Hartlepool nursery recognised as one of the most inclusive in the country in awards shortlist

A Hartlepool nursery has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 4:45 am

Footprints Learning for Life, in the town’s Tees Street, has been shortlisted for the Inclusive Practice award at the Nursery World Awards.

The annual awards celebrate best practice in the sector and the winners are selected by a panel of expert judges.

Footprints’ owner Sharon Birch has said that getting shortlisted was a much needed boost for staff and it took her by surprise.

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Sharon Birch (rear centre) with staff and pupils at the nursery.

She said: "We were up against big companies, big chains, with big budgets and we’re not.

"We’ve got humble beginnings and we always go the extra mile for our families and believe that every child to achieving their full potential.

"We’re just one little outfit trying to do our best.

“It’s just fabulous that our little corner of the North East can be recognised for all the hard work that we do.

"We’ve got excellent team of staff and they really work very hard.

"It’s so rewarding after all of the 18 months with Covid and everything. This is just the sort of thing that we needed to give them a boost.”

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The nursery, which was founded back in 2006, also works with children with additional needs and disabilities as well as kids from refugee families.

It employs 35 members of staff and there are currently 160 youngsters on its register.

Sharon, 55, from Seaton Carew said: “People sometimes think nurseries are just baby sitters but there is so much more to it than that.

“It’s about enriching their experiences and letting them believe that they can achieve themselves because a lot of it is about self belief and if you believe you can you will but if believe you can’t, you won’t.

“I think it’s about instilling in these children that yes, you can.”

The nursery is running up against Kids Planet Beamont, in Warrington, and Tiny Tree Day Nursery, in Leeds, for the Inclusive Practice award.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on September 25 in London.

Footprints has previously won a Nursery World Award back in 2010 for team development and has been rated Outstanding by education watchdog Ofsted.

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