Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the Early Years and childcare is an important part of making sure your children and their families get the best possible care. Creating a bespoke Early Years CPD plan for your staff can save you costs in the long term as well as inject enthusiasm and motivation into your EYFS team. In this article, we unpick what CPD nurseries should do, and how much to spend. Plus share 4 simple steps to creating your own CPD calendar for the nursery (with a free downloadable CPD calendar for your setting).
What is the statutory requirement for CPD training in the Early years?
There are statutory qualifications your Level 2 and Level 3 Early Years practitioners must have completed. There is no set checklist of Early Years CPD courses you and your team must complete. It should be tailored to meet the needs of your practitioners and families who attend your childcare provision. Section 3.20 of the Early Years Statutory Framework explains: “Providers must support staff to undertake appropriate training and professional development opportunities to ensure they offer quality learning and development experiences for children that continually improves.” EYFS Framework, 2021.
What does Ofsted say about CPD in Early Years and childcare?
The Early Years Inspection Handbook highlights Ofsted’s expectation of CPD training in childcare. However, there is no set checklist of courses for Early Years practitioners to follow. Ofsted will talk to nursery managers and owners about how the information in EYFS statutory policies links directly to staff training.
For example, if in your curriculum policy your design incorporates the Curiosity Approach, there should be evidence to show your exploration of this in staff meetings or attendance of formal training to be able to implement the policy effectively.
You should plan CPD in your nursery to marry seamlessly with the key priorities, focusing on what the whole team needs to develop as well as individual focuses.
Benefits of training and professional development in the Early Years
There are countless benefits to organising quality Early Years CPD for your nursery team- it is an investment where everyone wins. The staff will have fresh motivation and enthusiasm whilst learning the most up-to-date information and training. Pupils are most likely to progress more because of expert practitioners. And parents will reap the benefits from your staff’s increased confidence, and sharing of good practice.
By offering your nursery team in-person or online CPD courses, a future career interest may be sparked, impacting their consideration to apply for DfE-funded training courses (like Early Years SENDCo or Level 3 practitioner). You can help to make your future recruitment process easier by ensuring your current staff are suitably trained, making it easier to recruit and keep practitioners by training those you have on rota already.
How much should you spend on CPD in the Early Years?
There is no set suggested budget for Early Years CPD training, depending on the type of setting you are in (private or maintained nursery) will determine who has control of your budget. Schools spend around 3% of their budget on training each year, an interesting task could be to calculate your total spending in comparison.
It’s important to remember that CPD doesn’t have to be expensive! There are ways to save money and keep the costs down for EYFS training, whilst receiving high-quality CPD:
Plan your bespoke Early Years CPD calendar in 4 steps
1. What CPD does my setting need? Target your needs
The first step is to target the needs of your Early Years setting. There are several documents you can use to help you determine your setting’s professional development priorities:
It is important to tailor your CPD calendar to the needs of your staff, children and their families. Your setting’s CPD plan should not be identical to any other nursery. A top tip for planning ahead for the academic year may be to evaluate the trends of incidents in your nursery to spot possible gaps in staff knowledge.
For example, you may find that toddlers have been experiencing an increased number of friendship conflict incidents; monitor your practitioners’ understanding and confidence in developing and maintaining peer relationships. A staff meeting that uses real-life scenarios of reflective practice as a problem-solving activity can be a valuable and inexpensive CPD focus for your team.
2. Which type of CPD in childcare is best? Choose your training
Potential staffing changes (a team member moving location, retiring or upcoming paternity or maternity leave) can be prepared for in advance by training up one or several others. Once you have highlighted your nursery’s CPD priorities, you will then source the type of CPD training necessary to achieve this. There are many ways to help your nursery team to professionally develop, they don’t always come in the form of online or in-person practitioners. This will help to reduce the skill void experienced when they leave. By using your Blossom staff profile, you can easily see the qualifications each staff member has, recognising the breadth of skills (or lack of) across the whole of your nursery team.
There is no best method of professional development, it depends on the type of learning and learner you are organising the training for.
For example, if you were sourcing training for diabetes in toddlers for one or more staff members, in-person or online sessions provide the opportunities for your staff to ask valuable questions in real-time. Making it more beneficial than reading an article.
What is CPD in childcare?
There is a whole list of activities that constitute CPD in the Early Years:
When staff engage with short, online courses they may stay within the nursery building but be off ratio for that morning. Using Blossom’s occupancy tracker, you can monitor ratio levels quickly, checking you aren’t over or understaffed at any time when staff are completing training.
3. How to involve my practitioners in the training process? Consult your team
During your staff appraisals and performance management, ask about their aspirations and interests for their career. They may have an interest in SEND, leadership, or parent support, for example. You can help to grow and foster these interests by investing in training. Look ahead by monitoring your occupancy capacity, this will help you to see the potential to hire more staff and identify the training gaps for the new staff.
Your staff, new and established, can tell you where they feel they would benefit from more training during regular check-ins. You must ensure you establish a safe and supportive working environment where your staff feel confident to highlight areas of development for their own practice without concern for questions surrounding their professional ability.
There should be key soft skills each of your team members display every day. This can be a starting point for an individual’s CPD journey. Your baby room may have a child due to join your nursery and on their online child profile, the parent has highlighted they can be extremely anxious having experienced early trauma. Using this vital information, you can pre-empt the training your team may need and source some expert advice on trauma-informed EYFS approaches.
4. How to know if CPD is impactful? Monitor training and impact
Sending a practitioner on a day-long course accrues the cost of the training, the staff member’s day wage as well as covering their responsibilities at the nursery. Therefore, the training needs to be impactful. Conduct thorough research before choosing any paid CPD courses. Word of mouth from a trusted local nursery can also be a great reassurance.
Create the post-training routine of the team member who has attended the session, and invite them to share a summary of the course at your next staff meeting. You should know the priority you are targeting before you book the course (e.g. to support the new child with significant past trauma). Therefore your impact will be in the post-training success you find at your nursery. Evaluate the impact the training has had on daily nursery life.
Make your own Early Years CPD calendar for your nursery setting
Having a CPD calendar is useful for planning to cover leave, target appraisal or performance management meetings, and direct your apprentices or newer staff to additional learning. Download our Early Years CPD calendar template with suggested areas of focus for the academic year to keep your nursery team up-to-date and motivated.