“By partnering with Connect2Care, support systems are in place for staff and everyone recognises the excellent skills and abilities within the team.”
Category: C2C Small to Medium Employer of the Year
Sheepwash Farm Day Nursery provides outstanding care and learning for fifty children aged eight weeks to five years. Based on an arable farm in Staffordshire, the farm supplies the nursery with 100% renewable energy, including toe-warming underfloor heating from a biomass boiler, and electricity from a wind turbine operated by Sheepwash Farm.
When the nursery opened in 2020, it partnered with Connect2Care (C2C) as part of its business plan to offer apprenticeships to help grow the team and train staff to a high standard. The development programme has proved hugely successful creating a team of home-grown specialist educators and the nursery was recently awarded an outstanding rating by Ofsted.
Managing Director Charmaine Eagles said: “Our training includes Level 3 Early Years Educator, and we have one team member who is considering their Level 5 Early Years Lead and a chef’s qualification to be able to work in our nursery kitchen. Currently, we have four apprentices on programme and another team member in the application process.
“Being able to give all our staff opportunities to develop personally and professionally has been massively rewarding and younger members are learning fantastic holistic skills set across early years. Through apprenticeships, we have been able to support our team through their learning journey and make them believe they can achieve anything they want to. We are also making a positive contribution to the community by giving people the opportunity to be successful.”
As a private children’s day nursery, managers and staff at the setting have a vast knowledge of working with children and their families. They are passionate about their roles and strive to provide the best possible care and learning for children. By partnering with C2C, support systems are in place for staff and everyone recognises the excellent skills and abilities within the team.
Staff wellbeing is a priority at Sheepwash and apprenticeship programmes help staff feel valued and included in all aspects of the nursery.
"We offer wellbeing days to our staff, a veg bag from our vegetable patch each week along with our own pork pies,” said Charmaine. “We have an open-door policy where our staff can talk to us about anything and receive support for both work and home life. Our C2C Vocational Trainer Louise Woodhead has been a massive asset to our setting with her professional attitude and vast industry knowledge. She inspires our apprentices to reach the highest standards and always supports them if they are struggling. Louise’s communication skills are fantastic and most of all, she knows her job inside out which speaks volumes.
“The impact of training has made us more confident as a team in supervising and conducting appraisals that enable us to focus on professional development opportunities among staff.
“We hold regular staff meetings to enable staff to share ideas, skills and training needs and continually review and evaluate best practice. C2C has played a huge part in our ongoing staff development strategy. We have twenty members of staff, all with different ages, experience, life skills and training backgrounds and it has been great to see our apprentices learning lifelong skills and benefitting from a diverse team. Right from induction, we encourage all our staff to take on apprenticeships to grow both personally and professionally, progress in their career and keep their skills up to date.
“Apprenticeships enable us to give staff more responsibilities in their job role and this has a positive impact on not only team morale but the children we teach too. If staff are keen to try new things, the children benefit too. At Sheepwash Farm Day Nursery, my team make my nursery. If we did not have the team we have, we would not have the positive environment we enjoy with staff, children and parents.
“With a low staff turnover and a waiting list up until September 2025, we are able to focus on upping our registration numbers to give even more children opportunities to gain experience of our unique nursery.”