Looking back on 2020 and ahead to a better 2021!

Posted 15th December, 2020
Penny Hustwick, director of the four Ofsted Outstanding nursery settings in Telford.

Looking back on 2020 and ahead to a better 2021!

It’s been a year none of us will forget. Lives have been changed and, tragically, far too many have been lost but as we look back on 2020 and ahead to 2021 there is a renewed hope that things will be getting better soon and life will return to normal – maybe a little different but better.

We welcomed 2020 with all of us looking forward to the year ahead. We had holidays booked, invites to eagerly anticipated parties, weddings and christenings along with other notable milestones to celebrate.

Then Covid-19 came and our lives were turned upside down, but we want to remember the highlights of 2020 – there really have been some, honestly!

Going into the unknown

It seems a long time since March when we all listened as Boris Johnson told us we were going into lockdown. It was a big step into the unknown. We had no idea exactly what it would mean, how it would impact our lives or how long it would last.

We would all be lying if we said we weren’t panicked, scared and worried for our families, jobs and businesses. However, we were extremely proud to keep the doors of three of our ABC Day Nursery settings in Telford open to support our amazing key workers. Our children and families from Hollinswood didn’t miss out, they came to join us at Lightmoor.

One of the real positives to come out of lockdown was the extraordinary efforts and commitment of key workers – the incredible lengths they went to in order to help the communities they served, keeping essential services going despite the risks to their own health.

We will remain forever proud that we provided the essential childcare which meant doctors, nurses, delivery drivers, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, pharmacists, retail workers, teachers and care workers were free to go to work.

Our ABC team really stepped up – working so hard to ensure our children were kept safe. I am extremely proud of Team ABC for going above and beyond during this time. We tried to keep things as normal as possible for the children who once again proved an inspiration to us all.

An Outstanding time!

In the same month we started lockdown there was a ray of sunshine – ABC Hadley’s Ofsted Outstanding report was published. It was the perfect time to reward our brilliant staff for the work they do each and every day for you and your children.

An Outstanding rating is nothing new for ABC Day Nursery but is something we never take for granted and we are always focused on ensuring we maintain the extremely high standards such a distinction demands.

It was another wonderful achievement with the inspector saying: “The curriculum offers an extensive range of awe-inspiring learning opportunities that keep children highly engaged and motivated to learn . . . staff use extremely successful strategies, including high quality positive role modelling, to promote children’s excellent behaviour. Children are extremely confident, behave remarkably well and show a high regard for one another.”

It was an excellent result and another to be proud of but the rollercoaster of emotions continued when the Government then made a U-turn on the Furlough Scheme for the wonderful staff in nursery provision. It meant access to the scheme was massively reduced for the private childcare sector – leaving nursery owners devastated and fearing for their future.

Private childcare providers could only furlough employees if they met specific conditions, meaning those nursery providers who remained open for key worker children as instructed by the Government were at risk of closure.

But we remained open and I spent many a late night studying Government updates – which always seemed to come late on a Friday night! More difficult times but the smiles we saw daily kept us going as we pressed ahead in a bid to weather the storm.

More good news

Then the sun came out again as our amazing ABC Hollinswood setting was rated Outstanding by Ofsted. Another tremendous result which once again lifted spirits, with inspectors praising “inspirational leadership” with “all children making outstanding progress”, and saying: “Children gain a wealth of excellent skills that prepare them exceptionally well for the next stage of their learning and school.”

Throughout lockdown . . . and in the days and weeks that followed we consoled parents and grandparents who feared for their jobs and didn’t know which way to turn, others who felt guilty for dropping their children at nursery so they could continue working on the frontline, knowing they were at risk, and those who had unwell family members.

More children returned to us as restrictions eased and life at ABC began feeling a little more like normal – but with the extremely important measures in place to ensure our children and staff could remain safe.

We bid a fond farewell to many of our pre-schoolers following their graduation, but not in the way we would normally mark the occasion – we wish them well for the future. We have also been able to continue providing the highest standard of care for our children who have remained happy and inspirational throughout. They really are a delight to work with!

So the summer was gone and autumn came and our children loved talking, touching and playing in the leaves. The great outdoors offers such an escape for us all – what a positive to come out of Covid – families enjoying the wonderful surroundings of our area – many areas they had not experienced before.

It has been a journey and a journey we continue on but our four settings are still welcoming those beautiful faces each and every day and our parents and carers are absolutely fantastic as always.

We have missed our families not being able to come into our daycare settings but, as we turn our attentions to 2021, encouraging news on vaccines means we all now have something positive to focus on – and one thing’s certain, ABC Day Nursery will continue to deliver the best daycare provision for your children!

Three massive thank yous (in no particular order!):

Thank you to our ABC children
Thank you to our ABC parents
And Thank you to our ABC army of wonderful staff.

I wish you all a happy Christmas and a far better 2021!

Love Penny xxx