2016 NMT Nursery Top 20






NMT Nursery Top 10 Most Influential 2016

Mike Abbott, The Co-operative Childcare

Linda Baston-Pitt, The Old School House Nursery

Samantha Britton, Mon Ami Nurseries

Katie Landreth, The Natural Childcare Company Limited

Ken McArthur, Polly Annas Nursery

Susan McGhee, BNG Training Ltd

Catriona Nason, NEyTCO

Kate Peach, Each Peach Childcare

Sarah Steel, The Old Station Nursery

John Warren, Fennies Day Nurseries Ltd



NMT Nursery Top 5 Most Inspirational 2016

Carolynn Fletcher, Swineshead Pre School Centre

Jean Hudson, Queenborough community Nursery (London Early Years Foundation – LEYF)

Rachael Lyons, Elmscot Group

Sarah Mackenzie, Childbase Partnership

Diane Wycherley, Tops Day Nurseries




NMT Nursery Top 5 Business Index 2016

Asquith Day Nurseries and Pre-school


Fennies Day Nurseries Ltd

Fennies [4col]

Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries Ltd


Portico Nursery Group

Portico logo

The Co-operative Childcare

TCC logo


To be held on 2nd June 2016 at Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf, London

NMT magazine, with the help of Barclays, launched the NMT Nursery Top 20 in 2014. Each year the finalists have gathered at a glittering Awards Night held on the 31st floor of the Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf.

2016 will see the return of this event but in a slightly different format. The Top 20 will consist of: the Top 10 Most Influential People; the 5 Most Inspirational People and the Top 5 from the Nursery Business Index.


InfluentialNursery Top 10 Most Influential

Some people are making a huge difference to the Under 5s childcare/early years sector. Every year NMT magazine, supported by Barclays, wish to discover, recognise and reward the 10 people who are most influential within the whole sector, including all aspects of childcare provision, training and development, education, business and finance, and organisational support.

Nursery Top 5 most inspirationalInspirational

Some people are making a huge difference to the Under 5s childcare/early years sector at a local level. NMT magazine, supported by Barclays, wish to discover, recognise and reward 5 people who are inspirational within their own organisation and/or community. We are searching for exceptional local people who are making a significant difference to the children within their care and their parents, and are an inspiration to the people who work round them.

Nursery Top 5 Business IndexIndex

Some Nursery Businesses are enjoying exceptional financial and business success. We would like to recognise the top 5 most successful businesses. Only businesses with 5 or more settings are eligible for this Award.



Last year…


We are pleased to announce that after a fabulous evening, the winner of the 2015 NMT Nursery Top 20 was:


Purnima Tanuku

Chief Executive,
National Day Nurseries Association



Runners-up were:
Laura Henry
Managing Director, Laura Henry Consultancy
June O’Sullivan
Chief Executive of London Early Years Foundation


Continuing to recognise excellence


The most influential and inspirational people in childcare gathered at a glittering Awards Night on the 21st May held on the 31st floor of the Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf. They voted Purnima Tanuku, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association as the most influential person in childcare in 2015. They also voted as runners up: Laura Henry, Managing Director of Laura Henry Consultancy and June O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of London Early Years Foundation.

Organised by NMT Magazine with support from Barclays and six commercial partners, the purpose of NMT Top 20 (2015) was to discover, recognise and reward the people who are most influential within the whole sector. As well as recognising the 20 most influential people, awards were also handed to five childcare professionals who, regardless of post, have proved inspirational to colleagues, children and parents in their local childcare setting.

Dr Richard Hawkins, Editor-in-Chief, NMT said the event was a huge success. ‘We are very proud of the nursery sector and the many outstanding people who work within it offering superb care to such important members of our communities. NMT Nursery Top 20 recognises the people who are really driving the sector forward and offers them an opportunity to share and spread their positive influence to a wider audience’.

‘We look forward to recognising many more brilliant people in the childcare sector within NMT Nursery Top 20 next year’.


The finalists this year were:

Andrew Clifford – Managing Director, First Class Childcare Group
Andrew shows passion and dedication to Early Years. He’s inspirational in leadership of his team at FCCC. He’s reflective and at the same time innovative which inspires people around him to aspire to be part of his vision and next steps.

Laura Henry – Managing Director, Laura Henry Consultancy
Laura is an inspirational and dedicated Early Years sector colleague. She is a kind, passionate and totally selfless human being, always giving so much to others in terms of her time and expertise.
Laura makes herself freely available to delegates she has trained by providing them with her contact details so they can contact her after training sessions.

