Early Years / Child Care Business Promotional Magazine
THE LEADERSHIP AND BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR EARLY YEARS
I’m pleased to welcome you to our first issue of Early
Years Business Magazine (EYB). We are a FREE online
magazine that covers an array of topics in leadership
EYB provide stories, news and resources for students,
graduates, providers and professionals within the sector.
We’ve kept our content quite simple for lunch-time reading to spark off new
ideas or enhance existing aspects of your business that could do with some love
and care. So if you fancy a little read about starting up in the Early Years sector,
team development or even closing your business, this is the place to be. It’s in-
teresting because we have used the term business throughout our magazine
and only because we must remember that in order to achieve a best start for
children the welfare of resources are just as important to achieve that balance.
It’s great to say that the readership can be accessed all across the UK and we
even have global links. We want this magazine to reach across the world, share
the positive aspects of how our inspirational Early Years leaders work tirelessly
behind the scenes to achieve excellence and quality all around.
In this issue, first and foremost, we’d like to say a big thank you to our con-
tributors for their dedicated time. In this issue, we have Courteney Donaldson
MRICs at Christies and Co writing about investment in childcare – it’s worth a
read, Chris Reid at Connect Software who is very passionate about Early Years
digital communications, and industry view on parent communication and Susan
McGhee at BNG Training who we are really pleased to help guide us with a
family-run business of spectrum of nurseries and a training organisation, shares
her views on training and evaluation.
We have some offers on our website that you are welcomed to access such as
advertising, product reviews, recruitment pages and events advertising. I look
forward to connecting to each one of our readers via Twitter, LinkedIn – Early
Years Leaders or by email.
editor’sletterChris Reid is the CEO
of Connect Childcare
Connect Childcare is a specialist in
the provision of technology solutions
to the UK childcare sector. Connect
Childcare’s management software is
an industry leading system designed
to take the headache out of all aspects
of nursery administration.
Courteney Donaldson MRICs
Chartered Surveyor & Head of Child
Centric Sectors, UK & Europe, at Chris-
tie + Co
Courteney provides RICS valuations,
consultancy advice, and also facilitate
transactions and has specialised in
the nursery sector since 1999, in one
capacity or another. Courteney has
been involved in every major nursery
transaction since 2006 and regularly
provide advice to many of the Top 10
UK corporate nursery groups.
Susan McGhee at BNG Training
Susan McGhee is responsible for busi-
ness development at Bertram Nursery
Group, one of only nine Scottish com-
panies to make the Investec Hot 100
fastest growing UK businesses.
The content of Early Years Business Maga-
zine is for general information only and
does not constitute any form of advice or
recommendation upon which a specific de-
cision should be made. Early Years Business
Magazine has done its best to ensure the
accuracy and currency of the materials con-
tained on its website but excludes any war-
ranty express or implied as to quality, accu-
racy, timeliness, completeness or fitness for a
particular purpose of the material contained
this website. Early Years Business Magazine
will not be liable for any claims, penalties,
loss, damages or expenses arising from the
use or the inability to use the magazine or
from any unauthorised access or alteration
to the magazine [by a third party].
Buying a Day Nursery
Get Fit for 2013 Funding
The Training Revaluation
Seven Positive Aspects of Coaching
On the EYB Streets
contents EYB EDITORIAL TEAM
Vanessa Cariba Editor
Sharon Brown Assistant Editor
Jon Matthews Art Director
Early Years Specialist
Business Specialist Correspondent
Jada Brookes • Courteney
Donaldson MRICS •
Susan McGhee • Chris Reid
ADVERTISING & SALES
SPECIAL THANKS AND
Lee & Shona O’Neill at
Little Bears Nursery, Wansted
Colin Adams MBE
Nadia Ollivierre at Early Years
ike many other parents in the UK,
I am a bit like one of those Stretch
Armstrong toys of the 80s and
90s; you know, the one which is pulled,
twisted and stretched to its very limits,
and then slowly returns to its normal
state before the process starts again.
