Acorn Early Years Foundation
Trustee Strategy Day

Date: Friday 9th June 2023

Time: 9:30 - 16:00

Location: Chrysalis Theatre, Camphill Community, Japonica Lane, MK15 9JY

Present: Eva Lloyd, Carolyn Norfolk, Giles Chilton, Narendra Laljani, Laura Faulkner, Hema Kotecha-Clarke, Katy Pillai, Damien Beedham, Vanessa Gwynn 

Attending: Zoe Raven, Emily Hepden, Laura Andrews, Steve Petty, Sue Fenton, Gabbie Brandon, Santa Svike (board secretary)

Apologies: Robert Prosser, Allawee Albaghdadi

Strategy Day plan (Word document version)

Strategy Day notes

    Meeting at 9.15 for a 9.30am start.

    (*re-appointment of Carolyn)

    Aim for the morning to achieve a shared understanding of Acorn’s mission, particularly in terms of Social Impact.

    9.30am –9.40am        

    Introduction from Narendra, about the work done by the working group, and the revisions to the Strategic plan.

    9.40am - 10.00am      

    Presentation about the revised social impact model, and the theory of change on which it is based – Zoe, with support from Katy

    10.00am – 11.00am    

    Social Impact model: Discussion in four groups about the four quadrant areas, the draft content, and suggestions for what could be further developed, and how each of these provide a tangible benefit for the children:

    • Motivated, qualified staff teams
    • Partnership with families
    • Community embeddedness
    • Engagement with nature

    11.00am - 11.10am     

    Coffee break and preparation of presentations

    11.10am – 11.30am    

    Presentations of the results of discussions in each group and plenary discussion to agree format and content of social impact model

    11.30am – 12.30pm   

    Discussion in four groups about the following key questions:

    • How does Acorn define and measure success?
    • Where could Acorn be in 5 or 10 years’ time and what should we be doing now to be on the right path?


    12.30pm – 1.30pm    



    Aim for the afternoon to explore development opportunities, both in the abstract, and in their practical implications

    1.30pm – 2.00pm        

    SWOT analysis presentations, with Q&As, from each department, to include environmental sustainability:

    • Finance – Emily
    • Early Years – Laura
    • Human Resources – Sue
    • Facilities – Steve
    • Marketing – Gabbie
    • Overall SWOT – Zoe

    2.00pm – 2.30pm      

    Plenary discussion on the overall SWOT?

    2.30pm – 3.00pm      

    Discussion in four groups about the potential opportunities, ensuring that sustainability is embedded in each:

    • Expansion of forest schools and outdoor learning (including outdoor kindergartens, acquisition of forest site)
    • Training - being a training provider for apprenticeships and other qualifications
    • Expansion geographically of nurseries, and/or other childcare provision (out-of-school clubs, creches, pre-schools)
    • Blue-sky projects - thought leadership, action research, consultancy, publishing, digital transformation, anything that fits our charitable objectives

    3.00pm quick tea break?

    3.00pm – 3.30pm      

    Presentation of results of discussion of new opportunities, and what would be needed to pursue each one, and what else might need to be considered – and plenary discussion.

    3.30pm – 4.00pm      

    Wrap-up and agreement of next steps

    Next steps might include agreeing which issues need allocated time at full board meetings, and which issues can be delegated to one of the committees.

    Dates for next meetings:

    (all 9.30 – 12.00 and in person if at all possible):

    • Saturday 28th July
    • Friday 3rd November