Category Archives: news

Kids Inc Day Nursery Clarence Avenue opens

Kids Inc Nurseries are an established group of children’s nurseries based in and around the M25 area, providing childcare and education for babies and young children from the age of 3 months to 5 years.

The latest addition to the Kids Inc Nurseries group, Clarence Avenue, is opening on Monday 6 September 2021. This purpose-built setting has the latest children’s furniture, equipment and resources, and will give your child the best start in life.

Clarence Avenue opened for a short time at the beginning of 2020, but closed soon after following the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Kids Inc Nurseries continued to provide childcare support to key worker families at their Ilford nurseries in York Road and Beehive Lane. Despite the uncertainty that the global pandemic brought, parents are now returning to work and the country is beginning to re-open, so Kids Inc Nurseries are here to help you in the best way that we can.

Clarence Avenue is located just two minutes’ walk from Gants Hill (Central Line) tube station and will be open from 7.30am until 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. All meals and snacks will be provided and fees will be inclusive of all extra-curricular activities. Parents will be kept updated about their children’s progress via Tapestry, the online learning journal.

Nursery manager, Violeta Velickiene, said:

‘With any growing child, nutrition is very important and Kids Inc Nurseries cater for a wide range of dietary and allergy requirements, including halal and vegetarian food.’

Director of Childcare and Education, Teresa Brooke, added:

‘If you are looking to register your child in an environment that will nurture, educate and inspire them, then get in touch on 020 8518 4486 and book a show round today.’

Looby Loos Day Nursery in West Yorkshire sold

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, has announced the sale of Looby Loos Day Nursery near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

Established in 1998, this beautiful purpose-built day nursery with operating capacity of up to 54 children has benefitted from an excellent reputation within the local community for over 20 years. It is located in the semi-rural village of New Mill in West Yorkshire, approximately two miles east of Holmfirth and six miles south of Huddersfield.

A fantastic opportunity to the market, after running a direct and confidential campaign, Christie & Co received multiple offers within a matter of weeks, highlighting the demand for quality settings in the region.

The nursery was previously owned by Mr Peter and Mrs Louise Kane who decided to sell to retire from the sector, and has been purchased by a growing regional operator.

Mr and Mrs Kane commented: ‘It had always been a dream of ours, so we built the nursery ourselves in 1998, and the nursery opened fully in 1999. Due to local demand, we converted more rooms after 12 months of opening. Since then, we’ve always had a great relationship with our parents in the local community.

‘We hope the new operators are able to take things to the next level and continue our ethos, looking after the children and the staff.’

Vicky Marsland, senior business agent at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, added: ‘It has been a pleasure working with Peter and Louise. The past 18 months have been difficult for the sector in many ways, but their dedication and hard work has paid off. Having been in business for over 20 years, it was important to introduce them to buyers with similar experience in the sector to be able to continue their ethos; putting the wellbeing of their staff, parents, and children first.

‘With the new academic year starting, and as more parents return to a normal working pattern, many nurseries are seeing a higher demand for children’s places along with the return of before and after school care provisions. During the pandemic, it very quickly became evident the importance of childcare not only from the perspective of parents’ needs, but more so that of the children, being in an environment to explore, learn and engage with other children is crucial to their development. As such, demand for quality childcare settings in the region has increased for both leasehold and freehold opportunities, with interest from a range of buyers from first-time operators to larger regional and national chains. It continues to be a sector favoured by banks, lenders and investors due to it having endured the pandemic, emerging strongly as we return to normality.’

Looby Loos Day Nursery was sold at an undisclosed price.

Legal advice for the vendor was supplied by Sarah Moore at Freeths.

Kids Planet acquire two Peepo Day Nursery settings

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, has announced the sale of two Peepo Day Nursery settings, one in Solihull and the other in Birmingham.

The two nurseries benefit from a ‘homely’ feel and excellent reputations. They were previously owned by Mr and Mrs White and were brought to market to allow the pair to exit the sector and spend more time with their close family.

The settings have been purchased by Kids Planet, one of the fastest growing nursery groups in the country, taking the group to 78 settings with further growth expected in the Midlands.