Every day when dropping my son
off at nursery, I empathise with fellow
parents, obviously late for work, hauling
their children out of the car followed by
changing bags, lunch bags, hats and
At the end of the day we each
return to collect our child, along with
said changing bag, lunch bag, hat and
coat as well as a slip of paper telling
us when he/she ate, slept and had a
nappy change, plus a monthly newslet-
ter and mental note to remember the
note on the door about fancy dress day
a week on Tuesday.
Now, admittedly, I’m not the best with
bits of paper and would have forgotten
which date fancy dress day is on as soon
as I am back in the car. If this sounds all
too familiar, imagine then instead, the
nirvana of having a daily parent update
send direct to your smartphone, from
which you have access to a daily report
emailed at the same time every evening,
branded with updates on the nursery
and your children.
I’m pretty unique in that I’m both a
parent of two young children and the
owner of a company delivering tech-
nology to nurseries. As a father, I know
how best to communicate with parents
and what technology (current or future)
could facilitate this.
Only a few years ago smartphones
and tablets had very little influence on
my company’s activities, yet today, they
are very much determining how my busi-
ness operates now and in the future. This
is the world we live in now.
Imagine too the benefits of which the
same technology will have for the nurs-
eries involved. Let’s consider how much
time is actually spent creating these daily
reports. Say each report takes five min-
utes, assuming there are 40 children in
the nursery; that equates to:
200 minutes a day
16 ½ hours per week
70 hours per month
830 hours per year or 0.5 of a post
At an average wage of £6.50 per hour,
that’s a startling £5,395 per year for
something that will invariably end up at
the bottom of a nappy bag.
So, if we could make real savings by
applying the new technology to some-
thing as small as daily reports, what
would the savings be for the big stuff
like our learning journeys? If it goes
anywhere close then it has to be worth
Only a few years ago
smartphones and tablets had
very little influence on my
company’s activities, yet today,
they are very much determining how
my business operates now and
in the future. This is the
world we live in now
THE FUTURE OF PARENT
COMMUNICATION?CHILDCARE TECHNOLOGY SPECIALIST CHRIS REID CON-
SIDERS THE IMPACT THAT NEW TECHNOLOGY COULD
HAVE ON NURSERIES WHEN TRANSFORMING INFOR-
MATION TO PARENTS.
raining, development, and up-skilling - whatever we call
it, we all agreed that professional development activity
is vital to enhancing quality standards in the Early Years
sector. It is the key to ensuring that our children are
cared for by skilled professionals who understand their individ-
ual needs and are able to meet them in fun and innovative ways.
We know there is a need for training, a fact corroborated by
last summer’s Nutbrown report which concluded that qualifica-
tions are the keys to high-quality Early Years education. How-
ever, in these days of economic constraint we are faced with
dramatically reduced budgets and spending cuts, meaning that
local authorities have, in many cases, reduced or even ceased to
offer training to childcare practitioners.
How then do we find and fund our training, how do we dem-
onstrate the return on investment and how does the investment
we make improve the outcomes for the children in our care?
These are all important questions to ask and the very fact that we
are asking them is the first step to ensuring that we continue to
TheTHE NUTBROWN REVIEW
HIGHLIGHTS ISSUES OF
IN EARLY YEARS. SUSAN
MCGHEE DISCUSSES THE
NEED TO GET AHEAD IN
meet the professional development needs
of our workforce. It’s a step towards reflec-
tion and consideration, a step that helps us
identify specific training needs and step by
step approaches to reach our goals.
So first things first…carry out a skills gap
analysis; this will identify the strengths and
areas for development across your team.
Link this to individual or group support and
challenge sessions leading to clear goals for
Next you need to source the training to
match your needs: remember you have lots
of skills in your team already so utilise these,
cascade the knowledge, allocate men-
tors and set up research working parties.
