Addressing Recruitment Challenges in the Lil Bo Peep Nursery

Research Proposal

In this research, I am studying the challenges that Lil Bo peep Nursery have in regards to human resources and in what other areas the business can improve in order to recruit and retain a certain standard of staff.

Milton Keynes Nursery in Milton Keynes, UK is to be my topic of research, this was chosen because I had contacts within the company that felt that it was not performing to the standard to which it was projected in the initial business plan. As human resources is key in the childcare sector I felt it would be apt to look into this in detail.

Initially, I had hope to look at the impact of staff motivation. However, after initial contact with nursery and interviewing staff members it became clear that since the nursery was under new management and was better organized, staff motivation had increased and staff turnover was high but this did not mean that the staff in nursery felt content with all aspects of the job.


On interviewing the manager, it became clear that the major issue that the nursery faces is in fact attracting suitably qualified staff with experience in early years practice, understandably this is a national issue. Not only this but once staff have been found and brought in, the nursery faces another challenges of keeping them up to date with policies that frequently change, this requires the employer to keep the employees up to date and improve their lines of communication with each other. This, in turn will help improve motivation within the company.

Firstly, I will be addressing the importance of human resources within the nursery environment. Afterwards, I will illustrate why the nursery is prioritizing in appropriate training and recruitment of staff in terms of quality of services provision. Finally, I will make recommendations and justifications for my suggestions in the light of Government provision and emphasis on qualifications within the early year’s sector.

I intend to use both primary and secondary research sources. I will obtaining primary data by interviewing staff, management, supporting members and other stakeholders including parents to the children of the nursery and observing their daily activities in line to nursery operations. I have already identified secondary data which indicates that this may well be a national issue and one in which the Government is investing on to ensure a sound grounding is available to young children before they start the later stages of the national curriculum. For example, Sir Michael Wilshaw, outgoing head of OFSTED has already indicated his interest in wider “wrap around” care to support child development and improve national performance levels for children later in life. This indicates that, even though this is in the independent sector, the challenges of finding well qualified early years staff is reflected in the state sector and will likely continue to be of wider concern to childcare providers such as XXX nursery if not addressed.

The areas of the syllabus I will be focusing on are;

  1. Motivation.
  2. Organizational structure.
  3. Leadership and management.
  4. Employee relations.
The areas of the syllabus I will be focusing on are


I would like to thanks the director, manager and staff at the “Lil Bo Peep” nursery for their time and for allowing me into their institution with a warm welcome and cooperation during the interviews I conducted.


The recruitment and employment of the right qualified individual are a complicated and strenuous activity for any employer whether a small or multi-billion enterprise. Consequently, retaining the qualified individuals by any institutions or organization tends to be a challenge for most, moreover this ought to be critical part and priority as it determines its success. The employee satisfaction on the conditions and services the company offers to them directly relates to their workability, output, and future commitments.


I was interested in how the Lil Bo Peep nursery addresses the recruitment problems they faced. I intended to investigate the options that they have and the viability of the workable solutions. The critical issue arouses here is that, unlike Kent for example where nursery provision is well catered for, the area of Milton Keynes near this nursery does not appear to have a large pool of specialised labour force trained in early years practice. There are some ways the nursery can address this and as investigated and indicated in this report. Recent vacancies were looked at and how they were filled as well as data about the availability of training facilitated in the area. As well as the potential the nursery has in recruitment from outside the area or working in partnership with training providers to ensure that in future staffing is covered by qualified staff.

Lil Bo Peep Nursery in Milton Keynes is currently trying to address the recruitment crisis they are faced with in recruitment of individuals to sublimed qualified level 4 early years practitioners. This has been identified as an issue that they need to address by the Nursery Manager and owner who feel that attracting qualified staff is key to improving the nursery provision and attracting new client groups while improving the company’s competitive advantage and ability to continue in the sector.

In this instance, the nature of the staffing will have wider implications on quality of services provision. These, in turn, has wider ramifications regarding training provision, continuity of provision ensured through satisfying the requirements of the regulatory body OFSTED, health and safety, foundation stage curriculum content, partnerships with offsite training providers, onsite training facilities, staff turnover, efficiency and of course customer services and marketing.

