Sector returns to celebrate achievements in annual nursery awards!

Staff and practitioners made a triumphant return to NDNA’s annual awards to celebrate their achievements in glitzy ceremony at the Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilworth.

NDNA’s annual conference returned during the day, bringing members and sector experts together before finalists and their families gathered in anticipation at the awards dinner.

The biggest award of the night, the Nursery of the Year Award, was given to the North of England Nursery of the Year winners, Monkton Nursery School, Liverpool, who were beyond thrilled to receive the top prize. They also won the gong for Healthy Nursery of the Year.

Pear Tree Nursery in Haddington was named Nursery of the Year Scotland and Gogerddan Childcare in Cardiganshire won the top prize in Wales. The two other regional Nursery of the Year awards in England were scooped by Little Lodge Nursery, Worcester in Central England and Nannie Annies Day Care, London in the South.

In recognition of their work in their settings, Sarah Southall from Kidzrus, Manchester, and Rosemary McNamara of Little Lodge Nursery, won the Practitioner of the Year 2022 Award and Manager of the Year Award respectively.

The night also gave the chance to recognise the longstanding commitment to the sector of NDNA’s previous Chair of Trustees, Sarah Carr OBE. She received the NDNA Outstanding Contribution Award for her commitment to excellence in early years and her national work supporting the sector.

Glamorous celebrity guest host Jenny Powell delighted the crowd as she gave out all the night’s awards.

She enjoyed playing host at the awards, telling the room: “It’s so lovely to see the elation in everybody’s faces – thanks for letting me be a part of it.”

Dr Sue Poole of Monkton Nursery School, said: “Receiving our awards for “National Nursery of the Year” and also “Healthy Nursery of the Year” has given the practitioners at Monkton Nursery the most tremendous boost to their self-esteem, and rewarded them for their years of professionalism and expertise. They already take great pride in their work every day, but I feel they will do it now with an even broader smile, knowing they have been nationally recognised for all their contributions.

“I have always been proud of Monkton, which I opened 42 years ago in order to create the perfect nursery environment for Eve when she was a baby! I didn’t think it would still be running 42 years later.  It has been full to capacity since its inception, which is due to the “team” working together and bringing happiness to the children whilst they are learning. Our parents have sent messages, cards, champagne and popped in to congratulate us all.  They are as delighted as we are.”

Emma Healy, managing director of Gogerddan Childcare near Aberystwyth said: “I would just like to say how PROUD we are to be recognised as winners of the Nursery of the Year Wales 2022. This is such a big achievement for our little nursery in mid Wales. The staff team work so hard, more often above and beyond their job roles to provide the best care, experiences and education for the children at our nursery setting and out of school club.

“We are continuously reflecting on our practice and our plans are always ambitious, therefore I am lucky to have such a dedicated, creative and forward-thinking staff team who work together to achieve a lot.

“Gogerddan Childcare is a home from home for so many of us and this award really recognises the whole staff team for all their fantastic work. Diolch yn fawr.”

Charlotte Goode, Nursery Manager of Pear Tree Nursery, said: “We have been open just over two years and are very proud and privileged to receive the award for Scottish Nursery of the Year 2022. The staff team are an extremely hard-working team who put everything into the care and development of the children. Our families have been a brilliant support to us since opening and we thank them greatly for their votes and feedback that helped us to win the award. The award means so much to the nursery and we are so grateful for the accolade.”

NDNA received almost 5,000 votes from parents for these awards.

Practitioner of the Year Sarah Southall collected her award and said later: “It felt amazing to achieve this award and it feels so uplifting not only to have this achievement but to have the recognition of what I love and do on a daily basis to be recognised.

“It means a lot for the nursery as it shows that we have a highly skilled and motivated practitioner who the children adore and this shows the very effective partnerships that we share with parents.

“It also means a lot for the children as it shows the positive relationships and strong bonds that I have with the children in my care.”

NDNA’s Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE, celebrated alongside the winners and said: “It was wonderful for us all to be able to come together again and celebrate everything that makes our sector so amazing.

“Congratulations to all of our winners and finalists and thank you to all the passionate parents and carers who voted. Seeing all the smiles from everyone today as we revel in all the fantastic work that our members do, it emphasises why this night is the highlight of our year. From our conference in the day, to rewarding all the finalists in the evening, it was truly memorable.

“The judges had a very tough job choosing the winners and the quality of the entries were exceptional. It makes us so proud to see and hear about all quality provision that you are all providing despite the constant challenges we are facing. We could not ask for a better workforce to support, care and guide our youngest children.”

Another winner Matthew Byrne, Grand Wizard (Director) of Crafty Wizards said: “We are spell-bound to have won this national award for ‘Play & Learning – Supporting Children with SEND’ from NDNA. The process was rigorous, paperwork, evidence, team meetings and an interview!

“We are delighted to win this award, particularly as it marks the end of our ten year Crafty Wizards Pre-School anniversary! It truly means a lot to be recognised for the hard work that we all put in at Crafty Wizards to ensure that each perfectly unique child has the best possible learning environment where they feel safe, happy and inspired. The last few years have been challenging for all but it reminds us that the only constant in life is change and we must continually reflect, adapt, and always strive to find a way to bring a bit of sparkle into early years! Thank you to our wand-erful team across all our sites, parents, carers, community and partnerships. There is no magic without you all!”

Amy Alderson, Director of Early Years Audit and Training at Tops Day Nurseries said: “I am incredibly proud of this award as it represents the hard work and dedication from both the Tops training team and those colleagues that engage with our outstanding training programmes.

“Tops Day Nurseries has always been an advocate of staff training and development, recognising that investment in our teams is the best way to raise the quality and skill of the company’s workforce. To gain this recognition through this prestigious award is certainly something to celebrate and I am incredibly grateful to everybody that has contributed to our huge success.”

Headline sponsors for the event were TTS and Consortium. Blossom Educational sponsored the wine.

Here is a full list of the award winners:

  • Nursery of the Year (sponsored by TTS and Consortium) – Winner: Monkton Nursery School
  • North of England Nursery of the Year (sponsored by TTS and Consortium) – Winner: Monkton Nursery School
  • South of England Nursery of the Year (sponsored by TTS and Consortium) – Winner: Nannie Annies Day Care
  • Central England Nursery of the Year (sponsored by TTS and Consortium) – Winner: Little Lodge Nursery
  • Scotland Nursery of the Year (sponsored by TTS and Consortium) – Winner: Pear Tree Nursery
  • Wales Nursery of the Year (sponsored by TTS and Consortium) – Winner: Gogerddan Childcare Ltd
  • Practitioner of the Year 2022 (sponsored by Morgan LaRoche) – Winner: Kidzrus The Lodge – Sarah Southall
  • Healthy Nursery of the Year 2022 (sponsored by Pebble) – Winner: Monkton Nursery School
  • Manager of the Year 2022 (sponsored by Citation) – Winner: Rosemary McNamara – Little Lodge Nursery
  • Creative Use of Technology (sponsored by Blossom Educational) – Winner: Queens Nursery
  • Supporting Staff Well-being (sponsored by Christie & Co) – Winner: Honey Pot Nursery Wavertree
  • Play & Learning – Supporting Children with SEND – Winner: Crafty Wizards World Preschool
  • NDNA Outstanding Contribution award – Winner: Sarah Carr OBE
  • Nursery Training & Development 2022 – Winner Tops Day Nurseries: Prince Rock
  • Network of the Year 2022 – Winner 1: Sheffield; Winner 2: Carlisle and Eden

Find out more at

  • England
  • Scotland
  • UK
  • Wales
  • Awards

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