Ensure you get the best deal from profes-
sional training companies by asking for
EYB • 05
multi-session discounts, using free online re-
sources and working smartly. Could the trainer
present the session by video tutorial that your staff
can access at a time to suit them? Consider collabora-
tive working with other local providers, split the cost but
double the benefit. Everyone’s a winner!
Finally you need to measure the impact of the training you
have provided. Has it really improved things for the children in
your care? I’ve seen some wonderful examples of training unlock-
ing something magical that allows a connection between staff and
children and takes early learning to new heights. Unfortunately I’ve
also seen examples of training that have no significant impact on daily
So what should you do to ensure your training hits the spot? In my experi-
ence the best way to ensure you achieve your goal is to have clear, specific and
measurable success criteria, identify the steps needed to reach these criteria and
set a timescale. Ask your team to complete pre-training expectation questionnaires,
ask them at the midway point if you are on track in meeting their expectations, then at
the end of the session ask if you have met their expectations. Before your team leave the
training, seek a promise from them - ask them to write down the one thing they will do differ-
ently as a result of this session. Then at their next supervision meeting revisit this and find out
whether they have stuck to their promise and what impact it has had. Keep these records and
promises in your staff CPD files and you will see a progression, you will see individual success
stories that together make your Early Years setting and ultimately the broader sector a triumph
CHILDCAREEXPO2013Following a successful event in 2012, Childcare Expo will re-
turn to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for the fourth time this
September. The Event for the Early Years, Childcare and Nurs-
ery Sector, promises to be a networking hub for practitioners
and will be packed with information and advice to help them
to stay up to date.
The show will feature an array of exhibition stands packed with resources, information and
play equipment tailored specifically to the Early Years sector. A number of current exhibitors
have already signed up to showcase their products at Childcare Expo 2013.
Held on Friday 27th
– Saturday 28th
September, the event will also host a line-up of work-
shops, seminars and a variety of other feature areas. The ever popular Play on a Budget
Workshops will also return; giving practitioners new and exciting ways of making their bud-
gets stretch further.
“Childcare Expo 2013 will continue to provide childcare professionals with inspiration for
the year ahead. The 2013 features programme will be tailored to specifically meet the needs
of all members of the early years community and we hope to once again attract high calibre
speakers to our popular seminar programme. We will be discussing with a variety of settings
how we can make the event even more relevant and how
we can best support them in continuing to provide high
quality childcare.” Comments Show Director, Emma Bar-
Entrance to Childcare Expo 2013 will be free
and registration will open in early May. Vis-
it the website at www.childcareexpo.co.uk
for the latest news and show updates.
EYB • 07
Are you aspiring to acquire a chil-
dren’s day nursery business in
s we enter a new year,
we often think about our
personal aims and objec-
tives for the forthcoming
months. Many will consider a change
of career direction that could empower
them to take control of their own des-
tiny. Acquiring your own business could
facilitate that ambition.
It may be a bit of a cliché, but for your
business to succeed, you’ll need to have
a genuine passion for what you’re do-
ing. Successful business owners never
underestimate the amount of work
they’ll need to put in and the potential
impact on their family and friends. It’s
not enough to be acquiring, or starting
your own business, because you were
fed up with working for someone else
or because you were tempted by the
idea of a millionaire lifestyle, albeit rare
in childcare. You won’t get there un-
less you have the deep enthusiasm and
drive necessary to succeed.
Before you purchase a business, it is
essential to take the time to make sure
that owning your own business is the
right move for you.
Buying your own business is an exciting
and satisfying project that should allow
you to organise your working life as you
want. In return for your hard work, com-
mitment and energy, you’ll be in charge
of your own future. You may have oth-
ers to consider in your decision-making
process such as family, partners, friends
and colleagues. However, as the owner
and manager of your own business, the
Are you aspiring to acquire
a children’s day nursery
business in 2013?
