by providing two services: pre-inspection visit and post-inspection support.

In terms of a pre-inspection visit, an independent adviser with previous experience of the nursery sector and the OFSTED inspection framework will observe early years practice, review key documentation, and carry out a joint observation.

Furthermore, they will advise your staff about what to expect from an inspection to increase their confidence and give them full awareness. They will then provide feedback and advice to identify your strengths and areas for development.

Moving over to post-inspection support, the service can be tailored to meet your specific requirements. NDNA can offer:

      • A review of the inspection findings
      • Review of practice
      • Planning and creating an action plan
      • Advice on practice or statutory requirements
      • Review of your evaluation procedures to advise how they can be strengthened following your inspection
      • Support for the manager and your staff team after the inspection visit
      • Guidance on the Ofsted appeals process
      • Support informing and communicating with parents
      • Guidance on how to meet the actions and recommendations from Ofsted
      • Next steps – impact from a ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ judgement
      • Marketing support following a downgrade
      • Guidance on supporting staff well-being

Practitioners can also reach out to a member of NDNA to create a bespoke package.

Quality Counts – Quality Improvement

In any early years setting, quality is essential. You need to be well prepared for your next OFSTED inspection which is where NDNA’s Quality Counts scheme comes into play.

Depending on your budget, there are 3 different options to choose from which will support you to raise your nursery inspection outcome and embed a sense of quality in your setting.

Having a Quality Counts certification will ensure you stand out from your competitors and instills a sense of trust in your nursery.

Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of obtaining this accreditation…

      • Demonstrate better outcomes for children at inspection
      • Show parents and professionals that you’re committed to developing high quality practice for all children
      • Stand out from the competition by promoting your award to new parents
      • Attract and retain high quality staff
      • Improve teamwork, morale, and communication

Millie’s Mark – Paediatric First Aid

NDNA delivers Millie’s Mark which is an accreditation for excellence in paediatric first aid in early years. It is named after Millie Thompson who tragically lost her life after choking on food at nursery in 2012. After her death, her parents began campaigning and from September 2016 all newly qualified staff with a level 2 and level 3 qualification must have an emergency paediatric first aid or full paediatric first aid certificate.

The accreditation is awarded to nurseries in England and Scotland who exceed the minimum requirements by having 100% of staff trained in paediatric first aid. These childcare providers are also committed to keeping the knowledge they have learned on the course at the forefront of their practice so that all teachers are confident and capable should an incident ever occur.

To be eligible for the award, all child care professionals must have an up to date paediatric first aid certificate. NDNA and Millies Mark do not have a preferred supplier for paediatric first training, meaning childcare settings are free to choose their own provider.

As part of the process, educators will need to complete an audit which covers what due-diligence has been carried out on the training provider, how they have chosen the supplier, and what quality checks they have carried out on staff competencies.

Best Practices in Teaching Fact Sheets and Publications for Nurseries

From accident forms, to a child’s well-being, to an EYFS pack, NDNA has all of the resources you could possibly need! As a nursery practitioner, it’s beneficial to read about different types of teaching methods to keep your knowledge fresh and up to date.

NDNA has a full library of publications to inspire you in your teaching, enabling you to explore different ways of doing things. You might stumble across a teaching style you’re not familiar with or find a better way of interacting with your class – whatever the subject I’m sure you’ll find it here!

You can easily search for the type of resource you need, allowing you to browse through lots of information easily and quickly. This means you will always have a resource at hand.
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Pacey and NDNA: Resources for a Nursery School Practitioner

One of the main qualities of a nursery practitioner is their genuine love of children and their commitment to provide the best education possible.

You can only achieve this by keeping your knowledge up to date as the world of education is always changing. You can rest assured that new frameworks, policies, and teaching styles will always be emerging, with each claiming to enhance a child’s learning experience.

For you to be at your best, it’s important you continue to work on your own practice and engage in training courses. This supports your own professional development and can lead to further job opportunities as you can gain more knowledge and experience in your sector.

Therefore, training benefits both the children you teach and your own career goals and gives you the necessary skills to reach your full potential.

It can be difficult to know which resources and training courses are useful as there is so much information available. Both PACEY and NDNA provide dedicated, focussed training for childcare professionals to give you the confidence you need in your role.

At Learning Journals, our platform is built by a nursery for nurseries so we understand just how busy child care providers are! We want to take a little bit of this stress away from you, by providing an online platform where teachers can record limitless observations of children. No one wants to be bogged down by paperwork, and with our platform, you don’t need to be.

Simply record, upload, and share observations of your class, to demonstrate to parents how their child is progressing. This gives you more confidence in your role and also reassures parents that their child is receiving a high standard of education.

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