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How to effectively plan CPD in your nursery: examples of outstanding CPD journeys

12 min of reading
27 May 2022

There is a changing dynamic of children entering nurseries, with growing expectations from external agencies and making every effort to recover post-pandemic. With so many challenges, it can be difficult to keep Continuous Professional Development (CPD) at the top of agendas. However, continually striving for improvement and growth can often be the mark of an outstanding nursery. In this article, we collate all the statutory requirements for training in the Early Years, highlight the most effective cycle of CPD preparations to get the most out of your training, and explore examples of effective CPD planning in settings similar to your own.

What to find on this article:

    What training is statutory in the Early Years?

    There are few specific restrictions on the training chosen by nursery managers or owners for their staff; however, training is necessary to meet the statutory minimum requirements set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework

    Minimum qualification requirements for EYFS

    There are minimum qualification requirements for nursery staff to be included in the ratio. With recent changes enforced for those holding Early Years focused undergraduate degrees without assessed placement time, it is worth checking your current team’s qualifications against the criteria. For childminders, there are training requirements that must be satisfied before the setting can be Ofsted registered or registered with a childminding agency.

    Safeguarding training requirements for EYFS

    There may be additional advice from the Local Authority or Local Safeguarding Partners to consider when checking your setting and that practitioners are within statutory training requirements. The lead practitioner (or childminder) must attend a child protection course to ensure they are competent and confident to maintain excellent child safety standards.

    As a nursery manager or owner, you must prove that all of your staff receive regular safeguarding training focusing on their understanding of your safeguarding policy and procedures. In addition to ensuring that staff are provided with up to date knowledge on potential issues. Your professional judgement is encouraged when choosing suitable training providers or methods. It is recommended all staff are familiar with the Keeping Children Safe in Education document (part 1), which is statutory for schools and good practice in the Early Years.

    Induction training requirements for Early Years

    Induction training involves any staff new to the setting, including apprentices. As managers or owners, you are responsible for ensuring the new team members engage with digestible information about emergency evacuation procedures, safeguarding (including child protection), as well as health and safety procedures, and best practices. The most effective way is via ‘practice scenarios’.

    First Aid training requirements in nurseries

    It is a statutory requirement for at least one person who has a current Paediatric First Aid (PFA) qualification to be on the premises and readily available at all times. This also extends to outings off-site. The training must last 12 hours to satisfy statutory requirements and be refreshed every three years. In addition, new staff members (Level 2 or 3) who qualified post-2016 must complete a PFA qualification within three months of beginning at your nursery. Emergency First Aid certification will also satisfy this.

    Health and Safety requirements in the Early Years

    For all staff preparing and handling food, including snacks, in group provision, there is a statutory requirement that they attend training in good food hygiene. You can find more information for your local area by contacting your local Environmental Health Department. 

    Where staff administer medication, including insulin, they must have received suitable training where they may need technical knowledge. It is also necessary that the use of medication and administration is included in the information accessible on your online communication platform and risk assessments. In addition, for the care and support of children under the age of 2, the statutory requirement is for half of all staff to be trained to care for babies specifically.

    What are the benefits of CPD in the Early Years?

    It is vital to stay up to date with changes in the educational field: strategies with evidence-based success, potential changes to family income support that may affect your children, and changes with global childcare issues such as refugees. Nurseries who plan and execute purposeful CPD journeys for their staff use the Ofsted 3 I’s as underpinning guidance.




    CPD is often successful when maximum effort and an open mind are applied like reflective practice mindsets.

    Benefits for staff:

    Benefits for managers and owners:

    How to effectively plan your nursery’s CPD journey (the 3 I’s)

    Planning and delivering a compelling CPD journey for your setting is more than booking a reputable provider’s latest online training session. Ideally, your CPD journey will cover three years, looking ahead at the changing dynamics of need for the children and families you support, and the potential movement of staff. Your journey should have aspirational aims, encompassing staff knowledge, parental support, and reflecting educational focuses; (phonics development, reading and SEND support).

    Our cycle of CPD incorporates the Ofsted 3I’s whilst giving room for personalisation for your setting.

    Identify the needs of your setting in line with the national picture

    Audit your previous CPD experiences; where has there been a significant success, and why?

    Know your intended aims and outcomes (3 I’s)

    Plan and research the type of CPD suitable to meet the needs

    Implement the training (online, in-person)

    Review the immediate impact of the training on knowledge and skill progression

    Apply across the team (staff meetings)

    Regularly review the impact on children’s outcomes

    Examples of outstanding CPD journeys in the Early Years

    SEND focus CPD example

    Nursery A has a higher than average percentage of SEND children, with an increase of pupils attending with EHCP (or in the process of) for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There has been an increase in incidents of challenging behaviour and an increase in parental communications regarding eating reluctance in the home. Two staff members have joined the team, completing their Level 2 and 3 apprenticeships. One apprentice shows an interest in SEND support.

    The manager recognises that not all CPD training must be paid for courses; there is a wealth of knowledge available in the setting, and a neighbouring nursery with supportive links is developed. The challenging behaviour has been monitored on the online system; the new staff members are given the opportunity to use their 20% training hours to familiarise themselves with the platform with a team member’s support. During the apprentices’ regular mentor meetings, the apprentice interested in SEND is encouraged to think about completing the SEND Specialist Apprenticeship and given support for this. The manager chooses the following CPD opportunities:

    Discusses with a local SEND only nursery the opportunity for one of their staff members to visit and observe sensory play activities.

    During the next team meeting, the focus is on inclusive practice and how the nursery can be more consistent with its approach.

    A team member is booked onto an evidence-based training course for challenging behaviour; it is a free online course that the team member will need to be covered to attend.

    The team member who attends the course leads the next team meeting to share her experience with the other staff.

    During a curriculum development meeting, the team discussed how food could be introduced in relation to messy, sensory play, and senses.

    Speech and Language CPD example

    Nursery B is in a low socio-economic area, with high levels of deprivation and poverty. The majority of their children enter the setting significantly below age-related expectations for speech and language. The setting is aware that few children are read to at home. A new team member is quite timid, showing limited interactions with the children.

    The manager highlights the new team members as needing support from a supportive other. They speak to the team member and ask about their understanding surrounding back and forth interactions and their importance. They find the team member has limited knowledge of this and is keen to develop further. Using the online communication platform, the team pushes communication with parents over books that they are reading, and they simultaneously offer the opportunity to lend a book for a week. The manager decides on the following CPD opportunities:

    An evidence-based training course on the importance of talk in the early years.

    Includes the new team member in a ‘talking learning walk’ to highlight good practice.

    Discuss as a team during the next team meeting the reading choices that are used in the current curriculum, and undertake a reading audit on these books.

    Using the strong links the nursery has with a local feeder primary school, they organise for a team member to observe one afternoon how to identify the levels of communication needed for a primary school’s success.

    Plans and organises talking breakfasts, where reading and discussion are encouraged with families and their children.

    CPD is personal to your setting; it can consider the needs of your staff, children and families.

    Share this article with your room leaders at your next team meeting to audit your CPD plans.
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