COURTENEY DONALDSON MRICS, CORPORATE DIRECTOR AT CHRISTIE + CO GIVES
PROFESSIONAL ADVICE ON STARTING YOUR OWN CHILDREN’S DAY NURSERY BUSINESS.
decisions are ultimately yours and yours
Before committing yourself to buy-
ing a nursery business, you’ll need to be
clear about your priorities, wants, needs,
hopes and plans not just throughout
2013, but over the next few years and
in the longer term. This will require you
to be honest, unblinking and self-critical,
because one of the greatest assets in
your business is you. This step isn’t easy,
but having taken it, you’ll emerge stron-
ger and more self-aware.
The qualities that will help you to
succeed in a business are your own
entrepreneurial skills: optimism, energy,
self-confidence, ambition, integrity, pas-
sion about results and attention to detail.
And, if luck is a quality, you’ll need that
too. It takes more than one single talent
to run a successful childcare business.
You should ask yourself the following
• Are you self-disciplined and do you
get things done?
• Do you have support from your fam-
ily and/or partner?
vital part of securing the funding you’ll
need to buy the business you want.
A good CV should be no more than
two pages long. Start with your most re-
cent employment and work back in time.
List the jobs you’ve done and summarise
the key tasks and responsibilities these
entailed; include any training courses or
skills acquired and any notable achieve-
ments. On another piece of paper, make
a note of any skills you feel you should ac-
• Can you work hard, sometimes seven
days a week?
• Can you get along with people?
• Can you manage under stress?
• Do you persevere?
• Can you learn from mistakes?
• Can you take advice?
• Can you take a long term view?
• Are you in good health?
• Do you have definite aims?
• Do you fully appreciate the responsi-
bilities and understand the risks?
Preparing your CV
These days we can rely on having three
to six changes in career direction during
our working life. To move confidently
from one field to another you must be
clear about the skills you have and how
skills – those skills that derive from one
area of experience and can be applied
to another. These are attributes that are
distinct from aspects of your character:
determined, works well under pressure,
pays attention to detail, intuitive, persis-
tent and so on. Transferable skills are
those skills that have helped you – and
perhaps your employer – achieve, win
business, improve the workplace, in-
crease profits and so on. What are the
skills that enable you to do those things?
How to find the right nursery
Having gained confidence that own-
ing a business is right for you, it’s time
to determine what attributes you’ll need
in the nursery business that you wish to
At any one time in the UK there will
be a wide selection of day nurseries
for sale. For many nursery owners the
decision to sell their business can be a
very difficult one. They will wish to keep
the sale highly confidential, in order
to mitigate any risks associated to the
potential departure of staff and/or
parents, uncertain as to what the im-
plications of a sale may mean
to them as em-
ers. It is
f o r e
e s s e n -
tial that, rather
than ‘trawling’ the
web for possible nursery
acquisition opportunities, you
speak directly to agents that specialise
in the sale of nursery businesses and ad-
vise them of your specific requirements.
These agents can then determine which
available opportunities may be suited
to you and they may ask you to sign a
they might be freshly applied, enhanced
or extended. The most useful exercise
you can do at this stage is to write down
all the skills and experience you have in
the form of a Curriculum Vitae (CV).
A CV is vital, not only because it helps
you think about yourself clearly, but be-
cause it will show others – lenders in
particular – that you have the right skills
for the business you plan to buy. Since
the economic downturn, banks’ desire
to mitigate risk has increased therefore
sector experience is essential and a
comprehensive CV will assist in demon-
strating this. Presenting both
yourself and your business
tions and ideas in
the best possible
that will help
you to succeed
in a business
are your own
b e f o r e
buying your own
business, and any
skills you would need to buy
You should also compile
a list of what professional re-
cruiters call your transferable
EYB • 09
non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prior
to any confidential information, such as
sensitive trading information, being
released to you.
When contacting agents
you need to have deter-
mined your require-
• What is your
• What are your
• Do you seek a
freehold or lease-
hold nursery busi-
• Are you looking to ac-
quire a business operated un-
der management, or one which
you will manage and run yourself?
• What size of registered capacity do
The agents’ role when acting for the
vendor (business owner) is to intro-
duce suitably vetted, serious prospective
purchasers that have the pre-requisite
childcare experience and financial ability
to successfully conclude a transaction.
