Public voting awards

The winner for all three awards will be determined by the number of parent votes*, quality of parent comments and evidence you provide as part of your submission. Please note only one parent vote per child will be accepted.

Tell us in 1000 words or less why you should win by uploading your submission and supporting documents to our website. Encourage your parents to add a comment when voting explaining why they’ve voted, sharing specific examples of how you have helped their child. Parents/Carers must provide full names for their vote to count.

Nursery of the Year

Five regional, one national and one international nursery are awarded. (North of England, Central England, South of England, Scotland, Wales and Overseas)**.

One regional winner will go on to win NDNA Nursery of the Year 2019. Encourage your parents or carers to vote for you and your nursery.

All nursery finalists will be visited by one of our early years experts before the judging panel.

Map updated


  1. We award five regional, one national and one international winner for Nursery of the year. The UK regions are: North of England, Central England, South of England, Scotland and Wales. International is any country outside of the UK.
  2. The boundaries are indicated on the map and as follows:
    North of England (southern boundary) - South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and Lancashire
    Central England (northern/southern boundary) – Norfolk, Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Birmingham, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire, South Lincolnshire
    South of England (northern boundary) - Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex.



  • Type of provision – nursery, pre-school, forest school, childminder etc.
  • Number and age of children
  • Number and qualifications of staff
  • Most recent inspection rating (if applicable)
  • Details of any quality improvement scheme such as Quality Counts, Investors in People or Millie’s Mark
  • Leadership in your setting and how you substantiate it?
  • How you support successful parent partnerships
  • How you involve your children in the local community
  • How you involve the children, parents and carers and serve the local community
  • What impact you have had on the children and families at your setting
  • The Unique Selling Point (USP) of your setting
  • Your future plans
  • Why you should win a Nursery of the Year regional award.


Practitioner of the Year

Entries are open to anyone working in an early years setting whose typical environment is the nursery floor. This includes: Room Leader, Senior Nursery Nurse, Nursery Nurse, Nursery Assistant, Nursery practitioner etc. Entries must be nominated by a manager or colleague and evidence will need to be provided to support the nomination.

Do you have an outstanding member of staff who is passionate about caring for children and shows true dedication to quality? This award is voted for by parents with a supporting statement from the nursery manager.


  • How long has the practitioner been employed at the nursery?
  • What are the practitioner’s main responsibilities?
  • List the practitioner’s qualification and training including their level and future plans
  • Most importantly, why do you think the practitioner should win NDNA practitioner of the year and how have they made a difference. Tell us about the impact this member of staff has on: Your provision; Children and families; Their colleagues.

Healthy Nursery of the Year

Nurseries have a vital role to play in creating the pathways to a healthy life for the children in your care. Tell us when you register about your healthy eating policies, the outdoor activities you provide and how you work with parents to encourage healthy habits at home.



  • How does your nursery develop knowledge and attitudes towards healthy lifestyles
  • What physical or movement based activities do the children engage in and how often
  • An example activity schedule or other evidence would be helpful here to show how you ensure children meet the Chief Medical Officers recommended daily guidelines for physical activity.
  • How do you establish good practice in all areas including oral hygiene, outdoor play and mental well-being?
  • How do you support parents and families with good practice?
  • Example menu from your nursery which you have used in the last six months
  • Evidence that you meet food hygiene regulations – please upload your food hygiene certificate
  • How do you support health, wellbeing and physical activity where there may be barriers? e.g. religion, disability, physical space or other restrictions of your provision
  • Tell us about any initiatives you take part in to support healthy practices e.g. supporting parents understanding of physical/sedentary activities


Evidence only awards

Tell us in 1,000 words why you should win by uploading your submission. The finalists will be determined by the quality of the submission statement and portfolio of supporting evidence.


Innovative Practice Award (NEW)

This new award looks for examples of innovative practice in any aspect of early years. This may include but is not limited to: parent projects, partnerships, environmental initiatives, new or different ways of narrowing the gap for disadvantaged children, new techniques or activities for teaching numeracy or literacy.
As well as your 1000 word submission, upload evidence that illustrates the changes you have made including: photographs, written testimony, action plans, risk benefit assessments, testimonies from children/parents/staff, any local newspaper reports or awards from other organisations, eco-friendly considerations or reflections on the benefits of the initiative.


