The Story of Sandhills, Codsall

Our little building in the beautiful countryside of Codsall was originally a farm shop until it was taken over by a Nursery called ‘Little Oaks’ many years ago.

Fast forward to April 1st 2007 when Mr and Mrs Basra took over the business and Sandhills Day Nursery in Codsall was born, becoming the 3rd of our 5 branches to open.

They made many changes in those first few months – stripping all the rooms back (even knocking down walls!) in order to replenish them with new furniture, resources and amenities. Many of the staff thought it was all part of an elaborate April Fool’s joke!

Some of the unused rooms were converted into playrooms so that the children could move through them at a pace more suited to their needs and developmental stages.

Ofsted visited a year later when there were just 15 staff employed with around 70 children on roll. They rated us as ‘Good’ with outstanding features. We were thrilled to get this outcome in such a short space of time and after so many changes.

Moving forward 3 years later to 2011, where we employed around 30 members of staff and had around 120 children on roll. Again Ofsted came for their inspection and rated us as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas. We were delighted and so proud of all the hard work we had done. South Staffordshire council awarded us with the Early Years and Childcare award for our outstanding achievement.

The Manager (Jayne) left in 2012, leaving the Nursery in the capable hands of the Deputy Christina, who worked very hard in keeping Nursery going until we recruited our new Manager.

In June 2013 Debbie took over as Manager and immediately set about improving inside Nursery. Rooms were moved and redecorated and more resources bought for the children. Nappy changing stations were placed into the younger rooms and Mr Small’s cot area was extended, meaning the office had to be relocated to one of the smaller playrooms that was no longer in use.

In 2014 we changed the way we sent out correspondence to Parents; this was now done electronically via email, so that invoices, newsletters etc. were sent directly to parents and therefore it reduced our carbon footprint.

Debbie then set her sights on developing the large grass field that had little to no use other than for Sports Day. We spent lots of money designing, landscaping and organising just over an acre of land, and then raised lots more money in order to resource and equip the many different learning areas we had created. The finished “Outdoor Classroom” took around a year to complete, and was officially opened in June 2015 at our Summer Fayre. Then May 2015 saw our next Ofsted inspection where we were again praised and awarded the rating of “Outstanding”.

Moving forward, we continued to make changes that enhanced and improved upon our practice and the experiences our children have whilst here. In 2016 we moved from paper-based records to an online EyLog Learning Journey, meaning parents and carers can now access their child’s development at home whenever they wish, and have more input into their learning. We also started up our Facebook page so that parents and visitors can keep up to date with the happenings at Nursery and see some of the activities that we do.

Our plans for 2017 continue to grow – we are hoping to move towards a more child-centred approach to learning (Mr Messy’s Preschool Room have already implemented this style, with Little Miss Giggle’s Preschool Room about to follow suit) which so far has seen a vast improvement not only in the behaviour of the children, but also independence skills and problem solving skills and increased interactions between staff and children.

We are also striving to keep our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating, one that is increasingly hard to achieve but one that we are extremely proud of, especially as we are the only Nursery in Codsall and the surrounding area to have this grade.

We’d like to thank the many parents that have been with us over the years and supported the hard work of our staff each and every day. Many of them still keep in touch with us and it’s nice to see that they and their children have continued their friendships since leaving Sandhills.

We have also seen staff achieve many things over the years – university degrees, marriages and the birth of their own children. It has been lovely to be a part of these life events and welcome their children into Sandhills.

We look forward to the next 10 years and are excited about what the future holds for us!

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