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Nursery goal setting for 2024: Tips to aid success 

Join Blossom Educational as they take you through all you need to know about nursery goal setting in 2024. 

Whether you’re thinking of starting a childcare business, expanding your current provision or want to protect against potential threats to your nursery this year, this article is for you.  

Structure and purpose turn wishes into goals, and small, deliberate steps turn goals into reality. Join Blossom Educational as they take you through all you need to know about nursery goal setting in 2024.  

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Why is goal setting so important in nurseries? 

As children in the UK have access to free schooling, it can be easy to forget that childcare and EYFS settings are businesses. Goal setting is vital for any successful business – you’ll not have to look far to see a successful entrepreneur who hails their success to accurate goal setting and structure. Take Grace Beverley (Forbes 30 under 30 and successful entrepreneur), claiming her multi-million-pound companies’ continuing success is due to well-structured goals and accurate planning. 

But money isn’t the only driver for nursery managers and owners. Nursery settings are designed to offer children and their families the very best start in life. Opening their doors daily to welcome the children to new experiences and opportunities. Nursery settings that run smoothly and efficiently successfully achieve their mission of providing safety, knowledge and confidence to their children.  

We all know that a day in a nursery is fast paced. It can be easy to be pulled from one task to another, and time passes quickly. Therefore, having clear goals that you and your nursery team are working towards can help keep your team aligned and focused even during the busiest times.  

Your nursery relies on having filled spaces in each room. With the cost of living crisis, some nurseries need help to fill their nursery spaces, meaning budgets are stretched. Having realistic goals for your nursery can mean being aware of the potential risks your nursery may face this year with occupancy planning and preparing to tackle these risks.  

How to set goals for your nursery in 2024

The changes to the early years in 2024 may alter how and where you receive childcare funding from and may even change the dynamic of your nursery families. The goals that you set for your nursery this year should be mindful of any changes. Having a broad overview of how your nursery is currently functioning is essential. It will help you set goals and plan across all business areas necessary for financial security, operational efficiency and growth.  

With this in mind, we split up the goal-setting process into three key areas:  

  • Financial  
  • Operational  
  • Expansion 

So, what do we mean by financial, operational and expansion goals?  

Financial goal-setting for nurseries

A financial goal will focus on the incomings or outgoings of your nursery. These goals may include generating more revenue than in previous years, being more responsible with spending in a particular area or securing funding grants to achieve other goals. Following nursery budget advice can help you to fine-tune these goals.  

For example, it may be time to update your nursery’s outdoor play space, and your budget won’t stretch to the equipment you’d really like. Identifying and applying for funding applications may make this a reality.  

**Time to think:  
What do your outgoings tell you about your previous year? Are there spiking trends you can recognise?  

Operational goal-setting for nurseries

When we talk about operational goals, they encompass anything that impacts the day-to-day running of the nursery, including staffing, systems used, capacity, and resources. 

It is essential to know your nursery’s weaknesses and how you can proactively tackle them. For example, you may still be using a manual invoicing system. Where you calculate monthly bills and manually send (and chase) parent invoices each month. An operational goal could be to improve this system, moving towards nursery invoicing software to free up significant person-hours for your leadership team.  

Staff absence can make running a nursery very challenging- frequent or simultaneous absences impact how smoothly your early years setting will run. Although it is tricky to prepare for staff absence, you can ensure you are always aware of what adult-to-child ratio you need based on your register, which will help you move practitioners between rooms to cover staff sickness. 

Did you know… Blossom has the option to set custom ratios for each nursery room, helping you see how many staff are needed for each part of the day.  

Making your nursery as profitable and efficient as possible is likely always to be an underlying goal you have. Investing in nursery management software can help to streamline your processes and improve visibility and operational success.  

**Time to think:  
Think of the most efficient systems in your nursery, why they work so well, and how you can replicate this process across all areas of your setting.  

Expansion goals for your nursery 

These may be the goals that excite you the most and give you the motivation when times get tough. Knowing what you’d like to grow your childcare business into eventually (regardless of how large scale you’d like your business to be) is essential when choosing expansion goals.  

Try picking your endpoint, whatever that may be, and working backwards to identify the steps you’ll need to take to achieve that goal. 