While your CV will assist you when seek-
ing bank funds, it will also assist at this
stage, by demonstrating the credibility
of your skills, qualifications and experi-
ence. For many vendors, while price is
important, so is their confidence in the
buyer. Many vendors need to feel confi-
dent that under the prospective buyer’s
ownership, the business, children and
staff would continue to thrive.
The agents’ primary objective is to
achieve the best possible price for their
client, often the vendor, and then subse-
quently nurture the transaction through
to completion. Most nursery acquisitions
will be subject to financial and property
due diligence, particularly if a bank or
lender are to provide acquisition funds.
The length of time, between a ‘deal’
being agreed and the transaction com-
pleting should not be underestimated.
Often, the sale or acquisition will take be-
tween four to six months, from the deal
being agreed to completion, depending
on whether the transaction is an asset
sale or share sale.
EYB • 11
As noted above, the first consideration
when seeking to buy a business is how
much you can afford, and to a large de-
gree this will be determined by the size
of your cash deposit: the days of acquir-
ing a nursery business with a 100% busi-
ness mortgage are long gone.
Decide whether you want or need to
borrow money. You may have an invest-
ment, inheritance, pension lump sum or
redundancy lump sum that will allow
you to buy a business outright. Or you
may want to invest some of your assets
in a business and use the business to fi-
nance the borrowing costs – if so; you
should be clear about how you’re going
to fund this.
Many institutions can offer the mon-
ey you may need to buy your business.
Where you go will depend on how
much you want to borrow and how
much it’ll cost to borrow, the length of
the loan, the state of the business and
the record you have as a borrower. Also,
some banks specialise in particular mar-
kets and are keen to lend to aspiring pur-
chasers in those markets. As a business
buyer, you can finance your purchase
by borrowing money from a lender or
by selling a share in your business to a
partner. These are called debt funding
and equity funding respectively. Debt
funding is quicker to set up, keeps you in
control of the business, and leaves you
in possession of the business when you
sell. Equity funding involves a partner
whom you must pay out of profits – it
requires you to share control of the busi-
ness, and means you’ll split the proceeds
from the sale of the business when you
sell it. Finding an equity partner can take
a long time.
You can borrow
money from family,
friends and banks; or
through general mort-
gage brokers, business
venture capital firms
and business angels.
The simplest of these
money resources is
a lender who under-
stands the business
and has a professional
sense of what you’re
trying to achieve. How
much you can borrow
depends on so many personal variables
that it’s impossible to give general advice.
There are, however, three important fac-
tors that all lenders consider:
• How much of your own capital are
you putting towards the purchase price
of the business?
• What skills, experience and ideas are
you bringing to the business?
• What level of debt can the business
For freehold nurseries, whereby you will
be acquiring the freehold property and
the in-situ nursery business, banks may
consider a loan on the basis of 60 -70%
loan to value (LTV), depending on the ex-
perience and track record of the buyer.
Thus, if a purchase price of £1,000,000
were agreed, the buyer would need a
‘cash’ deposit of between £300,000 to
£400,000, plus acquisition costs, such as
solicitors and surveyors fees.
Speaking to a financial broker that
specialises in securing loans for nursery
business acquisitions at the outset of your
investigations will be a great advantage
and will ensure that your aspirations on
the funding front are likely to be realised.
Given the size of ‘cash’ deposits re-
quired for freehold acquisitions, many
new entrants to the sector will seek in
the first instance to buy a leasehold busi-
ness, as the cost of entry is often sub-
stantially lower than the extent of costs
associated with freehold acquisitions.
However, while leasehold nurseries will
often have a lower capital value, the LTV
as assessed by the bank, is likely to be
closer to 50% or less, depending on the
term of years remaining on the lease and
other salient lease terms, such as provi-
sions for a landlords ‘break clause’.
If owning a nursery business is for you,
start the ball rolling in 2013 to achieve
+ Review your finances and seek advice
from a finance broker.
