Customer success story - Always Growing

How Famly helps a small nursery group with partnership working
Always Growing Nursery logo and Famly logo with an iPad
March 4, 2022
Reading time:
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Nursery and pre-school

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famly icon - piggy bank

3 and 4-year-old funded places

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a black and white image of a bunny and a bottle



a black and white heart icon

With Famly since

February 2019

Who are Always Growing?

Ben Bausor and Lewis Fogarty certainly don’t mind hard work.

Lewis lectures at Brunel University and Ben does consultancy, supporting Early Years settings. Both are BA Psychology graduates and qualified teachers. Ben achieved PGC in SEND, and Lewis completed an MA in Education.

And that’s not all.

Lewis is now working towards a Doctorate in Education and if that wasn’t enough, they’re visiting colleges to talk to apprentices about joining the Early Years sector.

Oh and they’re also the directors of the nursery group Always Growing

But what they do mind is paperwork. Especially when it gets in the way of their team spending time with the children in their care. 

So, when Lewis was recommended Famly by his mentors at Hungry Caterpillars, the next step was to take a look himself.

“When I had the demo, I thought ‘This is great!’” says Lewis, “‘I’m not going to bother looking anywhere else.’”

Let’s find out why.

Lewis (a male director of the nursery group Always Growing) reading a book to a group of children on a carpet, in a classroom.

The big ideas

Why Famly?

  • How does Famly give the teachers at Always Growing more time with the children?
    Famly allows teachers to spend less time on administration and more time with the children at Always Growing. 
  • How does Famly support partnerships with parents?
    Always Growing use Famly to keep in touch with parents, grandparents, and the wider family too.
  • How does Famly work with customers like Always Growing to improve the app?
    From the feature request page, to beta testing, to meeting with the developers, Ben and Lewis love working with Famly, as we work with customers to develop and improve the app.

Lewis, a director at Always Growing playing with soft rugby balls, with three children, in the garden.

How does Famly give the teachers at Always Growing more time with the children?

“Our natural inclination is towards the children,” says Lewis, “There’s a magnetic force pulling us away from our laptops, away from the office, and back to the children. Famly allows that ‘pull’ to be stronger.”

So why is it that in the Early Years, we see the best practitioners in a setting ending up behind a desk, doing administration all day, instead of working with the children

Well actually, they don’t at Always Growing. The five Provision Leaders, the best practitioners in the settings, are in the rooms with the children, where they belong. 

To make this work seamlessly, the Always Growing settings have two Leaders of Education and Operations, Sam and Shakiba, who keep things ship-shape. 

But they also have Famly. 

“We want people to be able to do their job really well and not have to worry about all the things that could be done by something else, in a different way.” explains Ben. Lewis adds, “Ben makes a really important point there, he said ‘something else’, not ‘someone else’. It could be a person. But it could be a system, like Famly.”

And in Early Years, that really matters.

“It saves time; every minute counts,” says Lewis, “If an observation is really easy to put on, that’s another few minutes we’ve gained with the children”

How does Famly support partnerships with parents?

Sharing children’s time at your setting with parents can be a joyful part of the day, or another source of excess paperwork.

“When we started out, we had those daily sheets that staff would fill in,” says Ben, “But they’d just get handed over to the parent and that was it. You couldn’t refer back to it, either.”

Famly makes that process easy and delightful again.

“It makes communication so easy.” Ben “Before pick-up a parent can see how their child’s day’s been, all their nappy changes, for example. They can check the Newsfeed, and see all the photos. They can message Lewis or I, and they can get reminders from the team about bringing something in. Famly makes all of that so easy.”

And now Always Growing are working on supporting parents to do more observations too. 

“I introduce Famly to all our parents, when I show them around the setting, as ‘an app system we use to keep in touch.’ It’s so important to us that the communication is two-way.” says Ben.

And it’s not just parents that love Famly. It’s wider family too.

“One of my favourite features is that you can add other family members, like grandparents, to Famly.” says Ben “We’ve got a diverse cohort here, and we have grandparents as far away as South Africa. They can see the Newsfeed and keep in touch. In fact, a parent let us know that one of the children’s Italian grandparents love the Newsfeed, even though they don’t speak English, but they can see the pictures.”

Sharing children’s days with family who might be far away is actually a key feature for the Always Growing team.

“It’s such a simple thing to be able to add wider family members, but those are the things that matter - it’s the little details.” says Ben.

iPad showing Famly software

Working with… us!

For Ben and Lewis, it’s not just the Famly app that matters, but who Famly are. 

“We want to build partnerships with who we work with.” explains Ben, “We were at the conference that Matt [Arnerich, Director of Brand and Comms] spoke at, and we loved that Famly showed that you have a really clear idea of where you want to go. We want to work with a company that lets people into their journey like that.” 

And now Always Growing are part of the journey too, as they’re contributing to the improvement of the Occupancy part of Famly.

“It’s nice that you don’t think you’ve got it all figured out, as otherwise you wouldn’t have the development team in communication with customers.” says Lewis, “For us, that’s really important. Famly are big enough now to say ‘no, sorry’ to suggestions, but that never seems to be what happens. Sometimes it’s a ‘not yet’, sometimes it’s ‘Put it on feature request forum’. But I hate it when companies are intransigent and just say ‘no full stop.’” 

Ben adds, “I feel like you’re genuinely interested in what we do, and how we use Famly, and that really matters to us.” 

The team at Always Growing also enjoy the content Famly produce through the Famly Blog, which is available for free, for non-customers too.

Ben sums up by saying, “We’ve never looked at any other software and we have absolutely no interest in doing so. If another company said you can have ten years of software for free, we’d tell them we’re not interested.”

download pdf
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Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.

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UK Nursery Covid-19 Response Group Recommendations

The full recommendations from a working group of over 70 nursery chains in the UK.

Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.

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