Join our team

Wildlings Manager

Wildlings is a popular and loved community asset with a talented and passionate staff team. We’re looking to appoint a new permanent manager to support and guide the Wildlings community through a period of transition and beyond. Wildlings is many families first choice for Early Years education and we have long waiting lists. Wildlings (formerly Ambergate Playgroup) is well established, having existed for several generations and has a bright future with many exciting opportunities available to us. Your collaborative and caring approach will help our community secure a sustainable future. Your exceptional leadership skills will help achieve our shared vision and you’ll enjoy being part of our journey, leading our team.

We have a clear child-led ethos, responding in the moment to the interests of each individual child. We truly value the importance of play, and the deep levels of curiosity that every child brings with them. We aim to provide an environment rich in awe and wonder, and the opportunities for each child to become a strong, capable and resilient learner. We are committed to affordable, high quality early years care provided inside, within a community hall, and outside, in our local woods, parks and meadows. Our pedagogy is inspired by Forest School, Montessori and Reggio Emilio approaches, blended to create our “uniquely Wildlings” experience for our children.

Wildlings is managed by a voluntary committee of parents and professionals with a passion for our setting. We take our responsibility as an employer very seriously, and we recognise our responsibilities towards our staff, our Wildlings and their families. You will be supported in your role by the committee, our Business Lead, your Deputy and our Forest School Lead. We have an Early Years HR specialist on retainer and a company who manages pay roll. We’re also members of the Early Years Alliance and have close and productive links with the local authority and schools.

We are a fully outdoor setting 3 days a week. You will need to be passionate about the benefits of outdoor education whatever the weather and ready to lead by example, getting stuck in loading wheelbarrows and erecting tents in driving rain and freezing cold. You’ll be a champion for Wildings within our local community, within the early years profession and in the forest school movement. Your approach, manner and behaviour will be consistently professional and caring, and you’ll be a clear communicator who helps your colleagues to achieve high standards. You will ensure that the Wildlings community moves forward, achieving agreed objectives, reviewing success and learning from feedback and insight. You’ll be committed to upholding and protecting the values and ethos of the setting. You’ll manage difficult conversations well, offer constructive challenge and promote an open and supportive culture of reflection and learning. You’ll inspire confidence and you’ll love celebrating success.

We open from 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday (which incorporates a breakfast club) during term time. Working hours are between 7.30am and 5pm.

Wildlings is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. It is a requirement of all staff that they share this commitment and follow the prescribed policy and procedures to continuously promote a culture of safeguarding.

Please telephone or email to book a visit to the setting (visits are encouraged).

To apply please send a CV and a covering letter outlining why you are right candidate for this role. Please refer to the job description and person specification in your letter.

Interviews will be held Wed 5th April.

Wildlings Manager job description

Responsible to: Wildlings Committee

Responsible for: Wildlings staff, children and volunteers

Purpose of job: To ensure the effective running of the pre-school in accordance with the OFSTED and Statutory Framework requirements, guidelines, policies and procedures. To ensure the emotional, educational and physical well-being of the children entrusted in to the care of the pre-school. To manage all the pre-school staff and support them in their roles. To feedback to the pre-school committee on a regular basis.

Main Duties/Responsibilities:

● To ensure that the setting is a safe environment for children, staff and others, and that the equipment is safe through daily risk assessments;

● that standards of hygiene are high, safety procedures are implemented at all times and Fire Drills/Lockdown drills are regularly practiced.

● To be one of the Designated Persons for Safeguarding and Child Protection making sure that the policy and procedures are followed by all staff, volunteers and parents/carers; updating knowledge and attending Early Years briefing meetings throughout the year and any other relevant training (currently manager is DSL and deputy manager is deputy DSL)

● To be one of the Special Educational Needs/Disabilities Co-ordinators, making sure that the policy and procedures are followed by all staff, parents/carers and volunteers at all times (currently deputy manager is SENDCO and manager is deputy SENDCO)

● To work closely with families and attend training/meetings as required.

● To carry out all activities and responsibilities at the pre-school within a framework of equal opportunities, including the implementation and review of the SENDCO folder, action plan and policy.

● To take responsibility for drawing up long term, medium term and short term plans which ensure that Wildlings is working effectively to support all children to access its curriculum and make good progress.

● To be responsible for providing a high quality of teaching, ensuring that staff are properly deployed and offer appropriate stimulation and support to the children.

● To ensure Wildlings curriculum, ethos and approach is clearly understood by all staff and that this is used to support each child to make progress appropriate to their age.

● To monitor the effectiveness of Wildlings’ curriculum and amend it as necessary.

● To be responsible for creating and implementing systems of observation and record keeping so that the children’s attainment and progress are effectively and regularly assessed.

● To ensure records are properly maintained e.g. daily attendance register, accident and incident book, Lockdown book, Fire Drill book.

● To contribute to and implement all pre-school policies and procedures.

● To review and update policies as required.

● To complete the Quality Framework documentation and monitor/review it throughout the year.

● To produce an Action Plan for the year and share these with the committee, staff and families of Pre-school.

● To attend Safer Recruitment training and put into place all documentation, letters and procedures to make the setting a safe place for the children, families and staff; to assist in

the recruiting and induction process when employing suitably qualified and experienced staff.

