Nurseries and Pre-schools


You know that your role is vital in giving children a great start in life by providing them with high quality learning experiences and supporting their development. You naturally want your staff team to share your passion and values for early years’ education and making their practice the best it can be.


There is more to leading and managing a successful nursery or pre-school setting than most people recognise – even the parents of the children you are providing a service for. You are subject to a battery of regulation and the challenges of Ofsted just as much as schools and yet the external support for you is probably, now, the lowest that it has ever been. This means that leaders/managers have to be more self-directing – this is where The CPLD Quality Mark can help you.

Developed in conjunction with The Village Kindergarten in Lincolnshire and tested in early-years settings in Liverpool and Kent, the QM provides you with a framework to develop leadership and management, the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the staff team and how your investment in your staff is helping to make improvements for children – the stuff that Ofsted are interested in. The materials make full reference to the EYFS Framework and early years practice.

How does it work in practice and what do you get?

Stage 1: Audit and Development work

First, you purchase the Toolkit, in electronic format, to support the development of your setting. This Toolkit contains:

  1. Guidance Notes on how the QM works and what to do to successfully improve your practice and provision.
  2. The full QM Framework for Bronze, Silver and Gold levels – this is the road map for improvement.
  3. The Audit and Development Tool – this helps you to audit how good your current practice is and guides development to achieve your target level.
  4. A guide to assessment and accreditation.
  5. Free feedback on your Audit and Development Tool at any time.
  6. Free telephone and email support for 2 years or to your assessment.

It is important to realise that you can do the audit and development work at your own pace with our support as necessary, though once started managers have told us that it is better to keep the momentum going. Our Toolkit scaffolds your development work and treats you as experienced, independently minded professional – it does not dictate what you must do. This issue received very positive feedback during the pilot testing in settings

Stage 2: Assessment, Accreditation and Certification

Second, you apply to us for assessment. You will be guided on how to prepare for a successful assessment and you will be told in advance what will be assessed so that you can be well prepared. Your assessor will provide as much support as you need for this over the telephone and via email.

It is important to realise that assessment is very different to inspection and managers and staff have told us that it is a much more positive and development experience, though rigorous.  Settings have told us that as a result of the value of the development work and the experience of assessment that they want to work towards the higher levels.


There are two payments – one for the Toolkit to get you started and one for assessment when you are ready, thus allowing you to spread the costs.

Stage 1 – The Toolkit costs £149 + VAT

Stage 2 – Assessment


For the Bronze level you have two choices:

  1. remote assessment
  2. a visit-based assessment

The remote assessment is the cheaper of the two and is available for Bronze accreditation only.  Silver and Gold award levels are visit-based assessments only.

The remote assessment requires:

  1. The Manager(s) to complete a questionnaire
  2. Staff to complete individual questionnaires
  • A portfolio of your documentary evidence containing your Audit and Development Tool – this is posted to us
  1. Confidential telephone interviews with the Manager and a small sample of staff

This costs £299 plus VAT and you will be provided with a report. You will also receive a certificate if successful.

The visit based assessment takes 6 hours and requires:

  1. Your completed Audit and Development Tool in advance
  2. A tour of your setting
  • A extended interview with the manager and scrutiny of your documentary evidence
  1. Confidential interviews with a sample of the staff team
  2. Verbal feedback
  3. A report
  • Accreditation letter and certificate if successful

This costs £799 + VAT which includes assessor travel and any accommodation.


You receive a logo for your website and stationery plus a display certificate.

Accreditation lasts for three years after which time you need to be re-assessed. You can be re-assessed by the remote method at any level if you prefer.