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Make way, the future is flexible

  • Flexible hours allow employees with varied responsibilities to come and go when they need to, and then catch up on lost hours when they have the free time, for instance after their children are in bed. Susan McGhee explains why flexible working is necessary for our society.



An interview with Jennie:
Looking back on her Kids Allowed journey

  • Sue Churchill sat down with Sarah Mackenzie, N Family Club’s education director, to talk about what rethinking early education means for them, what’s behind their ambitious talk and why working at N really is a family affair.



Keeping it openand fun outdoors

  • It’s very clear that overall, healthy and happy children do better in school. But education is not just about lessons within the four walls of a classroom. Being outdoors in nature encourages a whole new set of skills. Looking ahead, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a surge in outdoor nurseries as the way we teach children constantly evolves. Briony Richter speaks to Lisa Behan, chief operating officer and Conor Williams, operations manager at Little Forest Folks about their vision for the great outdoors and education



Getting through Covid-19 will require collaboration
and trust

  • It’s a worrying time for the early years sector, but those working across the sector are resilient and experienced people who, together will be able to support each other and call for more Government support. Rosemary Collard, director of Snapdragons Nurseries talks about the impact of Covid-19


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What strange times we live in

I started my role as editor on February 24 and despite the stranglehold of Covid-19 I have been able to speak to many of you. Indeed, I met a lot of fantastic people at our NMT Estate, Acquisition & Expansion Forum and I look forward to working with all of you going forward. I also want to applaud Sue, for all the years she has given to NMT and for her support in handing it over to me.

We’re all adjusting to our new reality. Covid-19 has paralysed the entire world, pausing society from the present and taking a step back from normality. Scenes of lines for toilet paper and masked people were never familiar until very recently, and I’m often surprised at how normal it seems now. Governments around the world have issued nationwide lockdowns, shut schools and nurseries and closed borders to stop the pandemic spreading. It has put a huge strain on the early years sector and although we welcome the financial support packages from the Government, it is absolutely essential that these get to businesses and the self-employed immediately to help them weather the crisis. It does seem that the British public are, on the whole, adhering to Government advice to stay indoors as much as possible. It is up to all of us to play our part. Therefore, to ensure that we are complying with the guidance, we will take Nursery Management Today digital for the foreseeable future. This was not an easy decision but it was the right one and all content will be available for you, our subscribers. Despite this, the virus has proven that even in the worst of times, humanity will band together.

During my time as editor, albeit it has not been long, I have seen those across the nursery and early years sector join forces to support each other, lobby the Government and start online support groups to share information and strategies. It is massively important to keep communications between each other open and accessible and I will be here to do my part as well. I have also enjoyed reading some of the heart-warming stories that are emerging around the world; children using their pocket money to buy shopping for their elderly neighbours; entire apartment complexes in Italy ringing with patriotic Italian songs and beautiful accordion tunes, and businesses turning their focus to making hand sanitisers and masks. The same positivity came through in the people I spoke to across the past couple of months.

In this issue, I speak to Jennie Johnson, MBE about her time in the sector and what she will miss the most. We hear about the benefits of flexible working from Susan McGhee – a style that we are all having to adapt to and I feel, after Covid-19 has passed, will become far more common. Rosemary Collard discusses how important it is that to show staff how much they are valued during tough times. These are uncertain and worrying times for our society. But together we will all come out on the other side of this crisis, ready to help bring things back to normal.

Stay indoors, stay safe and take care.

Briony Richter
Editor, Nursery Management Today