It is stressful being an early years provider, but spark will give you the control back, so all adults involved can strive for outstanding EYFS practice in order to get everything right, ultimately for every child at this time of rapid brain development.

It is stressful being an early years provider, but spark will give you the control back, so all adults involved can strive for outstanding EYFS practice in order to get everything right, ultimately for every child at this time of rapid brain development.
0203 390 2412

30 hours of funded childcare is meant to cover the delivery of those 30 hours of care, education, materials, heating, lighting, staffing…

Of course, it doesn’t. We could argue it out for days trying to agree on what a fair rate might be but we know that’s unlikely to be heard by the powers that be.

We can easily agree that juggling costs and seeking savings without compromising quality is challenging.

Striving to support and enhance standards while also becoming slicker and leaner is probably something every business, early years or not, would like to achieve and constantly works on.

As good business owners we can improve efficiency; maybe redeploy revenue or staffing to reduce costs.  To deliver whatever our vision is, our businesses need to be financially strong and resilient.  At the moment looking at savings may well be a priority.

Here are some things for you to think about – could you save in these areas? Are you keeping a tight watch on all those little (or large) monthly costs that add up?

Do you have an admin system that can:

  • Handle the working out of staff ratios and duty times to payroll
  • Automate your invoicing and funding
  • Communicate with parents in the way they prefer and in a flexible manner
  • Retrieve family records
  • Manage health and safety, incidents and accidents efficiently
  • Link up to accounting software, reconcile invoices to registers

This is the work of a full-time admin or clerical person. Could you save that salary by having an efficient, digital system that anyone can use?

It is certainly worth taking a look at your options for administration. There are several out there and you would be well advised to check if they can do all of that in order to calculate your real savings.

Think now about your curriculum and delivery of the EYFS.

  • Is double-time being spent on observations?
    When senior staff have to check work before it can be shared with families, this is what is happening. Can you stop that?
  • How much are you spending on pens, paper, glue and the ‘pretty bits’ needed for paper learning journals? Is this really necessary?
  • How much time is spent cross-referencing observations?
    Think about it – are you paying practitioners to look at lists and work things out or are you paying them to be outstanding educators with a real passion for their practice?
  • How much time is being spent per week, across the team, working out future learning opportunities, tracking progress, planning? Can this be reduced?
    You might be surprised to learn that by taking all of that time away could save you a whole week of work a month (more on that later, as you might wonder how on earth you could do away with those essential activities!)
  • Still using paper diaries for feeds, nappies and sleeps? A move to digital is better for the environment and considerably cheaper.

Now, let’s think about recruitment.

This has been a difficulty for many years and doesn’t seem to be improving any time soon. So, while we can’t magic up newly qualified staff, we can make sure that we nurture the staff we do have to enhance retention.

How can you increase job satisfaction?

  • Enable staff to spend more of their time with the children, which is the part they generally most enjoy!
  • Improve work:life balance by looking for ways to reduce the amount of work that needs to be taken home
  • Focus on children’s needs/setting needs as appropriate to the role:
    Efficiency enables time for an ethos of continuous improvement. This is much less stressful for the team than always being ‘on the catch up’!

We’ve given you a lot to think about here. If it feels like a headache to try and tackle all of this at once, we may able to help you.

We are ready to take on new clients right now.

If you are struggling with your early years recruitment, overwhelming admin tasks or funding issues then take a look at this recent study we did:


Say that you have 10 members of room staff at £9.50ph.

If each spends one hour out of the room a week (compiling reports, cross-referencing, planning, catching up on observations etc), then sparkPRO will save you £4536.08 a year, equivalent to over 39 hours per month.

What would you spend that on?!

Do ping us a message if you would like the full details of this study.

Otherwise, read on for a little more information on where else we could help you to save time and money:

  • As an ongoing training tool, spark supports less able or inexperienced staff in understanding and to appropriately deliver the EYFS curriculum confidently
  • Evaluation and writing reports is less laborious as staff are supported through the software and with their literacy skills
  • spark pinpoints training needs, so there is a targeted focus on training expenditure and the difference it has made
  • Cash flow savings on resources: Post-it-notes, paper, printer ink, diary booklets, scrapbooks, folders, laminating pouches and glue
  • Our EYFS software works on inexpensive tablets too

sparkPRO is like a training tool for staff. It brings into focus the children and their needs.”
– Greg Bottrill, Early Years Author.

Generate more revenue:

  • sparkADMIN handles leads and your waiting list
  • Provides maps to help focus marketing efforts appropriately
  • Improve occupancy through an enhanced reputation
  • Professional curriculum reports, charts and graphs available to share with sparkPRO
  • Time to be customer focused; to enhancing customer service
  • Developed partnerships with parents, external professionals, local schools and providers
  • Boosted progress in children’s learning and development as staff are consistently focused
  • Increased recognition by regulatory and professional bodies (Ofsted, Quality Assurance, External Professionals)
  • Add a fundraiser by introducing spark@HOME

Be professional and keep within the law; maintain at least the minimum/living wage rates by not needing staff to work ‘unpaid’ hours at home as they strive to keep up with paperwork

Save on space and the maintenance perhaps! There’s no need for shelves of heavy files, where paper may slip out, get lost or get tatty. All the valuable information is kept safe and altogether in one place on spark

Finally, become greener and do your bit to save the planet for the children in your care

Don’t take our word for it – take a look at feedback from real sparkUSERs below!