Whether you want to grow in capacity (offering more places or hiring more staff). Or if you’d like to expand your available provision for the families, you should dream big. Measurable goals and the small steps needed to achieve them make a dream a reality.  

Think about your current provision and the position in the local community. Are there relationships your setting would benefit from developing this year? The connection with a local secondary school with sporting facilities or a local nursing home that offers gardening activities for the residents? How could you grow these relationships?  

**Time to think:  
Where might your EYFS setting benefit from growth? 

  • Parent relationships  
  • Community engagement  
  • Staff knowledge  
  • Nursery software  
  • Physical environment  

Tips for effective goal-setting in the early years

So, how do you set effective goals as a nursery manager or owner? We’re happy you asked! Blossom shares top tips on goal setting to ensure you create realistic and measurable goals.  

Know where your starting point is 

You must first know your starting location before you can plan a destination. Running a nursery business successfully is no different.  

Have you heard of a SWOT analysis? It stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat. Completed by many successful companies and organisations, a SWOT analysis can help clarify where your nursery is operating.  

When creating goals to work towards in 2024, consider all items you include in your SWOT analysis. There may be areas that fall as a priority. For example, if SEND support knowledge is a weakness amongst your staff, yet you are aware of several children identified as having potential SEND needs joining your nursery.  

Upskilling your team’s knowledge and confidence to support SEND children effectively in a nursery setting may fall into the threat and opportunity category. 

Have easy access to all nursery information 

When goal setting, you will benefit from a simple overview of how the nursery functions. It can be useful to know information like:  

  • How many vacant spaces do you have in each room?  
  • How many children are due to leave in September to start school?   
  • What are the current qualifications your staff have? (including Paediatric First Aid) 
  • Are there any children eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium Funding?  

Using nursery software helps to keep all information in one place, making it accessible even when off-site. Contact their friendly, UK-based team if you’d like to learn more about Blossom’s nursery software features and book a free demo.  

Consistency of nursery systems for goal setting  

When working with children, consistency is key. This applies to goal setting also. All staff need to be on board with the vision and driver of your goals to achieve consistency.  

Consistent nursery systems don’t just positively impact the likelihood of achieving the goals you set, it also affects parent-nursery relationships, staff induction and progression and make monitoring success much easier.  

It can be easy to fall into having several systems split across different platforms, one for parent communication, invoicing and tracking enquiries, for example. Blossom is the total software solution for nursery managers. Having all essential systems in one place gives you time to spend where it matters.  

Tools to help make goal-setting easier 

It can be easier to track progress with the correct measures and metrics.  Using simple tools to make your life easier during the nursery day can help you stay on track to achieve your goals.  

Consider researching different nursery management tools that will support your practitioners to perform at their best and reduce any barriers to efficiency you may have.  

For example, you may need help knowing if you are within ratio throughout the nursery day. There could be, on rare occasions, too many staff in one room. To ensure maximum profitability and effectiveness, those ‘additional’ staff members could work towards other goals you may have, like increasing a community voice and relationship with local stakeholders.  

Build a supportive network across your nursery 

It can be lonely at the top, so build a strong and supportive network of other nursery managers and owners (online and in-person). Several social media groups are free to join, where concerns and successes can be shared and celebrated. Many of these groups can also post anonymously, allowing you to confidently ask tricky questions.  

For your nursery team to be on board with any changes that you make across your nursery, they must be kept in the loop about your vision and the goals you want to achieve. Of course, they do not have to be privy to all of the goals you are aiming for. But, understanding the why behind the process helps to give purpose to nursery initiatives.  

Review your goals regularly for accountability 

To ensure a goal does not stay as a pipedream, regularly review all progress towards the goals you set for your nursery throughout the year. You can stay accountable by regularly reviewing (each month or quarter) how close you are to achieving a goal.  

Set a date each month in your diary to review your goals, make any tweaks and changes to help continue the progress and celebrate the positive steps you have taken.  

How can Blossom Educational help? 

Blossom is one of the UK’s leading solutions for nursery software, having all the features needed for success in one place. Loved and recommended by nursery managers and owners, Blossom’s features help to ensure smooth sailing across the nursery and give complete visibility to managers – helping you to save time and money by managing your nursery effectively.  

Contact Blossom’s friendly customer support team for more information and to book a free demo of the nursery software.  

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