Farley Nursery School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Farley Nursery School's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Farley Nursery School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

farleynurseryschool.com

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | TINY TOES DAY NURSERY
Wraparound care
As a working mother, I know the
problem with quality childcare doesn’t
end with nursery age. Schools still
finish their day at half past three,
meaning there is an enormous
and growing demand for decent-
quality breakfast, afterschool and
holidayclubs.
We are expanding into this area of
care, as there is a definite lack of
good-quality, affordable provision.
Schools are often not interested in
getting involved with this, and many
parents are left stranded when their
children reach school age.
We appreciate and realise this need,
and we are building a dedicated space
to this end. We aim to offer support
to local families of working parents
with full childcare support until the
end of Key Stage 2. We are expected
to meet the needs of children – why
shouldn’t we try to meet the needs of
parents,too?
Quality staff
One of the biggest daily challenges we
face, along with every other nursery, is
that of recruiting and retaining top-
quality staff.
Nursery nursing is vocational, and it
is not a highly paid career for most.
I believe that it is crucial that at least
once a year our staff are celebrated
and recognised for the hard work and
dedication that they give every day to
caring for our children.
To this end, we provide a fabulous
Christmas celebration for them, all
expenses paid, which for the past two
years has been a weekend away in a
European city. Happy staff make for
a happy working environment, which
makes for happy children.
Attracting quality staff is so
fundamentally important. We offer
a financial incentive for attending an
interview, further incentives when
a job offer is accepted and finally a
significant reward for a successful
probation. We keep management
staff to a minimum – in this sector, it’s
always better to pay more for decent
staff. Our philosophy, as it should be
with every other nursery, is quality
overquantity.
The EYFS
promotes a
‘unique child’
approach, but
we like to
develop this
further into a
‘unique family’
approach
Nursery graduation
33FARLEY NURSERY SCHOOL |
EARLY YEARS EDUCATION
Sue and Gary Palmer
Enjoying our “big build”
With more than 30 years’ experience in the childcare
sector, Sue Palmer has experienced first-hand a
variety of changes in the way nurseries are run. After
taking over a Victorian school building, she opened Scandinavian-
inspired outdoor Farley Nursery. She tells
The Parliamentary
Review
about the importance of an inspirational team and how
that helped her to open the first yurt nursery in the country.
I have worked in the early years childcare sector for the last 30 years and have loved
almost every minute. Working with young children and their parents and helping to
enhance their lives has been an utter privilege. The fun I have when I am with my
enthusiastic team of inspirational nursery workers is positively joyous. Although I
wouldn’t swap this experience for anything, it actually happened bychance.
I worked as a preschool leader in a rural village for several years, the sort of hall
where everything has to be dragged out of a cupboard each day and stuffed back
in at the end, pretty exhausting. I decided that what I really wanted was to have my
own premises, somewhere we could have children’s artwork on display, a nature
table, watch tadpoles hatch, all these things which were impossible in a village hall
being used by so many other groups each day.
The beginnings of Farley Nursery School
I made an enquiry about the village primary school after learning it would be
closing at the end of the school year. It emerged that the premises would soon be
available to rent from the local diocese based on the most viable business plan. As
such, I set to work, trying to secure the school for myself.
FACTS ABOUT
FARLEY NURSERY SCHOOL
»Directors: Sue and Gary
Palmer
»Established in 2006
»Based in Wiltshire and
Hampshire
»Services: Nursery school
»No. of employees: 72
»A truly outdoor nursery –
whatever the weather
Farley Nursery School
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | FARLEY NURSERY SCHOOL
Having never completed a business
plan in my life before, I downloaded
a template, completed and submitted
it, with fingers crossed. To my utter
surprise, I was awarded a three-year
lease, starting in February 2006.
This old Victorian school was over 150
years old but had been left in a sorry
state for months, empty, cold and
boarded up. Despite this, my husband
and I had a great vision of what we
wanted to achieve. We wanted a
calm, welcoming place for children,
with comforting Scandinavian colours
and lots of natural materials. We also
wanted the nursery to be an outdoor
learning school.
Operating an outdoor nursery
We opened in 2006 with five children
registered. I often think back to those
five brave families who decided to
commit the care of their children
to an outdoor nursery, one with no
reputation at all. People phoned up,
asking what an outdoor nursery was.
I would explain that it was just the
same as an indoor, more traditional