Mrs White commented:

‘After coming to the difficult decision to sell the settings due to family circumstances, we were approached by a variety of buyers. We very quickly decided on Kids Planet to be the new owners for many reasons. They have a wonderful ethos and vision for childcare, with their family and child-centred approach making us confident the settings will be in very good hands into the future. Kids Planet have the support systems, knowledge, and experience in place to build on the quality childcare achieved in previous years, and there is no doubt they will strive to offer the very best for the children, staff and families. They have been wonderful throughout the acquisition, and we wish them every success now and into the future.’

Jassi Sunner, associate director at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, added:

‘Mr and Mrs White needed honest and sincere advice about what their business was worth after many years of dedicated work. They entrusted me to carefully and confidentially market the nurseries and find a reputable buyer in a short period of time. After receiving a range of interest for Peepo, we were able to agree a sale within four days of coming to market and then carefully manage the sale through to completion within 10 weeks of agreeing a sale. The nurseries have a prime location in the ‘Second City’, and we are delighted to continue to develop our relationship with Kids Planet and their expansion into the Midlands.

‘The childcare market is extremely buoyant at the moment, with a range of buyers from large national groups adding to their portfolios. In the Midlands, especially, we are seeing smaller regional groups continue to grow, as well as those still in the infancy of their business adding to their existing nursery. This is creating an unprecedented amount of interest in the market, a growing number of viewings and, quite often, a best and final offer deadline which can manifest itself into a premium due to competitive tension.’

The Peepo Day Nursery settings were sold for an undisclosed price.

Ducklings Day Nursery sold to experienced operators

Ducklings Day Nursery is a well-known and highly regarded children’s day nursery with effective operating capacity for 33 children aged 0-5 years.

The business is located in the popular town of Moreton within the Wirral Peninsula, Merseyside. Occupying a convenient position in an established residential area, the nursery attracts children from the immediate locality and major neighbouring towns and is perfectly placed for parents dropping off and picking up children on their daily commute.

The nursery has been owned and operated by Mr Neil and Mrs Carol Butler since 2005, during which time it has established an excellent reputation within the local community.

Ducklings Day Nursery has been purchased by Mr Rahul and Mrs Manisha Poddar. The pair own childcare businesses in India but this is their first UK setting. They plan to learn from the staff and add their own expertise to help grow and make improvements to the current business.

Sofia Beck, associate director at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, commented:

“It’s great to see that first-time buyers have regained confidence and are once again keen to enter into this resilient sector. Rahul and Manisha expressed interest in this nursery prior to the pandemic and picked things back up earlier this year once their lender agreed to fund new business again. I’m sure this purchase will be the first of many for the couple. This is the second day nursery which Neil and Carol have sold with us after operating a successful group of five settings starting from 2004. I wish them all the best for the future endeavours and a much-deserved break.

“Buyer demand is stronger than ever in the sector and, as more and more businesses bounce back to pre-COVID levels, we are seeing many operators resume their exit strategies after holding off on decision making over the past year.”

Ducklings Day Nursery was sold for an undisclosed price.

Research explores whether professionals have the support they need to deliver effective early years education

The early years of a child’s education are among the most important in their lives.

So providing a curriculum which meets their needs, and ensuring educators have the information and support they require to deliver it, is vital.

With that in mind, a new research project at the University of Plymouth aims to explore how children up to the age of five can get the most out of early years education, whether that is delivered at home, in day nurseries, or in their first months at school.

It will also explore how early years educators can be best supported to provide this education and take advantage of existing and new best practice in teaching methods.

Funded by the Montessori Group, the project is being launched on the same day as the Department for Education’s revised Early Years Foundation Stage framework comes into force.

That framework sets the standards that school and childcare providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth up to the age of five.

To start, the new research will initially involve a series of questionnaires being directed at experts in the field on the nature of the curriculum and how it relates to child development.

The project team will then speak with groups of practitioners, including childminders and day nursery staff, to get their views and to understand how the curriculum is delivered in practice.

Once those exercises are complete, the researchers will work with the Montessori Group to develop an online module for early years educators on Appreciative Enquiry. The module will support educators to undertake Learning Walks to document their curriculum delivery and it is ultimately hoped that will become a standalone course with formal certification.

The project is the latest in a long line of research on child-centred early years education by academics in the University’s Plymouth Institute of Education.

It will be led by Associate Professor in Early Childhood Studies Dr Verity Campbell-Barr and Associate Professor Dr Jan Georgeson, working alongside Lecturer in Education (Early Childhood Studies) Dr Katherine Evans and Doctoral Teaching and Research Assistant Sasha Tragenza-May.