+ Determine your nursery business ac-
+ Contact specialists agents to ensure
you receive details of businesses meet
your specific requirements.
Our next article will highlight matters
that buyers should look for when meet-
ing with vendors and visiting nurseries
and the importance of financial informa-
tion in formulating an offer.
hen I first started thinking about opening my own childcare setting, it was
because I had been disappointed with the nurseries in my area. I’d spent
hours looking at nurseries and none of them ticked all the boxes. In fact
most of them didn’t even have a box to tick! I knew I could do better.
Armed with that belief and a list of values, expectations and visions as long as my
arm, I started planning my venture. After about two years of drawing up plans and
models of my perfect childcare business, I finally got myself into a position where I
could embark on my dream. I spent months and months searching for premises in
London, but I either couldn’t afford the rent or the premises weren’t suitable. Before
giving up and deciding to spend the money on a trip to Barbados and a Maserati, I
settled for buying an already established setting outside London, believing I would
soon turn it into a place I would send my children to. Although it looked like a sound
business move, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
From day one I struggled to cope – both financially and emotionally, for a variety
of reasons. I looked to the local authority for help, and I had been jumping through
hoops with the vain hope that they were going to help save my nursery. I was so
incredibly wrong. I had severe staff problems and within 18 months of having em-
barked on my dream venture, it had all gone to pot.
I spent months, even years, reproaching myself for my failure and paying off my
debts. I felt that I had let a lot of people down. It’s only now that I realise that although
I made mistakes, I didn’t actually deserve to be in the position I was, and that I should
learn from the experience and use it to make me a stronger and wiser person.
Now a few years further on, we are in the middle of a recession and small
businesses are struggling to survive. Everywhere I turn, private nurseries are cutting
back on staff, which is impacting on standards, and ultimately leading to setting clo-
sures. Even public sector settings are having a hard time and the impact on schools is
So what do you do when you can’t carry on opening? When you get to the
point where you have to close, and you haven’t got a clue what to do next? Here are
seven key points I considered as essential to share:
WITH THE UNCER-
TAINTIES IN THE
NOT ALL CHILDCARE
SHALL SURVIVE. LISA
SPENCER TELLS EYB
ABOUT HER EXPERI-
ENCE WITH WINDING
DOWN HER BUSINESS
AFTER MAKING HER
DECISION TO CLOSE
THE BUSINESS DOWN.
Firstly, notify OFSTED. You will be pay-
ing a yearly fee and if you don’t notify
them that you are closing, you will still be
charged, and they will chase you for the
money. Also ensure you notify the Local
Authority Childcare Service, Inland Rev-
enue, landlords, creditors, suppliers etc.
– basically anyone you owe money to or
have dealings with.
Speak to staff and parents
Speak to staff and parents as soon as
you possibly can, giving them plenty of
notice so that they can make alternative
arrangements. You’ll be surprised at the
level of support they can offer – but also
be prepared for some fallout. Also try and
give parents details of alternative settings.
ACAS a great resource
Speak to ACAS about any staffing issues.
Make sure you are aware of what your
obligations are as an employer and re-
assure staff that you will give them ref-
erences. Again, be prepared for some
confrontation and fallout as they face
Sell assets and stock
Make provision to sell your assets/stock.
You will obviously need to pay any credi-
tors, but any stock you have that is in
good condition will go very quickly as
nurseries are always looking for a bar-
gain. We are in a recession after all!!
Seek legal advice if you need it. When
I closed my business, a member of staff
took me to an industrial tribunal. It was
a pointless exercise and they lost, but it’s
not a nice experience and you need to
know where you stand legally.
Friends and Family
Don’t lose hope. It’s an experience that
will leave you feeling drained and at
times lost; however you can move on
and you will survive. Make sure you turn
to friends and family for support as they
will help you get through it. And remem-
ber: you’re not a failure as you had the
courage to try and follow your dream.
