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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 – Welcoming Tigers Childcare to the UK

  • Tigers Childcare launched in 2003 when its CEO, Karen Clince saw a gap in the Irish market for high-quality after school childcare. The company then expanded to deliver early years services across the greater Dublin region. In this interview, Karen speaks to Briony Richter about Tigers journey and opening in the UK market.



Training – A research project into the impact of Covid-19 on early years settings

  • Reacting to the changes Covid-19 presents has allowed many settings to re-evaluate and adapt. Gill Mason, head of training & development at Kids Planet Day Nurseries talks about a research project into the impact of Covid-19.



Spotlight – Big on supporting Co-op Childcare colleagues to feel safe

  • Despite the ongoing impact of Covid-19, OakNorth Bank continues to look ahead at opportunities across the early years sector. Stuart Blair, debt finance director at OakNorth Bank speaks to Briony Richter about its approach to clients and its activity across nurseries.



Special Feature – The Fennies ethos

  • Over the last decade the childcare industry has become fiercely competitive, nurseries are now offering much more then ‘traditional childcare’ and providers are having to evolve to make their mark in the sector. With parents becoming more aware of the importance of child development during children’s crucial early years, parents are seeking out nursery providers with a unique offering.


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Navigating the new reality

There are many things that we have all learnt from the pandemic both at home and at work. For me, at home I realised that my cooking skills have not really improved but it’s always good to know your smoke alarm works.

On a more serious note, this pandemic has taught me the importance of clear and encouraging communication. Sometimes we all need a little prod to realise more effective ways of communicating.

That is why I spoke to Sally Bonnar, chief operating officer at Co-op Childcare. For her, improving the wellbeing of staff and children was imperative and communication was part of her strategy. Having a consistent and two-way conversation between the employer and the employee massively reduces anxieties and builds confidence.

As the nation grapples with the new normal, the relationship among teams is even more important. These are still very stressful times for everyone. That includes the managers as well as staff members and it’s crucial that the team dynamic stays positive and supportive.

Then Gill Mason, head of training and development at Kids Planet detailed the recent research she conducted in collaboration with Dr Joan Walton, a senior lecturer at York. Her research showed that with new challenges and opportunities presented, many practitioners actually found themselves with an increased sense of value and confidence. Of course, you’ll have to head to Training article to find out what else the research detailed.

It was fantastic to speak with Karen Clince, CEO of Tigers Childcare who entered the UK market only a few weeks before lockdown was announced. She details her Tigers journey and the difficulties around entering a new market.

The edition is filled with experts who have worked in and supported the early years sector. However, it is important to note that the battle isn’t over yet. Neil Leitch goes into a lot more detail in our Hot Topics section but the current research is very worrying.

Analysis from the Early Years Alliance has found that there are nearly 19,000 childcare providers in England that are at risk of closing over the next 12 months with many other settings saying that they are unlikely to reopen over the course of a year.

The sector has really pulled together to support each other but they shouldn’t have to be doing all the extra leg work. Navigating the new challenges will be a long journey and there is no doubt that the Government needs to very quickly step up to ensure as many settings as possible can survive. There will be more hurdles ahead but good communication will help teams work better together despite what is thrown at them.

Briony Richter
Editor, Nursery Management Today