nursery, except everything is done
outside. I decided on this because I
knew, from my teaching experience,
that children wanted to be outside, all
the time.
Back in 2006 the idea of an outdoor
nursery was reasonably new. There
was the renowned Chelsea Open Air
nursery, but nothing at all around us.
I remember Ofsted struggled with
the notion that all children would
be outside every day, even during
badweather.
The children duly came, and we
were lucky to enjoy a glorious spring
and summer that year, with news
spreading that the children at Farley
Climbing
Gardening
Back in 2006
the idea of an
outdoor
nursery was
reasonably
new
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | FARLEY NURSERY SCHOOL
Having never completed a business
plan in my life before, I downloaded
a template, completed and submitted
it, with fingers crossed. To my utter
surprise, I was awarded a three-year
lease, starting in February 2006.
This old Victorian school was over 150
years old but had been left in a sorry
state for months, empty, cold and
boarded up. Despite this, my husband
and I had a great vision of what we
wanted to achieve. We wanted a
calm, welcoming place for children,
with comforting Scandinavian colours
and lots of natural materials. We also
wanted the nursery to be an outdoor
learning school.
Operating an outdoor nursery
We opened in 2006 with five children
registered. I often think back to those
five brave families who decided to
commit the care of their children
to an outdoor nursery, one with no
reputation at all. People phoned up,
asking what an outdoor nursery was.
I would explain that it was just the
same as an indoor, more traditional
nursery, except everything is done
outside. I decided on this because I
knew, from my teaching experience,
that children wanted to be outside, all
the time.
Back in 2006 the idea of an outdoor
nursery was reasonably new. There
was the renowned Chelsea Open Air
nursery, but nothing at all around us.
I remember Ofsted struggled with
the notion that all children would
be outside every day, even during
badweather.
The children duly came, and we
were lucky to enjoy a glorious spring
and summer that year, with news
spreading that the children at Farley
Climbing
Gardening
Back in 2006
the idea of an
outdoor
nursery was
reasonably
new
35FARLEY NURSERY SCHOOL |
EARLY YEARS EDUCATION
were enjoying an almost idyllic nursery
experience. At this time, we admitted
children from the age of two, the usual
age then for preschool. Parents with
younger children wanted to enrol their
children, and we had a high demand
to take babies. Therefore, in 2007, we
opened the doors of our new baby
rooms, named Marigold and Merry
Grove after ancient coppices in the
nearby woods.
It was an immediate success and is
now one of the main differences
between us and many other outdoor
settings, as our tiny babies go outside,
just like their older playmates, for most
of the day. Our babies sleep outside
in huge, bouncy coach-built prams,
wrapped up warmly if the weather
is cold. Their cheeks are rosy, and
they sleep so soundly in the fresh
country air. On very hot summer days,
our older babies sleep under large
oak trees in hand-crafted wooden
coracles, cooled by the shade and the
gentlebreeze.
A few years after opening the first
Farley Nursery School, we were invited
by the local diocese to open another
nursery in a primary school which
had recently closed, so we opened
our second nursery school in the
Wiltshire village of Steeple Langford.
This works the same as our nursery in
Farley, with all children outside every
day, regardless of the weather. As in
Farley, we have around two acres of
wonderful outside space to enjoy, with
the added benefit of being very close
to a river. Subsequently, river days
have become a regular feature of our
school calendar.
The first yurt nursery in the
country
In 2014 we were thrilled to open
the first yurt nursery in the country,
in the village of Sparsholt, near
Winchester. Based in huge, hand-
crafted British yurts, the children are
free to experience nature and the
changing seasons. When winter draws
closer, each yurt is wrapped in a warm
layer of organic felt and has a heavy
winterproof cover attached, creating
a wonderfully warm and soothing
environment. In the spring, the whole
process is reversed, so the children
are able to predict the coming season
by literally feeling the change of
temperature on their bodies; there is
no central heating.
In the yurt nursery the children care
for their rooms and each other, by
collecting logs for the wood burners,
taking off their muddy boots in
the porch and by being especially
quiet when they are near the
sleepingbabies.
All our nurseries follow the basic
Scandinavian principle of teaching
children outside. We are out in the
fresh air all day, except for nappy
changing and eating, although picnics
are a regular occurrence during dry
days, preferably with cooking over
the firepit, with emphasis on organic
produce the children have grown
themselves in the vegetable gardens, in
which all children partake.
In 2014 we
were thrilled
to open the
first yurt
nursery in the
country
Just learning

farleynurseryschool.com

This article was sponsored by Farley Nursery School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development