Since starting this research the nursery has now received a notice to improve its quality from a recent OFSTED inspection, this requires the nursery to undertake a review of its provision and create a school improvement plan. This report will be looking into the human resource aspect and making suitable recommendations.


Motivation Theories

Maslow’s theory of motivation;

Maslow’s theory of motivation involves a series of hygiene aspects that are person’s motivation factors. Maslow believed that there is a hierarchy of needs and to reach the top (Gawel, 1997), all the needs below must be met, and once all the needs are met a person will feel a sense of self-worth and satisfaction. It is believed that Maslow theory is comprised of five levels;

Physiological needs are food, shelter, and clothing, this makes the basis of the hierarchy, and it is mainly achieved via a reasonable amount of pay. Maslow's theory states once said these basic needs are met the next level can be reached. The next level of the Maslow theory is the need for security or safety, being in absolute certainty that the basic human needs can be achieved. This involves being able to picture what the future may hold to a certain extent; this can be ensured by an employer by giving the employee a contract. A contract will enable an individual to know they will have a stable source of income for a period as well as being protected in a situation which may stop them from working, for example, sick pay and health benefits as well as pension schemes (Atkinson, 2007).

The creation of mutual and emotional committed relationship with an employee. According to Kruse, having direct and respectable relation both in work place and outside the institutions by workers amongst themselves and management enables development of high performances team work and exhibits tremendous discretionary effort (Kruse, 2012). Organizations from start-up, institutions, non-profit to well develop companies, employee engagement directly drives the quality of services offered, sales and profits up.

The third stage is the social or interactive needs which consist of a person feelings as if the work they are doing can be tailored to their life to an extent and allows social interactions within the workplace area in the business which allows it or a club. This allows a person to feel as if they have a sense of belonging to a collective where they are valued, and this is itself serves a purpose when trying to motivate a group or an individual (Chandani, Mehta, Mall, & Khokhar, 2016).

The fourth level of Maslow's hygiene factors is the status of self-esteem needs. This consists of the person feeling as if they are being given acknowledged for what they do in the institution and whether they being valued as a member of staff. Involving staff in decision-making process makes them feel appreciated (Chandani, Mehta, Mall, & Khokhar, 2016). Job enrichment is also a tool that can be used to motivate people and this involves adding to a person's existing list of tasks without making it strenuous, essentially giving them additional responsibility. This may drive a person to work harder or ensure them that the person who is supervising them have acknowledged their roles in the business and are noting if they can hold a larger workload in the midst of a possible promotion (Crosby, n.d.).

The highest level of the hygiene factors is self-fulfilment, this involves the workers reaching their full potential in the workplace. At this point they are working hard, they feel valued, and they are comfortable with knowing that all their needs are covered from basic to self-esteem (Crosby, n.d.).


The data were collected mainly through primary sources involving interviewing the participants and observation. Other sources, nursery financial reports and meeting journals and government and published reports served a critical source of the data and information.

The interviewed participants were subjected to a short series of questions pertaining the institution's management, operations and activities. The interviewed persons were; the director, manager, room leaders. This part, open questions were used to get more of a personal response to express what motivates them.

Later, the same set of individuals were subjected to a questionnaire to filled at individuals convenience time in a span of 2hrs this could prompt individuals to express what they feel without intimidation or prejudice.


Organizational structure of Nursery

Organizational structure of Nursery


In the organization there is the director, in this case, is the owner of the nursery. Directly below the director is the nursery manager who in turn has direct control over several subordinates, such as the deputy manager and the room leaders, the deputy is also a room leader but is superior to the second room leader and takes up more supervisory roles. In the institution, there are three rooms and the deputy/room leader is responsible for two of those rooms. In each room two early learning practitioners also have subordinates who are the apprentices, there may be as many as two in each room.

