What it's like to work here
Our People: Their Stories
Working at the Old School House is quite an adventure. It provides you with a well-resourced environment, brilliant variety and great opportunities. As an employer, we ensure that you have clear training and development pathways so that you can achieve whatever you want in our industry. More than that, we care on an individual basis, and look to make sure that work is a source of happiness and part of a healthy work-life balance.
Take a look at our staff’s stories below. Some of them have been with us for years, gaining promotions and learning new skills, whilst some are just beginning their journey.
Having studied for her A Levels before joining the first staff team at the Old School House, Lisa has worked her way from Nursery Nurse Assistant to being the rock of the nursery, managing the wonderful staff we have and with responsibility for the day-to-day running of the nursery in her role as Manager.
Lisa has undertaken a range of different qualifications, supported by the OSHN, and is now qualified as an Early Years Teacher. She is both a trainer and assessor for other trainee nursery nurses.
Lisa says: I love watching both children and staff grow. I enjoy working with the parents too. Having worked here for so long, the fact that we have so many different projects, and are always looking for new and fresh ideas is what makes work fun. It is challenging keeping up to date with sector developments, but as we are often at the forefront of them it is a little easier!
Lisa’s peers describe her as enthusiastic and motivated. They also said that she is reflective, and constantly looking to develop new ideas to improve the team and to give children excellent learning experiences.
Her story shows exactly what can be achieved through hard work, and her success shows just what our industry can offer to caring, committed staff. Moving forward, she is excited to develop further in terms of her training role.
Having studied for her NNEB at West Suffolk College, Gemma joined the Old School House as a Nursery Nurse, before swiftly becoming a Team Leader and for the last twelve years, Deputy Manager.
Having completed a range of qualifications, Gemma has now achieved her level 5 Diploma in Leadership in Children and Young People’s Workforce. This role has seen her undertake qualifications to become a staff trainer, assessor and internal verifier.
Gemma has also trained as a Forest School Practitioner and PANCo (Physical and Nutritional Coordinator), and now leads the team providing guidance, support and consistent healthy living messages, to help staff, children and families to achieve the most positive health and wellbeing outcomes.
Gemma says: We’re always busy! It certainly keeps you on your toes and I love the fact that no one-day is ever the same. I’ve love working here in such a supportive atmosphere. Its a very happy place be.
Gemma is described as calm-headed and a brilliant problem solver, something which often comes in handy in a nursery environment. As a natural in her management role, there are a variety of things Gemma can move on to do, but her current focus is on the job in hand.
Having studied at Long Road, Cambridge and having worked at Addenbrookes on Sarah Ward, Ella was a perfect fit for the nursery. She has quickly risen to Team Leader in the School Room, and is already looking forward to undertaking her assessor qualifications. At such a young age, Ella shows how quickly you can develop your career path at the OSHDN.
The best part of the job is how entertaining the children can be. It makes you so proud when parents tell you what a good job you’ve been doing too. Lisa, Gemma and Linda certainly encourage and support you to learn new skills too, which is great.
Having undertaken her qualifications, Ella has gone on to learn a variety of different skills, including sign language, forest school teaching and children’s yoga
She is keen to develop her role as an assessor working with the training team to support staff learning. Ella’s a great example of what you can do with hard work and the right support.
College wasn’t for Emma, something that she was quick to establish, and joined the Old School House as a modern apprentice. Now, she is a Level 3 qualified nursery nurse, and as Team Leader of the Baby Room is an invaluable member of the team.
Emma says: Working with the children is a joy and something I’m passionate about. I really enjoy caring for the children on a one-to-one basis, and the role has made me grow in confidence and mature as a person. I’m really looking forward to becoming a qualified mentor so that I can fully support my team.
Emma is a classic example of the apprenticeship schemes providing brilliant employees.
Having completed her A Levels, Nicole realised that the traditional university path wasn’t the way in which she wanted to go, and the Old School House are the lucky beneficiaries of that decision!
Having worked at a pre-school whilst undertaking her A Levels, Nicole clearly had a passion for working with children, something which she exudes on a day-to-day basis.
She has completed her CYPW Level 3 qualification, and is moving on to further qualifications already.
Nicole says: The best part of the job is working with the children and helping and supporting them grow into young people; the worst part is leaving them! The management team are really good in helping with your workload whilst you’re studying, and are always there to offer advice.
Nicole hopes that she can move into supervisory roles in the near future, but wants to make sure that her role continues to be hands-on!
As all families know, the kitchen is the most important room, and Eileen is our chef extraordinaire. Having run her own café prior to joining the Old School House, she is a brilliant example of someone who works away from frontline childcare, but fully embraces our culture and ethos.
Eileen was instrumental in the nursery achieving the coveted Children’s Food Trust Award, working alongside the dietician ensuring that the nutritional requirements were met.
Eileen says: The team does such a great job with the children, and I’m just here to help them with that. The children are so open to trying things, and that allows me to give them healthy and tasty meals and know that they will eat the food. I like to change the menu regularly to keep things fresh, but make sure that the children on a daily basis are having a balanced meal plan.
We pride ourselves at the Old School House on looking at the full spectrum of wellbeing, and Eileen is integral to that.
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