Dr Campbell-Barr said:

“The education children receive in the first years of their lives can often shape their future opportunities and successes. So it is important, if not essential, that it is delivered in the best possible way to support their development. With the recent revisions in the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, this project is extremely timely. It also raises important questions that seek to evidence some commonly held assumptions as to what good early years education looks like in support of child development.”

The Montessori Group, which includes teacher training provider, Montessori Centre International, has commissioned the project as part of its ongoing efforts to pursue relevant, sustainable research projects that reflect and monitor, challenge and support the important and topical issues relevant to the educational sector of the future.

It hopes to use the findings to raise the profile of the vitally important pedagogical decisions that the early years professions are faced with in the sector today

Maccs Pescatore, chief exec, Montessori Centre International says:

“In a rapidly changing world, undergoing a digital revolution and with the consequences for humanity as far-reaching as those of the industrial revolution, we believe these choices are vitally important to prepare children for the world in which they are growing up. As such, we are very interested to support discovery and exploration to develop sector confidence in the positive benefits of the Montessori approach, cross-industry and away from the more-traditional view of the perceived Montessori image”.

Karen Chetwynd, director of Academic Quality and Partnerships at Montessori Centre International, said:

“In order to ensure that we are promoting relevant and sustainable approaches to education, we need to engage with innovative sector-wide research activity that supports our high expectations and complements our vision to measure, monitor and consolidate the potential impact of high-quality pedagogy for children worldwide. We are thrilled to be working with the team at Plymouth in this endeavour.”

Support and inspiration for childcare practitioners at Childcare & Education Expo

As childcare settings across the UK return, the need for face-to-face networking, advice and inspiration has never been more crucial. Education professionals are looking for new ways to support the development of the children within their setting while adapting to a new world.

On the 24th – 25th September, Childcare & Education Expo returns to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for its 11th year. Since the launch of the renowned event in 2010, the show has welcomed over 34,000 early years and primary workers, leaders and managers. Throughout the years, visitors have attended with a shared ambition – to improve their childcare practice and the lives of children across the UK.

The show presents the exciting opportunity for the sector to finally reconnect. The free event will be the first occasion for the professionals in the industry to meet in around two years and will be the only opportunity in the next five months to prepare for the future ahead.

With an extensive list of exhibitors, there’s no time like the present to discover the exceptional new suppliers and products that are helping settings transition back with ease. Test the latest innovations and get access to their exclusive show offers and competitions.

The biggest speaker line-up in history – have your questions answered

Across the two days the event will see the biggest speaker line-up in the Expo’s history. Key speakers will include June O’Sullivan MBE, chief exec of London Early Years Foundation; Purnima Tanuku OBE, chief exec of NDNA; Professor Christine Pascal OBE, director for The Centre of Research in Early Childhood and Sarah Mackenzie, chief education & people officer at N Famly Club. Phil Minns, the specialist adviser for early years and primary education at Ofsted, will be providing updates on how inspections will consider the key aspects of the EYFS reforms.

The CPD seminar programme will also feature a number of practitioners who have first-hand experience of working on the front-line of childcare. Topics touched upon include play, SEND, Birth to 5 Matters, safe-guarding, inclusive practice and self-regulation. In free interactive workshops, the show will explore well-being through music, Reggio Emilia, language learning, stories & rhymes and even yoga for little ones!

New for 2021 – Panel debates with sector leaders

New for 2021, three panel debates will take place focusing on providing visitors with support in a number of vital areas. Have your voice heard on the future of early years following the pandemic and discuss how settings might use the Birth to 5 Matters guidance to ensure the best delivery of the EYFS.

After the recent rise in awareness for sustainable living, another panel will give invaluable direction on how early education practitioners can embed sustainable practice into their settings. Attendees will learn the lasting effects that can be made on future generations while looking at the environmental, financial and social impacts this can have on a setting.

Discover the world of Forest Schools and mindfulness activities

Another exciting new feature for 2021 is the introduction of the Interactive Forest School Zone with Cambium Sustainable, promoting the benefits of outdoor play and development. With over 20 years of experience, Cambium was one of the first forest school training organisations established in the UK!

In this new feature area, see the value of learner-led play through their range of natural materials and resources and find out how the 6 forest school principals can transform outdoor provision. Visitors will also see the ways in which forest schools can open up many holistic benefits for learners, allowing children to develop physical, emotional and psychological well-being and confidence.