The difference between manager and deputy is that the manager is a position to handle more supervisory and managerial role of the institutions thus engaged in its daily operation. This is reflected in the remuneration.

Internal communication consists of meetings and emails this appears to be the most effective mode of both formal and informal communication in the organization, using the correct channels of communications are important the business,


The practitioners and staff remuneration and payment are dependent on the experiences, age, the position in the institution and form of employment. The professionals under 25 of age are on minimum wage £6.50 an hour while those 25 years and over and chef are paid £7.20. The deputy is on £8 (Approx. £15,000 per annum), Room leaders £7.70 per hour of work and manager earns £27,000. The cleaning services are on a contractual basis, contracted out 2 hours a day at £10 an hour. The nursery offers a conducive working environment; 40 hours week with one hour break after every four working hours, breaks are not paid. Each employee is entitled to a six-week a year vacation with pay. All working staff is required to be available during opening hours of the nursery.

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The school environment has to vary of usable space with different functionally. It’s separated in accordance to the users’ age, the mode of use and the occupants. This includes; age groups (rooms) baby, toddler rooms, preschool.


From the research done, throughout the interviews conducted the basic needs, the main motivation factors, and security of their jobs and health of the staff and supporting member of the nursery were catered for to the same point. Every interviewed or engaged individual expressed satisfaction in the operation and management. These are done either by their parents (in the case of the apprentice's) or catered for by institutions, if they have attained an age where the job is solely used as a means of earning them income, which was the case of the room leader “Betsy” she had reached an age where she has all her basic needs and security needs covered.


The employee motivation and welfare is a critical factor development and running of an enterprise. Each person wants to be valued at any occasions, have a sense of belonging, this should apply to all regardless of the level and status of employment. The employment security and safety of the staff should be guaranteed for the prosperity of the institutions. As observed and stated above, the two, organization and employee, should strive to maintain a mutual relationship. The organization achieves this by ensuring that the earlier are provide with the best possible working conditions and contractual terms thus providing the conducive working environment. The outcome will be positive being reflected by the quality of services offered by the employee in return.

The following are some of the recommended factors to be taken to facilitate the quality provision of services.

  1. The employers may offer help with relocation expenses to highly qualified staff for example; Kent has a surplus of graduates who will take little pay. The nursery will have the competitive advantage over the other by targeting and recruiting staff who are better qualified
  2. The institution should provide a better and comprehensive contract terms and working incentives and benefits to the employers. Highlight the potential qualification of key worker housing in their job adverts to target people who want to relocate to the Milton Keynes Area. Advertise in the Times Educational Supplement specifying the key workers' scheme as an incentive.
  3. Nursery can approach the University of Buckingham to work in partnership with them on the PGCE early years it would be possible for them to provide post-graduate experience and supervision during the program
  4. Nursery can benefit for to kudos of being a training center but also be able to source future employees from the University. Once familiar with the university it can be used a place to recruit new staff once a vacancy is found.
  5. If run like a secondary PGCE they will have two students a year who will graduate and possibly become future employees


  • Gawel, J. (1997). Herzberg's theory of motivation and Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1st ed.). [Washington, DC]: [ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation].
  • Kruse, K. E., 2012. Employee engagement 2.0: How to Maotivate Your Team for High Performance. 2nd ed. New york.: CreaaeSpace independent Publishing Platform.
  • Atkinson, C. (2007). Trust and the psychological contract. Employee Relations, 29(3), 227-246.
  • Chandani, A., Mehta, M., Mall, A., & Khokhar, V. (2016). Employee Engagement: A Review Paper on Factors Affecting Employee Engagement. Indian Journal Of Science And Technology, 9(15).
  • Crosby, D. Improving Employee Retention in the Public Sector by Increasing Employee Engagement. SSRN Electronic Journal.
  • Kruse, K. E., 2012. Employee engagement 2.0: How to Maotivate Your Team for High Performance. 2nd ed. New york.: CreaaeSpace independent Publishing Platform.

    Appendix 1. Questionnaire

    Below is questionnaire administered and answers provided by respective individual with the role they hold in the institution as indicated.


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