A new Me
Learn from the experience. I have taken
the experience and while I wouldn’t say
I’ve embraced it, I have let it contribute to
moulding me into the person I am now. I
have gained so many important skills and
knowledge that I am very, very employ-
“It’s only now that I realise
that although I made mis-
takes, I didn’t actually de-
serve to be in the position I
was, and that I should learn
from the experience and use
it to make me a stronger and
EYB • 15
EDITOR VANESSA CARIBA HIGHLIGHTS
THE SEVEN KEY NUGGETS TO ACHIEVE
RESULTS FOR YOUR TEAM.
ntroducing coaching into your
setting is a positive step to
accept change. Now as man-
agers, I already hear you saying,
“no time for that”. However and
there is a however, there comes
a time when the same results are
ineffective and you need to per-
form better for the benefit of all.
You may know about ‘the Haw-
thorne effect in the 1920s’
where Elton Mayo proved that
when workers were exposed
to light their productivity would
rise. Similarly when we expose
ourselves to new perspectives it
becomes easier for us to learn,
resulting in new changes within
the way in which we lead.
A manager has so many respon-
sibilities within their setting such
• Keeping up-to-date with
• Maintaining quality
• Record keeping
• Communicating with
• Communications with
• Business administration
Unearthing some of the day-to
-day issues for managers can
sound overwhelming as they
have so much to think about.
One provider I spoke to this week
agreed with this point and said
that “sometimes it does get over-
whelming when there is so much
So here are 7 positive reasons to
use a Leadership Coach:
1. Skills Building: Use a coach
to help identify skills required be-
fore and after training to ensure
that everything you have learnt is
put into action.
2. Solution Focus: Look for so-
lutions with a coach by exploring
issues from another perspective
and resolutions by opening ideas
through unexplored questions.
3. Career Building: Map out
personal development and the
next steps of your career path.
Use a coach to help you identify
your strengths and build on them
in order to fulfil your job.
4. Goals: Use a coach to plan
goals and steps required to get
5. Motivation: Build up your con-
fidence through trusted coaching
and get back in touch with all the
great aspects of your leadership
6. Brainstorming: An idea is
an idea until you mastermind it.
Ask a coach to help you look at
it from other angles to really ex-
plore whether the idea is worth
7. Conflict Management: A
coach will help you become
clearer on how best to handle
your staff and quickly identify
conflict with resolutions.
the first step to
acceptance, and only
with acceptance can
there be recovery.
GOLDEN COACH TIP
Become accountable for your time
Did you accomplish your goals for this month?
How did you measure the results?
EYB • 17
The leadership and business magazine for early years
EYB magazine is an alternative media publication for
Early Years professionals offering exclusive and original
quality content created by a fully integrated editorial
team with time-tested authority & perspective. With
an audience of 107,900 childcare and early years pro-
viders in England (DfE 2011 survey), EYB is accessible
from any internet-enabled device providing the best
possible communication medium to readers.
So here is why you should advertise with
1. ONLINE: Digital advertising through EYB on-
line platform will showcase early years and busi-
ness related services and products to a wide audience. Access
a copy of EYB through smartphones, tablets and computers. Our client metrics reports and
research will help you best understand the value of advertising with EYB.
2. EXPOSURE: EYB is a FREE magazine to readers with intelligent content and no pre-
commitment thus increasing the opportunity of a wide exposure to the Early Years market.
Our social media community is already talking about EYB which makes a great advertising
platform for all new and existing businesses.
3. VALUE:We can afford to offer very competitive rates to our partners as we are an online
publication. With print costs eliminated it leaves us free to share great advertising and editorial
packages with the EarlyYears community and with no added VAT charges.
