15th May 2023 All Posts

Paper is a Precious Nursery Resource — Just Not in the Office!

In light of our recent cyber security survey, Connect Childcare’s founder and CEO Chris Reid, caught up with Nursery World to discuss why paper no longer has a place in the office for early years settings.

If you missed the original article, you can catch up below.

Is your nursery reluctant to give up its accident book? 

Our recent early years cyber security survey found almost half of the settings (45.3%) continue to log incidents in this way, despite the sector’s marked move away from paper-based record keeping.

While the vast majority of childcare businesses (80.3%) use secure, web-based systems –  and 70.1% of respondents reported that they were confident or very confident in data security matters – old habits are hard to break.

In nurseries across the UK, files, ledgers, forms and letters to parents are still in use. However, we argue that paper has no place in the office, in 2023. 

There are four key reasons for our assertion, around the key business topics.

Data is more secure in a cloud

Businesses keeping physical files require excellent filing systems, which must be prioritised during moves or reorganisations, and protected from eventualities such as fire and flood.

We won’t start on the implications of sensitive details left out on desks, under just a clipboard cover rather than behind a high-grade firewall. Or worse – pinned up on a noticeboard, or taken home by a team leader to update.

It’s better for the planet to use less paper

Moving on to the matter of sustainability, all businesses are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their environmental credentials – and cutting down on paper usage is a quick and easy win. Organisations making changes for the better are more likely to attract contracts – particularly with the public sector – and investors.

Simply making sure discarded paper goes in the recycling bin isn’t enough in 2023 and beyond. The savvy way to make a meaningful difference to a business’ carbon footprint is to minimise the purchase of all resources, wherever possible. The related benefit of this attitude, of course, is saving money, too.

Paper and printing are unnecessary expenses

Back in 2021, the BBC news website ran a story about the staggering price of branded printer ink – more expensive than high-end perfume or champagne, apparently – at up to £1,369 per pint. 

The cost of paper pulp too, has risen sharply due to supply problems, material shortages, higher energy costs, disrupted global markets and other factors. 

‘Hunt the document’ at inspection time is stressful

Finally, properly-managed online documents are much harder to misplace than a battered lever-arch file, containing the one existing copy of a plethora of vital information – especially when it is suddenly required for inspection.

Locating it can be stressful and distracting at a time when all efforts are on showcasing the great work of the setting. A search, plus a couple of clicks, would easily bring up its online equivalent.

More reasons to relinquish the reams

A happy knock-on effect of banishing paper from the office is that procedures usually speed up – from the sign-off of staff holiday requests, to real-time updates of children’s learning journeys.

Some nurseries worry that families will baulk at the idea of being invited to read about something, or input information, via an app.

But increasingly, parents expect to do it all online. They already live their admin lives on their smartphones, from banking to shopping and making bookings – even the simplest stuff, like car parking. 

The times of fishing out days-old, crumpled, damp or ripped letters from children’s bags, to find out what’s happening, should really be over.  

This sounds like we dislike paper. On the contrary, we love it. We just know it’s WAY too good for admin, and ultimately unsuitable.

Can we suggest it’s time to save this precious and versatile material for its best life – such as for drawing, painting, cutting, sticking, paper planes, party hats and origami birds? 

That means never using a humble sheet of A4, or a page from a lined exercise book, to write an accident report on again. Are you up for the challenge?

Visit our solutions page

Find out more about our nursery software and how it can help to maximise the potential of your setting by visiting the solutions page, here. Alternatively, if you’re ready to explore Connect Childcare further, book a demo.
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About the Author

Content Marketing Executive at Connect Childcare