NMT Nursery Agenda North

The NMT Nursery Agenda headed back to Leeds on 25th April 2017. This popular event uses a well-proven and much appreciated formula to offer nursery owners, managing directors and operations directors, as well as organisations providing products and services to the nursery sector, the opportunity to meet and decide whether they wish to do business together. The event also offered those attending the chance to update themselves on the key issues in the nursery sector and meet some of the leading personalities.

Top of the Agenda

Directors and senior managers from 36 nursery businesses from Cumbria right down to Cheshire streamed into Oulton Hall, Leeds on 25 April with smiling faces. The reason for their high spirits? NMT Nursery Agenda North. But would this business-to-business event meet last year’s all-time high? The mix everyone now expects is short, effective meetings with suppliers, the chance to network, early years updates and everything a good hotel offers – all for free.

This was the second Agenda in Leeds and the second too for Ian Thompson, director of Funcare in Harrogate, who came back because “it worked so well last time”. What he liked was that it brought them in touch with new suppliers. Case in point: after the last Agenda, the group bought a management software programme, which “is doing very well and has freed up a lot of time for the person using it”. Nick Porter, director of 1st Safari Day Nurseries in West Yorkshire, added: “All the suppliers and services were focused and working in early years. So, we didn’t have to explain to a new supplier who we were.”

Hot Topics Q&A Session

A session that provided a taster for the NMT Nursery Management Conversation, Hot Topics was chaired by editor-in chief, Richard Hawkins, who, having established that the majority was in favour of the election, helped them put together a checklist for the government. They should:

  • act on consultations
  • treat businesses in all sectors the same make nurseries VAT-exempt
  • put a hold on business rates
  • fund the 30-hour childcare properly and make it more flexible

Among those urging action was Graham Abbott from Shine Childcare, who said, “If car manufacturers were told to sell cars at a discounted rate they’d sue the government”. Offering a solution to this, Nicole Politis, director of Portico Nursery Group, said all the nurseries in her catchment area banded together and got the local authority to increase the rate. Did everyone enjoy it? A resounding yes, certainly from first timer, Ursula Krystek-Walton from Bertram Nursery group, who enthused: “It was a really useful session and reassuring to hear that others in the sector are experiencing similar challenges at the moment as well as sharing ideas to overcome barriers.”

Raffle Prizes

All the nurseries gathered for the prize draw of the raffle where three amazing products were up for grabs: The New Sand and Water Table from Community Playthings’ Outlast Range, a year’s free subscription to iConnect, from Connect Childcare and lastly a year’s free subscription to Blossom’s Early Years Learning Journey plus a 32GB iPad from Blossom Educational! The lucky nursery Playdays Day Nursery won the Community Playthings prize, Kids Planet won the subscription to iConnect and Poppy and Jack’s Nursery & Pre-school won the subscription from Blossom Educational. A huge thanks to Community Playthings, Connect Childcare and Blossom Educational for donating these fabulous prizes!


Thank you to our Sponsors of NMT Nursery Agenda South:

  • Redwoods Dowling Kerr – Main Sponsor
  • Route2 Education Technology – Event Dinner


Providers who attended were:

  • 1st Safari Day Nurseries Ltd
  • Ashworth View & Heaton Park View Nursery
  • Bertram Nursery Group
  • Bright Beginnings Childcare Centre
  • Brighter Beginnings Day Nursery Ltd
  • Brooklands Childcare Ltd
  • Childs Play, Claremont Nursery Co-operative Ltd
  • Cliffe House
  • Dunky’s Day Nurseries
  • Evolution Childcare
  • Funcare Ltd & Funclubs Ltd
  • Jesmond Nursery
  • Kaleidoscope Day Nurseries Ltd
  • Kids Allowed
  • Kids Planet
  • Kids Zone Nurseries
  • Le Monde Petit Ltd
  • Leap Ahead Nurseries
  • Little Green Rascals Organic Day Nurseries
  • Monton Village Nursery School LTD & Clarendon Cottage School LTD
  • Mulberry Bush Nursery Group
  • Northumbria University Nursery Ltd
  • Paper Moon Day Nurseries
  • Playdays Daycare Nursery Ltd
  • Polly Anna’s Day Nursery
  • Poppy & Jacks Limited
  • Portico Day Nurseries
  • Primley Park Children’s Nurseries Limited
  • Rosy Apple Childcare Ltd
  • Shine Childcare Ltd
  • Sunbeams Day Nursery
  • The Sunflower Group
  • Tinies Childcare North West
  • WMB Childcare Limited

Suppliers who attended:

  • Blossom Educational
  • Community Playthings
  • Connect Childcare
  • daynurseries.co.uk
  • dot2dot
  • Early Years Direct
  • ERIC
  • eyLog
  • Famly
  • FirstSteps Software
  • Hope Education
  • Lifetime Training
  • Millhouse Manufacturing & Design
  • Morton Michel
  • Ontex Healthcare – Freelife by Bebecash
  • Redwoods Dowling Kerr – Main Sponsor
  • Route 2 Education Technology
  • Shout Aloud
  • The Consortium Early Years
  • The Learning Escape by TG Escapes
  • The Service Directory
  • Timotay Playscapes
  • TTS Group Ltd
  • Wesco
  • YPO
  • Creative Play

 If you are a nursery owner / managing director / operations director and would like to attend this unique event in future, or, if you are a supplier and would like to book space or a sponsorship package, please contact Caroline Bowern, email: caroline@hawkerpublications.com


Last year….