Jill Johnson – Managing Director & Founder, Twinkles Nurseries LTD
Jill lives and breaths childcare, she is so passionate in what she does and is so dedicated to ensuring that all of the five nurseries she owns run to the highest standard. Jill goes the extra mile ensuring that the 1000 + children that currently attend her settings receive the highest level of care and early years education.

Neil Leitch – CEO, Pre-School Learning Alliance
Neil is absolutely committed to representing the needs and concerns of the wider early years sector, and the families they support. Never one to sit on the fence, Neil is honest, straightforward and outspoken – early years practitioners know that they can rely on him speak candidly and challenge government policy whenever needed.

Catherine Lyon – Director, EASYsolution 4 NURSERY EDUCATION
Catherine is a dedicated mother, practitioner who owns two nurseries, an award winning training and assessment centre and EASYsolution 4 NURSERY EDUCATION – a web based curriculum software.
She constantly multi-tasks, always demonstrates a caring and friendly nature and is available to her staff, new – current customers, for support 24/7.

Linda Maurice – Director / Co owner, Old School House Day Nursery and Training centre
Linda can be described as a whirl wind never resting on her laurels. Her positivity, passion for life and boundless enthusiasm is infectious and affects all around her. Her drive to succeed is underpinned by her desire to support and enable the people she works with to become the best that can be and to grow and flourish.

Ken McArthur – Nursery Owner, Polly Annas Nursery
Ken became involved with early years over 17 years ago. He soon got an interest in matters that impacted on the early year’s sector and day-care particularly. He was founder of the NDNA Network in York to help in supporting NDNA members and their dealings with the local authority. Ken was awarded a ‘Members Champion’ award by the NDNA in 2007 for his services to NDNA Members.

Susan McGhee – Director Bertram Nursery Group Ltd and BNG Training Ltd
Susan is a confident, knowledgeable individual with strong leadership capabilities. She is hardworking, supportive, driven to achieve targets, and always willing to get involved to make a difference where it matters. She is a supportive leader and encourages her team to be strong, proactive decision makers.

Ross Midgley – Director, People and Business Development
Ross’ passion for the Early Years sector is unquestioned. He has an all encompassing intellectual understanding of the sector both in terms of politics as well as finance. His finger is always on the pulse with regards to any developments and changes and he is in constant communication with those at the forefront of these decisions.

Andy Morris – Managing Director, Asquith Day Nurseries and Preschools
Andy has ingrained an ethos within Asquith that ‘The safety and wellbeing of the children and staff is our number one priority.’ His passion is to make sure that every child deserves the best start in life. His personal contact with people in the company at all levels, means that he treats everybody as family and will support any situation.

Inez Murray – Manager/Owner, Four Seasons Nurseries
Inez has a remarkable determination, drive and commitment in supporting the ambition to provide the best possible care and education for babies, young children and young people. Her mantra is “every day’s a learning day” and it echoes in the corridors of our nurseries every day!

June O’Sullivan – CEO, LEYF
June O’Sullivan MBE is chief executive the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), which runs 31 nurseries across 11 London boroughs. An inspiring speaker, author and regular commentator on Early Years, Social Business and Child Poverty, June has been instrumental in achieving a major strategic and cultural shift for the award winning London Early Years Foundation, resulting in increased profile and profitability over the past 10 years.

Kate PeachManaging Director/Nursery Owner, Each Peach Childcare
Kate has devoted her professional career to developing and creating the best opportunities for the children in her care. Kate influences others by inspiring them to want to achieve greatness, she can show case great practice and skill and is not afraid to get back down to basics and work at all levels within her setting. She is focused not only on her individual setting but the childcare industry as a whole.

Ruth Pimentel – Chief Executive, Toad Hall Nursery Group
Ruth’s passion for childcare shines through in everything she does. Her caring nature, knowledge and understanding of childcare and Early Years learning make her stand out from the crowd. It is her vast knowledge and experience, but also her personality that makes parents, children, colleagues and peers agree that Ruth has been influential and inspirational to the world of childcare.

Sarah Rotundo – Director, Childbase Partnership
In only 10 years Sarah has progressed from an unqualified Early Years Assistant to a Director of a leading childcare company. She has achieved this through her passion, determination and strategic outlook. She has an astute understanding of early years, and is extremely solution-focused and energetic. Sarah has volunteered with children in Africa and Asia and worked as a charity Trustee.

