A NURSERY in Dudley has been crowned top of the class in the Midlands.

The team at Fairytales Day Nursery picked up the accolade for 'Nursery of the Year Midlands' at the National Nursery Recognition Awards 2020 at a glitzy event at the Athena in Leicester.

The nursery, which has two sites on Bourne Street and St James Road, was praised for its innovative teaching methods.

Staff have ditched all plastic toys and replaced them with real life items to encourage youngsters to use their imaginations and technology has also been sidelined to encourage them to play.

Deb Latewood, managing director of Fairytales which is rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted, said her team were blown away with winning the award.

She said: "29 out of 38 staff at the nursery attended the awards so it was a very loud reaction! We were shocked as we were up against six other nurseries, including pre-schools within schools. We were really excited to be nominated.

"When they said our name, we were all really emotional."

This is the first time Fairytales has won Nursery of the Year, but is not first time the nursery has won an accolade as last year Deb won team leader of the year.

The Bourne Street nursery opened in 2003, followed by the St James Road building in 2016 and looks after 200 children across both sites.

The nursery has undergone major changes over the last year in how it teaches youngsters, with staff getting rid of plastic toys and technology to encourage little ones to use their imagination for play.

Deb explained: "Over the last 12 months we have got rid of plastic toys to encourage a curious approach to learning, everything they have is from real life. Everybody worked really hard to do it and make it work, the team have worked so well to change the playing environment for children to make it better.

"We have also got rid of all technology. We thought maybe it was time to get kids back using their brains. The whole team have seen a change in how the children are more engaged."

Speaking after the win, Deb paid tribute to the staff at Fairytales for their hard work in making the nursery such a success.

She said: "They took a huge leap of faith, they trusted me, they went with me. It's really all down to the team."