Across the show floor, visitors can visit the Mindfulness Zones to immerse themselves in creativity and take a moment to relax. Here you can find the events popular mindfulness wall feature, promoting the benefits of wellness colouring – a relaxing and calming activity great for adults and children alike. Visitors can also enter the rock zone for some exciting crafts and take part in the #childedexporocks game!

Secure your place and click here to register for your free ticket today!

Safe & Secure: At the AIM Secure Accredited venue, they’re widening the aisles, supplying PPE, lateral flow tests, sanitiser stations and thermal cameras – you can be safe knowing all legal compliance, health and hygiene protocols are up-held.

The Good Childhood Report

According to the Good Childhood Report, over 300,000 children across the UK are unhappy in their lives.

The key findings included:

  • An estimated 306,000 10-15 year olds in the UK are unhappy with their lives
  • Roughly ¼ million children did not cope well with changes during the pandemic
  • Young people are particularly unhappy about school and appearance.

The review of young people’s wellbeing has found that almost 7 per cent of ten- to-15-year-olds in the UK, the equivalent of 306,000 children, are not happy with their lives, compared to 173,000 children ten years ago.

After the pandemic

Children have been incredibly resilient during the pandemic but mental health has impacted everyone.

An estimated quarter of a million have struggled. Not being able to see their friends and family would’ve taken its toll on their well-being.

Children’s decreasing happiness with aspects of their lives including school, appearance and friends is thought to be contributing to the overall decline, the charity said.

Mark Russell, chief exec of the Children’s Society, said:

‘If we are willing to listen, our young people can tell us so much about the society we live in. Over the years they have told us about the importance of relationships, their hopes and fears for our future, the damage of gender stereotypes, their experiences of Covid-19 and so much more. However, it is not enough to just listen. We must act. This year, as we report on a significant decline in children’s well-being over the last decade, I feel angry.

‘Anger can be dangerous. And so, over the last year The Children’s Society has been working hard to figure out how to channel our collective anger into something positive. We all agree that the hope and optimism of childhood is something worth fighting for. We have set ourselves an audacious goal. By 2030 we are going to overturn the damaging decline we have seen in children’s well-being over the last decade. But we won’t stop there. We are going to make sure the conditions are right for long term growth in the happiness of our young people,’

Financial sustainability health check of the childcare sector

The Scottish government has published its Financial Sustainable Health Check of the childcare sector

 In April 2021, the Scottish government began work on a Financial Sustainable Health Check to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the business sustainability of childcare providers, and to assess the impact of financial support which has been available.

The report sets out the detailed evidence and analysis that has informed the health check. According to the research:

  • The number of registered private sector childcare services has declined in each year since June 2017, although the rates of decrease were lower in the two most recent years (the years to June 2020 and to June 2021); and
  • Whilst there have been year on year decreases in the number of registered third sector services the highest rate of decline has been reported in the year to June 2021 (with the number of services declining by nearly 6% over this period).

Access to financial support during the pandemic

Since the beginning of the pandemic, childcare services have been able to access a range of financial support. The surveys asked a number of questions to establish the extent to which different types of childcare services had accessed financial support.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is a UK government scheme which has enabled employers to claim grants to cover the wages of workers furloughed since March 2020. The scheme was initially due to run until 30 May 2020, but has been extended on a number of occasions.

This report highlighted that:

  • The majority of respondents to the survey reported that they had accessed support through the CJRS at some point since March 2020
  • School age childcare only services were the most likely to have accessed the CJRS (95%), whilst services in the third sector were least likely (73%)
  • At the time of the survey some services were still accessing support through the CJRS.

Increase in costs

Respondents to the survey were given the opportunity to set out more details as to what factors had driven any changes in their costs of delivery between March 2020 and at the point of completing the survey. The factors highlighted included:

  • Increased cleaning costs were the most commonly reported factor – this covered both the additional supplies required as well as additional staff time
  • PPE costs, with some respondents mentioning in particular significant increases in the cost of purchasing gloves
  • Meeting the public health guidance for the sector, in particular working with the smaller cohorts (bubbles) which required more staff
  • Costs associated with staff having to self-isolate
  • Increase in insurance premiums.
  • Costs of needing to pay staff the Real Living Wage
  • Costs per hour has declined as less children attending the service
  • Increase in the cost of IT equipment.