Sarah Steel – Managing Director, The Old Station Nursery Ltd
Sarah is a strong and impassioned leader. Her determination to make a difference to Early Years is an inspiration to us all. Not only does she strive for the very best for the families of The Old Station Nursery, but works tirelessly within the sector, both locally and nationally, to improve outcomes for the Early Years.

Purnima Tanuku – CEO, NDNA
Purnima is driven, tenacious, determined and focused on receiving the best results for the childcare sector and the highest quality for children whose families choose day nursery provision.

Chris Townson – Director, Toybox Great Denham Ltd
Chris has a fiery passion for the Early Years Sector, wanting fairness and the very best for our youngest people in society. Chris is a strong professional business leader, who motivates the staff to want to continually deliver outstanding childcare and education.

Deborah Troup – Manager/Owner, Little Treasures Nursery
Deborah managed, owned and has run Little Treasures Nursery for over 15 years. Her aim and achievement was to provide a high quality affordable childcare for the local community and give career and training opportunities to those who share her passion for children and childcare.

Penny Webb – Childminder, Penny’s Place
Penny is a warm and caring person and has been willing to share her own experiences both negative and positive in an open and warm way. This openness has gained her the trust and respect of other childminders and colleagues in the sector as she has demonstrated a willingness to share and support colleagues when things are tough.



The panel of three independent judges included Ian Murchie, Relationship Director of Barclays Healthcare and Education Team, Sue Robb, National Head of Early Years 4children and Richard Dorrance, Chair of Training Qualifications UK


The six commercial partners were Asquith Nurseries, the Childcare Company, Connect Childcare, the Consortium Early Years, Dot-to-Dot, and Childcare.co.uk.


The NMT Nursery Top 20 dinner was held at
Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf in the City of London on the 21st May 2015.

CLICK HERE to meet the winners of the
2015 NMT Childcare Listing of Five Most Inspirational People






The winner of the 2014 NMT Childcare Power 20 was:

Neil Leitch – Chief Executive Officer, Pre-school Learning Alliance

Runners-up were:
June O’SullivanCEO, London Early Years Foundation
Purnima Tanuku CEO, National Day Nurseries Association


The finalists for the 2014 NMT Childcare Power 20 were:

AbbottMike AbbottGroup General Manager, The Co-operative Childcare
Mike is extremely passionate about his role and demonstrates both determination and dedication when it comes to implementing best practice in his own organisation and beyond. Mike’s commitment to the sector is reflected in how the business has grown from 6 to 48 nurseries under his leadership over the last 4 years.

ChurchleyPeter ChurchleyManaging Director, Caring Daycare
Peter is an excellent businessman and consummate professional who understands the Early Years Foundation Stage and is committed to delivering quality practice throughout his settings. Peter is an excellent manager who allows his staff autonomy and is very involved in their professional development.

DenbyNigel DenbyHead of Nutrition, Grub4Life
Nigel is a registered dietician who has devoted his efforts to building www.grub4life.org.uk to provide a much needed resource for Health Professionals and Childcare Practitioners. The company has been built has been built on Nigel’s passion and a belief that good nutrition should start from an early age, and good health is the foundation for good learning.

EdmondCarole Edmond – Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Bright Horizons Family Solutions
Carole believes in making the impossible possible and consistently drives pursuance of goals and innovation. Her down to earth manner and sharp sense of humour helps her to engage others at all levels and she is able to capture hearts and minds to make things happen.

HadlandCheryl Hadland – Managing Director, Hadland Care Group
Cheryl is the founder and managing director and her passion for the childcare sector is infectious. A truly inspirational leader, her passion for excellent childcare is always embedded in our training and practice as well as through her voluntary work she does for the childcare sector with the Government. She is an excellent role model.

HarrisMichelle HarrisManaging Director, Rhymetime and Woodleys Day Nurseries
Michelle is a determined, infectious and undaunted champion of Early Years education and the practitioners that choose this career. She embraces all aspects of the industry with a ‘can do’, ‘will do’ approach and inspires staff at all levels with her commitment, hard work and dedication.

HenryLaura HenryManaging Director, Laura Henry Consultancy
Laura is a dynamic, engaging and friendly person who has a true passion for Early Years. She has a wealth of experience in the sector having worked in nurseries and then went on to become an OFSTED inspector, before setting up her own business to share best practice, train leaders and teams and provide a ‘critical friend’ to many nurseries.