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Success in the north

Directors and senior managers from across the region streamed into Oulton Hall in Leeds, for the much-anticipated Nursery Agenda North in April. The consensus was it exceeded all expectations.

Of course, a major attraction was, as always, the short, timed sessions with suppliers. But, in common with all the Agendas nationwide and in Scotland, this event really hit the networking spot. Lively conversation characterised the day – from registration, through the buffet lunch right up to the drinks reception and dinner.

Legal Q&A

All of this came free. And free too was expert advice from Stephensons Solicitors LLP, our special guests at the Q&A session. Partner, Rachel Adamson, outlined the major problems facing nurseries that could require legal support:

• Ofsted compliance, a real issue now that providers are reporting disproportionate reactions to minor breaches particularly in safeguarding

• the possibility of committing an offence that could lead to a caution and even prosecution – and the weight an Ofsted inspector’s evidence has

• what to do if you are cautioned.

She then outlined how to protect your business in advance and what to do after the event.


The response

Jackie Hyde, who chaired the session, asked people to raise their hands if they would like advice and help on these issues included in their insurance packages. There was a majority for yes.

Potential benefits

Jackie explained how the event came about:
“Recently what has stood out is concerns around Ofsted inspections and the financial impact this was having on nursery businesses. When we were approached directly by a client to find legal support to challenge Ofsted, Stephensons Solicitors were an obvious partner.
“The next step was to get to the heart of the problem by speaking to other nursery owners and managers. The response we received from delegates in the Hot Topics session has been very positive and invaluable to us. We now look forward to further discussions with Stephensons and dot2dot insurers to take this concept further.”

Feedback on the day

So, what did the delegates think of the day overall, which, as usual, included a free overnight stay and meals? Jenna Caldwell and Jayne Haynes from Treetops Nurseries, enthused: “What a vibrant and informative day this has been. We are so glad we attended and will definitely be back!”
Lesley and Dave Pollitt from Cosy Toes Nursery were particularly impressed by the digital products, loved the setting and thought the event was “well organised but informal – which is perfect”.

Mega raffles

Even more delighted were the raffle winners. Nick and Anthea Porter from 1st Safari Day Nurseries won a year’s subscription to eyMan, the new management software package produced by the eyLog team to complement their educational software.

As pleased were Lesley Maughan and Yona Smith from Tots ‘n’ Tykes, who won an Outlast set from Community Playthings, an outdoor construction and climbing kit that, as the name suggests, is virtually indestructible.
A big thank you to:
Redwoods Dowling Kerr, the overall sponsor
Stephensons, who sponsored the drinks reception
dot2dot, who sponsored the dinner



Nursery groups who attended were…

  • Mulberry Bush
  • Kids Allowed
  • Twinkles Nurseries
  • Brighter Beginnings
  • Primley Park Nurseries
  • Monton Village Nursery & Clarendon Prep-School & Nursery
  • Kids Planet
  • Kaleidoscope Day Nursery
  • Paper Moon Nurseries
  • 1st Safari Day Nurseries Ltd
  • Swineshead Pre-School Centre
  • Funcare Ltd
  • NHD Ltd
  • Bright Beginnings
  • Evolution Childcare
  • For Under Fives
  • Tiddlywinks Day Nursery Ltds
  • Tots n Tykes Ltd
  • Sunflower Group
  • Children’s Corner Childcare
  • Heywood Early Years
  • Dunkys Day Nurseries
  • Lancashire Childcare/Le Petit Monde Ltd
  • Tinies Childcare Nurseries
  • Cliffe House Day
  • Cosy Toes Childcare Ltd
  • Bright Start Day Nurseries (Hull) Ltd
  • Birkbees Nurseries
  • Treetops
  • Rosy Apple Childcare
  • Stepping Stones Creche (N.Ireland)
  • Boat House Day Nursery
  • Children’s Place Day Nurseries
  • Sunbeams Ltd
  • Portico Day Nurseries
  • Just Childcare

Suppliers who attended were…

  • Shout Aloud
  • Dot2Dot
  • Early Years Direct
  • Digital Nursery
  • Timotay
  • TTS Group
  • Redwoods Dowling Kerr – Main Sponsor
  • Millhouse
  • Gompels
  • Findel/Hope Education
  • First Steps
  • EyLog
  • The Consortium Early Years
  • Community Playthings
  • TG Escapes
  • daynurseries.co.uk
  • Wesco
  • Pepper Stacey Ltd
  • Connect Childcare
  • Butterfly Print
  • T4Kids
  • The Service Directory
  • YPO
  • BNG Training
  • Famly


  • Redwoods Dowling Kerr – Main Sponsor
  • Dot2Dot – Dinner Sponsor
  • Stephensons’ Solicitors LLP – Drinks Reception Sponsor

If you are a nursery owner / managing director / operations director and would like to attend a Nursery Agenda, or, if you are a supplier and would like to book space or a sponsorship package, please contact Caroline Bowern, email: caroline@hawkerpublications.com