● To undertake any training necessary.

Staff Duties

● To ensure appropriate staffing levels are maintained at all times.

● To organise a Key Working system and to effectively supervise staff on a daily basis; to be responsible for monitoring the quality of teaching.

● To monitor the performance of the staff team and participate in staff supervisions every term.

● To do staff appraisals annually and where there is need for training, write staff development plans with them that focus specific courses that need to be attended to develop their skills.

● To monitor training requirements and create a training action plan annually, updating it as necessary.

● To organise regular staff meetings

● To deal with staff grievance procedures and disciplinary procedures as required.

● To collect time sheets, check and sign off on a monthly basis.

● To liaise closely with parents/carers, informing them about learning, encouraging parental involvement.

● To liaise with the local Early Years Team, OFSTED and other professionals as necessary and ensure that all legal and statutory requirements are implemented: to provide reports as required.

● To support the Committee and attend meetings regularly.

● To ensure effective communication between local primary schools, focusing on the smooth transition for the children.

This job description is not an exhaustive list of duties and you will also be required to carry out any other duties which may reasonably be required of you in accordance with the needs of the Preschool. You are also required to be flexible and adaptable with respect to your role.

Person Specification for Wildlings Manager

Essential Criteria Education & Qualifications

  • At least 3 years’ experience working in an EYFS setting

  • Proven experience working in management in EYFS setting as a senior member of staff

  • NNEB, CACHE Level 3, NVQ Level 3 or equivalent

  • Extensive knowledge of the EYFS and of high quality early years’ practice including statutory requirements.

Knowledge of and commitment to:

  • Child protection, health and safety, equal opportunities and SEN/Inclusion

  • Paediatric First Aid & Food Hygiene Training

  • Safeguarding certified

  • Understanding of relevant polices/codes of practice and awareness of relevant legislation.

  • Enhanced DBS Police Check

Experience/ Knowledge

  • Excellent working knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage and current Ofsted statutory guidance.

  • Experience of working with or caring for children ideally in a variety of early years’ settings.

  • Experience of outdoor learning and Forest School activities, including safety and risk assessments around outdoor learning.

  • Recent relevant experience of working in an integrated care and education setting with a 2 –

5 years’ provision or Early Years setting.

  • Experience of working as a key worker for a group of children and their families.

  • Knowledge and proven practical experience of implementing good quality learning opportunities.

  • Commitment to equal opportunities and understanding of religious and cultural diversity.

  • Ability to create and implement basic systems for child records.

  • Ability to manage budgets effectively.

  • Experience of administering free entitlement funding and payment processes.

  • Experience of marketing and admissions processes

Skills & Attributes

  • Be responsible, patient and approachable, with a caring personality.

  • Good numeracy and literacy skills

  • Excellent verbal and communication skills with staff, children and parents

  • Ability to relate well to children and adults

  • Ability to self-evaluate learning needs and actively seek learning opportunities

  • Ability to write detailed reports and keep clear and accurate records

  • Ability to lead a team, manage effectively and efficiently upholding positive working relationships and an effective mentor.

  • Ability to address underperformance

  • Ability to work effectively with the new committee, providing evidence and reports.

  • Ability to observe, assess and report on children's behaviour

  • Flexibility and adaptability in the face of challenging circumstances with a respect for confidentiality.

  • High level of initiative and creativity

  • Ability to plan, devise and develop systems of work

  • Empathy and understanding of children under five

  • Good IT skills

  • Reliable, enthusiastic, and flexible

Desirable Criteria Education & Qualifications

Working towards (or completed) early years’ degree, or EYTS

Financial management experience

Experience of leading and supporting a team

Safer recruitment training

This post requires a DBS check as there may be periods of unsupervised access to children. An Enhanced DBS and satisfactory references would be obtained prior to commencement of employment.

Relief Early Years Practitioner

Wildlings is looking to recruit outdoor loving, inspiring and passionate practitioners to join our truly unique and wonderful provision a relief practitioners. The role is to provide cover for staff absence and training, and therefore has no fixed hours. The ideal candidate will be a fully qualified practitioner, holding a minimum of a Level 2 relevant qualification to work in our outdoor based Forest School and at our hall provision. We are looking for full members of our team, who will immerse themselves in the Wildlings experience and be willing to thoroughly get to know our ways of working.

You will need to be proactive, a quick thinker, familiar with building attachments with young children, experienced with children from birth to five, warm, able to multi task and keen to take children out and about in all weathers. We're looking for someone who has an imaginative approach to play, is familiar in the moment planning, Forest School, Reggio and Montessori approaches to learning and keen to work in a holistic way.

We work outdoors, all year round, whatever the weather so you must be physically fit enough to carry out a demanding job in sometimes challenging conditions. Our Forest site is not accessible by public transport, please consider your travel options prior to application.

To apply please send your CV and a covering letter explaining why you would like to join our exciting setting to

To learn more about what we do at Wildlings, feel free to follow us on Facebook, arrange to chat to our Manager or find us on Instagram.

Should you have any questions about the role, we'd love to hear from you!

Hours: no fixed hours Permanent contract

Pay: Competitive salary