Oakey Dokey Childcare

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Oakey Dokey Childcare'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 Oakey Dokey Childcare 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


Highlighting best practice
Owner and Manager
Outdoor exploration captivates
and engages young minds
Oakey Dokey Childcare is a family-run independent private
nursery based in Corby. Established in 2012, they have
developed and expanded their services rapidly. Located
in an area of extreme deprivation and with a vastly multicultural
intake, they take an adaptable and adjustable approach to
the delivery of provision, which is essential for supporting the
diverse working patterns of our parents and accommodating
the recent introduction of the 30-hour government-funded
childcare scheme. Founder and Manager Emma Serdet expands.
Formulating an encompassing early years environment comes with many
challenges. While celebrating diversity and valuing the uniqueness of each child is
central to success, so too is the ability to offer flexibility in delivering government-
funded childcare. Children and families are central to our ethos, and our teamwork
definitely makes the dream work.
Flexible delivery and valuing uniqueness
Seventy-six per cent of our cohort access nursery through government-funded
hours alone. At Oakey Dokey Childcare, we tailor our delivery of government-
funded hours to suit the working commitments of parents. Parents can access
their funded hours in the manner that suits them and their circumstances, within
our opening hours of 7am to 7pm, 50 weeks of the year. Logistically,thisseemed
daunting at first, but we have formulated our day around the needs of our parents,
ensuring that the children within our care are not charged unnecessary top-up fees
»Founder and Manager:
»Founder: Anthony Serdet
»Established in 2012
»Located in Corby,
»Services: All-day nursery for
children aged from 3 months
to 5 years
»No. of employees: 22
»Children on roll: 135
Oakey Dokey Childcare
for wraparound care. This enables
parents to budget and manage their
income around government funding.
Such flexibility has seen a vast uptake
of spaces, which is positive financial
news for our service.
Diversity and varied social backgrounds
are prevalent in the region in which we
are based. 18 per cent of our current
cohort are children with English as
an additional language, and seven
different native languages are spoken.
To support this, we have introduced
a number of multilingual resources
and have established helpful parent
sessions with multilingual story sessions
for all to enjoy.
Ten per cent of children in attendance
have special educational needs and/or
disabilities. The requirement to make
genuine adjustments is paramount and
our provision is constantly evolving
to serve the needs of the individual.
Planning learning for individual
children is far more beneficial than
having a standardised curriculum.
Children learn at different rates and in
different ways, so we weave learning
into children’s interests rather than
dictating learning objectives.
Bouncing back after difficulties
Just as we seek to teach children
to be resilient, as practitioners we
need to bounce back after adversity.
In 2017, the nursery underwent an
Ofsted inspection, being given an
“inadequate”. Such a judgment
severely damaged staff morale and
required us to reassess both our
quality of provision and our delivery
of practice. Perhaps complacency had
played a part to some extent, and a
period of focused reflection tookplace.
We put a comprehensive action
plan in place, which was designed
by senior management, and the
provision initiated extensive staff
retraining and a hardened approach
to practice. The implementation of
such a focused approach by all staff
led to our judgment being reversed
from “inadequate” to “good” within
just five months. The offering of new
and innovative training programmes to
our staff made a noticeable difference,
and from that day forward we have
supported all new staff in following a
plan of external and internal training to
mould them into effective, committed
and passionatepractitioners.
Enabling environments for our youngest children
support their growth and independence
Early letters and sounds
embed the concept of literacy
We put a
action plan in
place, which was
designed by
and the provision
extensive staff
retraining and a
approach to
Highlighting best practice
Formulating relationships
Our setting would be far less
vibrant and inclusive without strong
relationships with our families, and we
pride ourselves on building strong and
long-lasting relationships. We have
an open-door policy whereby parents
and carers can really contribute to
the setting. We offer a “time to talk”
session to parents and carers on a
monthly basis, where they can come in
and discuss any issues and celebrate the
learning achievements of theirchild.
This really allows us to develop a
holistic view of all the children in our
care. Staff and parents formulate
strong reciprocal relationships, and
this enhances the child’s learning
tremendously. Understanding your
children and their demographics
generates an environment of mutual
respect and belonging.
Our future
Like many nurseries, we will face a
number of changes within the sector
that will require us to remain focused
and adaptable. The implementation
of 30 hours of funding and the tax-
free childcare schemes have been
beneficial for many parents within our
setting. We forcefully advocate for
active communication with parents,
and we keep them regularly appraised
of certain issues, such as the eligibility
of funding. There have been issues in
relation to the 30-hours funding and
the rolling-out of the scheme, but it is
important to remember that all schemes
can be enhanced and fine-tuned.
The fluidity in obtaining funding for
parents could be better addressed.
Instead of having cut-off dates for
eligibility, we would like to see a system
that accommodates the changing
work situations of our parents. We
would like to see greater funding
for the early years sector, but our
success has always been based upon
going beyond the basic expectation
for each and every child within our
care. Our future is dependent upon
secure government funding, at a
rate reflective of increasing wages,
pension contributions and inflation.
A one-size-fits-all approach is not the
way we teach our children and we
hope the government will be just as
adaptable in their funding of the sector
in thefuture.
We have an
policy whereby
parents and
carers can
contribute to
the setting
Effective observations and
assessments of children’s progress
are directly linked to the planning
of activities for individuals and
groups of children to help them
progress well. The owner has
developed effective ways that
enable staff to reflect on their
practice, resulting in them being
responsive to children’s changing
needs and the identification
of well-targeted plans for the
future. The collaborative approach
between staff and parents
contributes to children’s feelings
of well-being and belonging in
the nursery.”
Physical development
encouraged through
fun and variety ensures
children have access to
regular exercise


This article was sponsored by Oakey Dokey Childcare. 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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister