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Are you a sharer? Do you have a particular management or training expertise or maybe an experience in your setting that your colleagues in the sector might be interested in? If you think there’s an article in it, then email the editor at It could make the pages of NMT.


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Focus – A free for all?

  • Is Scotland going the way of England and Wales with ‘free’ childcare? asks Sue Churchill, or is the situation even worse?




Catering – Cracking the obesity problem

  • Sarah West discusses what can be learned from Leeds City Council’s successes with the HENRY programme, which has reduced obesity rates for children





Hot Topics – Being Charitable

  • Have you been thinking about changing the status of your nursery business to that of a not-for-profit organisation? Susan McGhee, who has set up a new charity, clarifies the financial situation



Sue Churchill, Editor

Sue Churchill, Editor

Just like me…

Most of us want to be liked, but I think we would all agree that something is not quite right if it becomes a guiding principle in our lives. But what if we extend that principle to nursery businesses, where the client is often influenced by the ambience of the setting? Is that any more than just liking the childcare you have developed?

In that case, it’s a good idea to find out what your clients like and model your nursery on that, which could mean specialising along the lines of a forest, beach or music-centred school. But it could also lead to a range of highly marketable add-ons. So, do you try to please all of the people all of the time or find your specialism and develop it?

That’s the question we asked for this issue and you can read the varying viewpoints in our Focus article by Zoe Raven of Acorn Early Years Foundation, Purnima Tanuku of NDNA fame, who wrote this issue’s Viewpoint column and Dawn Nasser, who, in the management column, explains why, as a Montessori nursery, she decided to follow the logical conclusion: becoming a school providing mixed-age teaching.

What all three agree on is that it is crucial to establish what makes your nursery business special – your unique selling point or USP. So, maybe that’s the answer to the question: diversify or specialise? Read on to find out more. Of course, that’s not all we have for you in this issue. There are two articles about early years in China. Cheryl Hadland suggested providing an overview of the April’s World Early Years Forum in Macau, but as delegates were also offered the chance to visit two schools offering early years, she couldn’t resist it. Her response to these schools makes for interesting reading, particularly for those of you thinking of expanding overseas.

Toni Buchan and Debbie Gunn, both nursery owners and consultants, explore another option in the training column: their seven days in Beijing running a bespoke training course they put together for staff from a nursery business that operates 10 settings across East China. Forget your preconceptions and draw inspiration from their experiences. Back to the UK. We welcome back our gardening expert, Francis Smith, who, with a new baby, found he had more than enough to do, facing that welcome challenge on top of his primary gardening business. We might say, join the club, Francis. And what a club, eh?


Sue Churchill

Editor, Nursery Management Today