At Tiptoes, we’ve built our business and our reputation on the quality of our staff. We believe this is what sets us apart. That’s why we insist that everyone who comes to work for us has a minimum of the Level 3 Childcare Diploma. Without this, they don’t even get an interview. Many of our staff are qualified to a higher level that this, with a healthy number of graduates among our ranks.
We make sure this is the case for a reason. It’s because it is not always possible for the same person to welcome your child each and every day. We know that’s the ideal scenario, because that’s what our parents tell us, but unfortunately, for a number of reasons, it simply isn’t practical.
Holiday and illness
Unsurprisingly, holiday and illness are the most common reasons why parents would be greeted by someone other than the carer they are used to in the morning. The latter we are particularly careful about, because no one wants to spread sickness throughout a nursery.
Unlike a lot of nursery workers, our staff get sick pay, meaning they’re not discriminated against for being ill, something we feel strongly about. And they get a minimum of 25 days holiday a year, despite an industry standard of 20, so sometimes it is inevitable that they are temporarily outside the business.
But there are a host of other reasons as well, and ones you probably would never think of, all of which have a bearing on who cares for your child on any given day.
As we’re keen to ensure all our staff are as qualified as they can be, they are encouraged to go on training courses to either learn new skills or refresh old ones. This often means they are out of the nursery for a day or two at a time. But we think that is worth it. Well trained staff are integral in the development of well adjusted, confident children. In the case of an emergency, they could be the difference between a happy ending and tragedy, which is why all of our staff are first aid trained – a policy that goes way beyond the industry requirements.
A lot of people decide to work at a nursery because they love children. It is a vocation. So, it will come as no surprise that many are equally keen to have children of their own. As a result, we tend to have proportionately higher numbers of people on maternity leave than other industries. Whereas this is fabulous news for the expectant mothers and fathers, and is always greeted with great joy at our nurseries, it does affect our staffing rotas.
Because we pride ourselves on the quality of the staff we employ, it goes without saying that not everyone we employ passes their probationary period. Prospective employees have to pass a rigorous interview – all of which are carried out by Helen and include a written test – to even get the chance of working with us, and they face equally tough challenges and scrutiny during their probationary period. If they don’t make the grade, there is a tough conversation to be had.
Sometimes this surprises parents because the person in question may well be friendly and welcoming, and appear to be a valuable member of the Tiptoes team. Whereas these qualities are important, far more important is how our staff engage with the children, and it is on this point that their career with us primarily depends.
Of course, as with all other places of work, there are a myriad of reasons why people are absent. Believe it or not, jury duty is another common factor in our staff being off. But family issues, cars breaking down, emergency visits to the doctors, and many more have all featured.
Recognising this issue is one of the driving factors behind ensuring our staff are so well trained. We know that we can’t ensure that every day, your child will be greeted by the same member of staff that they know well. But we can guarantee that the member of staff who does greet them will have passed our rigorous recruitment procedure, meaning your precious little ones will always be in the best possible hands.