• Number and age of children
• Ofsted rating
• Details of innovative practice and the difference it has made to the children.

Supporting Staff Wellbeing Award (NEW)

This award looks for settings that have developed strategies for supporting and promoting staff well-being and you will need to show how you prioritise staff well-being in your setting, e.g. introducing initiatives such as lunch time walks, massage chairs, inspiration boards, well-being meetings, a free lunch meal, relaxation areas, flexible working, well-being surveys with action plans for change, links to local support organisations, team building days or activities and how they empower staff to look after their own wellbeing. 
Your supporting evidence could include photos, written details, witness testimonies from staff, awards or certificates from other organisations.


• Number and age of children
• Staff details
• Ofsted rating
• Tell us how you are supporting staff well-being


Team development award

This award celebrates those settings that invest in the development and motivation of all staff.


  • Explain the setting’s ethos around building and retaining a high quality team
  • What are the plans for staff development in the future?
  • What does the leadership team structure look like?
  • What are the settings’ practices for recruitment, induction and the pathways available for training and development?
  • What is your staff retention like?
  • How motivated are your team – what evidence do you have? (Include quotes from staff at different levels)
  • What progression opportunities are there in the setting?
  • What strategies do you use to provide team development opportunities other than external training and how is learning fed back into the setting/practice/shared with other colleagues?

Manager of the Year

Entries are open to anyone working in a day nursery that holds a managerial title and responsibility. This includes: Deputy Manager, General Manager, Nursery Manager, Nursery Director. Entries must be nominated by a colleague within the setting and evidence will need to be provided to support the nomination.
Do you have an outstanding manager who is passionate about childcare and supporting the staff/parents/colleagues/external professionals involved with your nursery? Please include staff comments and parents/external professionals testimonials in your submission.


  • Manager's full name
  • Job title (Manager or Director etc.)
  • How long has the manager been employed in their position at the nursery?
  • What are the manger’s main responsibilities?
  • How does the manager make a positive impact to your nursery, working environment, children and parents, developing high quality etc.
  • Innovative practice your manager has introduced
  • How does the manager inspire the staff team?
  • Most importantly, why do you think your manager should win NDNA manager of the year?

Nomination based awards

Any nomination can be uploaded onto the awards website or email your nominations and supporting information for these awards to NDNA: awards@ndna.org.uk

NDNA Outstanding Contribution Award

Nominations are open to individuals working in or on behalf of the early years sector.
This award is to highlight the work of individuals and groups and to thank them for their continued efforts and achievements. The award is open to anyone working in or with the nursery sector, including NDNA members and volunteers, local authority staff and the media. Nominate your Outstanding Contributor and say thank you!



  • Your name and job title or role in early years
  • Who are you nominating?
  • What sector do they work in? Early years, Local authority, Volunteer, Parent, Media, Network or group
  • Tell us how their work been shared more widely and positively impacted the good of the early years sector?


Outstanding Network

Entries are open to any NDNA Network and nominations may be made by any member(s) of that network. NDNA networks are rapidly expanding across the UK. If you’re part of an NDNA network that makes a positive contribution to progress within the nursery sector then nominate your network group now! Nominations should be emailed to awards@ndna.org.uk.



  • Your name and job title / role
  • The NDNA network you wish to nominate/your position (chair / member, if applicable)
  • How has the network made a difference to local providers including representation to local authorities etc.? Please focus on challenges and successes.


It's getting exciting

The voting has now closed for this year's awards. Thank you to all the nurseries that registered and the parents, carers, families and friends who voted.

We look forward to welcoming the shortlisted nurseries to our prestigious award ceremony on 28 JUNE 2019.

Award cermony details

Supported by

TTS and Consortium Logo
Christie & Co Logo
Citation Logo
Morgan La Roche Logo
Pound Gates Logo
Spark Logo


National Day Nurseries Association
National Early Years Enterprise Centre
Longbow Close

www.ndna.org.uk awards@ndna.org.uk 01484 407070