Tops Teacher Status – Raising the Early Years profile

At our quality Teaching conference on the 9th November, I was delighted to launch the ‘Tops Teacher Status’ to all our colleagues.

As the Operations Director for tops Day Nurseries, I have been working hard to raise the status of our Early Years workforce.

There is still sometimes a perception that childcare workers are just glorified babysitters and are often not respected as professional educators.


Why Tops Teacher Status?

The idea behind this project was to help raise the Early Years profile and to promote respect for our Early Years workforce as Educators of young children. I wanted to devise a programme that our Early Years colleagues could work through to demonstrate that they had the highest standards in professional practice, knowledge and conduct. In return, this should help increase staff confidence, contribute towards CPD and help our colleagues get the respect that they deserve for being an outstanding educator.


Who can be a Tops Teacher?

Anybody can be a Tops Teacher! Some of our unqualified practitioners are amongst our strongest Early Years Educators and they demonstrate an exceptional ability to develop and extend children’s learning. In contrast, we have worked with highly qualified practitioners that have lacked the knowledge and the ability to put principles in practice. It was for this reason that I decided that any Tops colleague should be given the opportunity to work towards this status.


What are the standards/skills required to become a Tops Teacher?

Tops Teacher Status is awarded to practitioners that demonstrate the highest possible standards in their professional practice, knowledge and conduct. Tops Teachers have strong early development knowledge, keep their knowledge and skills up to date and have an exceptional understanding of how to support children’s learning and development.

There are a set of 34 standards that must be met to gain Tops Teacher status, along with the requirement to attend 4 days of Tops Training.

The Tops Teacher Status criteria is very specific to the ethos, principles and practices that Tops Day Nurseries promotes. To gain the status practitioners must demonstrate a range of skills and knowledge to include some of the following:-

  1. In-depth understanding of the EYFS, COEL & British values
  2. A secure knowledge of specific theorists including Bowlby, Respectful care, Curiosity approach, Forest School and Reggio
  3. Ability to demonstrate effective multi-agency working and parent partnership
  4. Knows, understands and implements all of Tops policies and procedures
  5. To reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of provision
  6. Ability to implement a range of strategies to develop and extend children’s learning and development
  7. Employ practices that promote risk-benefit, early reading and writing skills and positive behaviour of young children
  8. A clear understanding of the benefits of yoga, meditation, music and movement



To gain Tops Teacher Status there is a formal assessment process that takes place. Colleagues can either express an interest in accreditation or be nominated by their line Manager. Upon application to the programme, colleagues are provided with the set of standards that must be met. Over a period of time, the colleague is required to provide supporting evidence to confirm their knowledge and ability.  This evidence can be in the form of teaching observations, inspection reports, witness statements, testimonials, coursework or meeting records. Evidence is built up in a portfolio to present at assessment. The assessment includes a review of the portfolio, a practical assessment and a professional discussion. If all standards have been met, then Tops Teacher Status is awarded.

Upon completion of the Tops Teacher Assessment, colleagues are issued with a new name badge with the Tops Teacher logo on it and are referred to as Tops Teachers.

We currently have 4 staff that have been through the full accreditation and have been awarded Tops Teacher Status.

I am delighted that the programme has had such a positive reaction from our colleagues who are keen to engage in this new programme. It’s an honour to work with such inspirational educators and without them, we wouldn’t be able to offer the outstanding levels of care and education that we do.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me


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