Jonathan Broadbery, director of policy and communications at National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said:

‘It is important for the Scottish Government to understand what’s happening to early learning and childcare settings across the country. This is a welcome report looking at the concerns of providers and echoes evidence we have given of settings facing higher costs and reduced incomes during the pandemic.

‘While we welcome this report from the Scottish Government, we still have concerns over the sustainable rate in some areas following our own research which showed a number of councils had not increased the rates they were paying to providers. This resulted in a real-terms cut to funding for children’s places. We are pleased that the Scottish Government is planning to strengthen the sustainable rate but this process needs to ensure settings will receive rates that cover their costs and enable them to re-invest in delivering high quality provision for their children.

‘It’s positive that the government has recognised the issue of lost staff from private and voluntary settings and promised actions to improve recruitment and retention in the ELC workforce following campaigning by NDNA Scotland and our members. We have provided lots of evidence about this workforce crisis over the past few years and are pleased that it will now be a priority.’

Cheshire nurseries group sold to experienced operator

Redwoods Dowling Kerr recently facilitated the sale of Cheshire based nursery group Rosebank Nurseries.

Registered for a combined capacity of 200 children, Rosebank Nurseries is formed of 3 settings: The Rosebank Centre, Rosebank Naturegarten and The Lakes Centre. The settings accommodate children from 3 months to 11 years of age and operates out of school and holiday clubs.

Since its establishment in 1991, the group has garnered an enviable reputation in Cheshire for providing high-quality childcare provisions. This was recognised by Ofsted in the nurseries’ most recent assessments with two settings receiving an ‘Outstanding’ rating and the remaining setting achieving a ‘Good’ rating.

Additionally, the group holds several accreditations and awards such as 5-Star Hygiene Awards, NDNA e-Quality Counts (awarded at the highest level) and Accredited Level of the Early Years Nutrition Partnership Quality Mark.

The owners wished to sell after 30 years in the sector and instructed RDK in the sale.

The business was sold to Mandy Herrington, an experienced operator and owner of Bowdon Nursery School and Heather Grove Montessori Nursery. As a qualified and experienced operator, Mandy Herrington was attracted to Rosebank Nurseries due to the excellent location and the opportunity to acquire a small, reputable group.

The vendors are delighted with the results of the sale and are now enjoying their hard-earned retirement. Mandy Herrington plans to get to know all members of staff and familiarise herself with the structure, working with everyone to integrate it into her group.

Sales negotiator Sarah Ellison said:

It has been a pleasure to work with the vendors. It is always a massive decision to sell any business, but we believe Mandy has the vast knowledge and experience that the vendors were looking for. I would like to wish Mandy all the best with the new group and the vendors a well-deserved retirement.’

Montessori Group announces the appointment of Professor Sugata Mitra

Montessori Group has appointed Professor Sugata Mitra to the Board of Trustees for a term of three years from September 2021.

Sugata Mitra is Emeritus Professor at NIIT University in Rajasthan, India, and was previously Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University. At Montessori Group, he joins a diverse Board of Trustees chaired by author, inspirational speaker and chief exec of Nosh Detox, Geeta Sidhu- Robb.

Professor Mitra brings a wealth of experience of conducting and guiding research in children’s education to the board. He is best known for his Hole in the Wall experiment, where a computer was embedded in a wall in an Indian slum and children were allowed to freely use it. The experiment aimed at proving that children would learn to use computers and the internet without any formal training. Professor Mitra termed this Minimally Invasive Education.

He has a PhD in Theoretical Physics and is credited with more than 25 inventions in the area of cognitive science and educational technology.

Montessori Group chief exec, Leonor Stjepic, said:

‘We are very pleased to welcome Sugata Mitra to the Board of Trustees. He brings extensive experience and understanding of children’s education, which will be of great benefit to us in terms of research, which is a key part of our strategy going forward.’

Professor Mitra said:

‘I am delighted to be joining the Board of Trustees. My research often reflected Maria Montessori’s findings, so this appointment seems fitting. During my term as Trustee, we plan to conduct some high-quality research on children’s education that has visible impact.’

This appointment is one of a number of appointments that include The Duchess of York Sara Ferguson, being asked to be Chair of the new International Montessori Ambassadors group that will help the organisation reach more children.