JohnsonJennie JohnsonCEO & Founder, Kids Allowed
Jennie is an inspirational leader and also an influential character within the childcare sector – she has a passion for high quality childcare which she is able to infect everybody around her through hard work & dedication.

JonesSue JonesFounder and Owner, Kids Academy
Sue has a passion and drive for Early Years that is infectious to all who meet her. Sue has established an outstanding Nursery Group of her own in the UK and also an outstanding Nursery Group in the UAE. Sue has achieved global recognition of her Kids Academy brand through gritty hard work and determination.

LeitchNeil LeitchChief Executive Officer, Pre-school Learning Alliance
Neil’s honest, professional and likeable approach and manner has stood him in good stead when campaigning for what he truly believes: that all children, regardless of background, deserve the best possible start in their lives. Neil is never afraid to take a stand and is seen by many as the representative voice of the early years.

LyonCatherine LyonOwner, EASYSolution4nursery education
Catherine owns a nursery, award winning Training and Assessment Centre and EASYsolution4nurseryeducation. Catherine’s implementation of curriculums has been designed and delivered with this meaningful ethos; leading and inspiring practitioner’s whilst guiding and nurturing children to reach their full potential.

McGheeSusan McGheeDirector, BNG Training Ltd
Susan has a wealth of knowledge within the Early Years Profession and her commitment to colleagues while being a mum herself is inspirational. She is always there to support and give guidance when needed but also allows staff to make their own decisions and her skills as a line manager / director have gained immense respect within her company.

MorrisAndy MorrisManaging Director, Asquith Nurseries
Andy has ingrained an ethos within Asquith that ‘The safety and wellbeing of the children and staff is our number one priority’ His passion is to make sure that every child deserves the best starts in life. His personal contact with people in the company at all levels, means that he treats everybody as family and will support any situation.

OSullivanJune O’SullivanCEO, London Early Years Foundation
June is passionate, caring, engaged, empowering and hard working. She will spearhead & lead on change & crucial issues such as quality, affordability, men in childcare & The Big Conversation re Ofsted.

PeachKate PeachManaging Director, Each Peach Childcare & Peacharno Consulting
As a nursery business owner and a consultant Kate strives to ensure every child has access to high quality childcare. Kate’s passion and spark make her an inspiration to work with both internally within her own setting and externally with other colleagues. Kate will rise to any challenge set to her.

PimentelRuth PimentelCEO, Toad Hall Nursery Group
Not content with just focusing on the business, Ruth devotes a considerable amount of time and energy getting to know, supporting and offering valued advice to others in the sector. She is unquestionably committed to her role both inside and outside of Toad Hall, deriving from her passion to make
Early Years the best it can be.

ShuklaAnand ShuklaChief Executive, Family and Childcare Trust
Since 2010, Anand has led the Family and Childcare Trust in successful evidence-based advocacy that has raised the profile of the challenges parents face accessing affordable, high quality childcare. Anand has been at the forefront of the charity’s work, frequently appearing in the media and speaking in public forums on childcare issues.

SteelSarah SteelManaging Director, The Old Station Nursery
Sarah cares passionately about the childcare sector and for the team within the company. The staff enjoy the fact that she contributes widely to the sector and often writes articles for the national and trade press. Sarah also shares what she picks up at industry events in staff newsletters, so they are kept up to date. We also get a number of people contacting us at the nurseries and through head office, who are looking for support or advice, which Sarah is always happy to give, however busy she is.

TanukuPurnima Tanuku CEO, National Day Nurseries Association
Purnima is a dedicated champion of day nurseries and the early years workforce. Never afraid to raise the tough issues and doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, Purnima fights for the sector at the highest level. Her tenacious attitude, whether it is getting a face to face interview with a Minister, speaking for the sector on national television or hosting an NDNA member event, is coupled with a warm, approachable manner and great sense of humour.

WoodwardJohn WoodwardCEO, Busy Bees Group and Busy Bees Benefits
John Woodward has been in teaching and childcare all his working life. He has spearheaded the growth of Busy Bees from the building of a single nursery in 1984 to creating the UK’s biggest nursery group today. His influence stems from a desire for great early years care and education in a social setting. John is inspiring due to his hard work and commitment to the core values of his businesses. He will never claim credit for achievements without acknowledging his colleagues.

The NMT Childcare Power 20 dinner was held at
Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf in the City of London on the 29th May 2014.