You asked, we listened: Recognising Early Years Teams

Do you work with fantastic early years practitioners? Our judges want to hear from you!

We’re excited to announce a brand-new category for our awards this year: The Early Years Team of the Year Award.

The early years of a child’s life have a lifelong impact on their learning, development and achievements. And research indicates that good quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) has a positive effect on children’s educational cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes. It can also raise attainment and close the gap for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

So, it’s about time we recognised all the hard work that goes on in early years settings with an award category to celebrate these staff.

Here at the Pearson National Teaching Awards, we listen to feedback. You told us you wanted to see a dedicated category to recognise the efforts of staff who work in early years. So, we listened.


Who is the Early Years Team of the Year Award for?

Winning an Early Years Team of the Year Award benefits not only those who work in early years, it raises the profile of the entire setting. Kids and their parents and carers are proud that their school, pre-school, or nursery is an award winner.

The buzz around the time of the awards – especially for Gold and Silver Winners – is like nothing else. Previous winners of awards in all categories have told us how much of a boost an award like this gives to the whole staff team, the pupils and the surrounding community.

Sponsored by the Department for Education, our new category for early years recognises those teams working in pre-schools, nurseries, and school-based nursery units whose dedication and commitment has helped transform children’s early learning and development.


What are the judges looking for?

Our judges are looking for stories that demonstrate the positive impact early years teams have on an individual child, a group of children, and their families and the wider community.


Who can enter for the Early Years Team of the Year Award?

  • The category is open to early years teams based in pre-schools, nurseries, or school-based nursery units, teaching children in Foundation Stages 1 and 2.
  • All members of the team must hold at least a Level 2 qualification that meets the full and relevant criteria for early years qualifications.
  • At least one member of the team must hold an EYTS or QTS.
  • We welcome entries from both state and independent settings.


What should I write in the nomination?

Please tell us the reasons why you think your early years team should be considered for the award. You can find full information and guidance on crafting your nomination here, but you should consider the following points when writing:


  1. How has the early years team enriched the life of an individual child or group of children?
  2. How has the team’s enthusiasm, expertise and commitment made a wider positive contribution to local families and the surrounding community?
  3. Share examples of how your team has used their creativity and brought, fresh ideas to help children grow and develop.
  4. Tell us how the team have collaborated with parents/carers and/or other external organisations to create positive learning environments for the children they work with. Include parental feedback and quotes.


When should I nominate?

Because this is a brand-new category, the deadline for The Early Years Team of the Year Award is midnight, 11th March 2022. Please note, that the deadline for all other categories is midnight, 4th March 2022.


Why should I nominate?

If you’re in the education industry, you already know about the vital work that goes on in early years education. This new award category brings wider recognition to all the good work early years staff do. The public might not be aware of the extent of the positive impact good quality ECEC can have on a child’s life. It’s time to let them know and reward staff for the amazing work they do with these impressionable minds every single day.


What happens after I nominate?

  • You will find out the outcome of your nomination by 31st March 2022.
  • Those who are not shortlisted will receive a certificate in June.
  • All shortlisted nominees will be contacted by judges between 21st and 31st March to arrange a judging visit.
  • Judges will visit all shortlisted nominees in school for 3 hours. During their visit, they will spend time with the nominees, the head/principal, other colleagues, parents and pupils.


What happens if we win?

All Silver Winners and their guests attend a tea to celebrate their achievements and Gold Winners are celebrated at an awards ceremony in London.

The event is paid for by the awards along with accommodation in a London hotel. This year, after an amazing week-long feature on The One Show, we enjoyed a fantastic celebration awards ceremony at the Brewery in London.

So, what are you waiting for? Nominate your team by midnight on 11th March. Give them the recognition they deserve after a challenging couple of years. Nominate now.