Staff Development & Training

HSCS: 1.13, 3.14, 3.20

At Willow Den, 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 early learning and childcare 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 evaluation of the impact of staff’s practice. 

We ensure that 66% (2/3) of staff are qualified to SCQF level 7 or above in Early learning/childcare and education.

Our managers and lead early years staff will be qualified or working to SCQF level 9. Our executive team will hold or be working to level SCQF 10 or equivalent in a relevant disciple (Business/Accounting/Leadership). Other staff working at Willow Den will either be qualified to SCQF 2, or undertaking training. We advocate outdoor ELC qualifications and training and encourage all staff to participate in professional learning. 

We strongly promote continuous professional development and all staff have individual training records and training plans to enhance their skills and expertise based on discussions at supervision meetings and appraisal meetings. We have a training budget that is set annually and reviewed to ensure that the team gain external support and training where needed.

To facilitate the development of staff we:

  • Provide Induction Training that includes the Scottish Government National Induction Resource
  • Offer free online membership to Azilo training 
  • Coach, 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 ELC 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 6 monthly support, development and supervision meetings with all staff. These provide opportunities for staff to discuss any issues, identify solutions to address issues particularly concerning children’s development or well-being as they arise and receive coaching to improve their personal effectiveness. Staff appraisals are carried out annually where objectives and action plans for staff are set out, while also identifying training needs according to their individual needs
  • 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 each nursery annually
  • Promote a positive learning culture within the nursery
  • Offer annual team building training
  • Carry out 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 and support new staff
  • Offer ongoing support and guidance
  • Offer varied information sources including membership to local and national organisations, resources, publications and literature to all staff.