GET YOUR COPY
NOW! Tel: 0844 288 9512
FREE ONLINE SUBSCRIPTION
– everything you
need to know about
growing & exiting
Applying for funding can often raise your blood
pressure yet it is a part of running an Early Years
business. Our funding expert, Devron Cariba,
discusses the ‘Get Fit 4 Funding’ plan to ensure
a smooth run up to securing funding.
unding need not be a daunting process and if approached with the right attitude
the rewards can be immense. Rather than focus on the number of pages to
be completed or the financial breakdown, focus on the outcome of receiving
the funding. After all, your Early Years business deserves it, right? The answer
has to be yes otherwise the funding would not be in place for you to apply. If you
can focus your mind and your team on the benefits of receiving the funding – such
as the children enjoying their new outdoor play area or the parents’ assurance that
their children are interacting with new books, games and toys – applying for funding
becomes a much smaller hurdle. As they say in sport ‘mental attitude is everything’.
The same applies to securing funding.
THE 3 PS
Plan your funding cycles well so that they become part of your annual goal settings.
Set out clearly what it is that you want to achieve during your year of business; select
which goals will require additional funding and which you can fund yourself; then
make a decision to apply for funding. Conducting this simple process will clarify your
funding targets for the year.
Prepare your business early for the run up to applying for funding. This means
making sure your policies are up to date, your financial records are fine tuned and
your funding model is realistic. Assess whether funding is available to meet your needs
and the timescales and criteria required to be successful. Your team should also be
aware of any funding applied for as this gives them the opportunity to contribute to
the application and also feel a part of the success.
Position yourself with key people within the funding organisation and begin to
build relationships early. There is a gentle balance required here as running an Early
Years business and networking can be challenging but the more you put in the more
you will get out. Early engagement with funding officials and administrators can
mean the world of difference if you are up to date on funding cycles, timescales,
requirements and key people. Remember the early bird always catches the
SEEK OUT A COACH
As Early Years professionals your job is to focus on the needs
of the children so filling in funding applications may not be
at the top of your list. You may not have seen a funding
application let alone a completed one. In which case
find yourself someone who has the experience and
skills required to coach you in this area. Some
people may offer to write your application
but this strays from the empowering
achievement of submitting your
own application. Taking the
time to learn from
knowledgeable people in this area can
be very rewarding and if your application
is successful, the benefits can be realised
within your business and your children.
Good examples of ‘coaches’ may
include Early Years local government
officials, independent funding advisors or
successful Early Years providers. A good
beginning makes a good end.
GO FOR GOLD
It’s time to limber up and stretch your
fingers as you prepare to package
your application for approval. Running
spell checks and grammar checks is as
necessary as tying your shoelaces – you
just don’t forget. Besides, who would
want to go through all that hard work
to only trip at the first hurdle?
Your application could
be amongst 10, 50, 1 0 0
applications so funding
panels won’t be precious.
A l s o , ensure your
c o m p l e t e
its best to give
panels a full picture of your
business. And finally, have
a contingency plan. Don’t
leave all your eggs in one
basket,seek out for other
and stay in the loop. It’s
your business to keep up
with funders so stay in
EYB • 19
DNA Business Report reveals that Early Years settings are losing an average
£547 each year for every child they care for under the government’s free enti-
tlement scheme. The survey carried out by the National Day Nurseries Asso-
ciation (NDNA) found that out of more than 900 early education settings, 84
per cent of those have reported that the hourly government rate for places funded under
the free entitlement does not cover the costs of care for each child.
In November 2012, the average occupancy rate at nurseries was 71% as identified by
providers in the 2012 DfE Childcare Providers Finances Survey. However, NDNA’s sur-
vey reveals that a significant number of nurseries are operating below this level. One of
the main causes are parents reducing their outlay on formal childcare and looking to the
support of family and friends to restrict their childcare hours to free nursery education
hours. As a result of this, sixty-seven per cent of nurseries have reported that parents are
using more friends and family childcare, 80% of nurseries said they have more part-time
children on their books and 52% said more parents are using funded hours only.
Sustainability of Early Years businesses continues to be challenged with the
number of redundancies increased from 7% in May 2012 to 10% in the last six months.
The percentage of nurseries reducing staff hours over the last six months has increased
to 43%, compared to 32% in May 2012. Reasons given for this have included childcare
providers being unable to afford paying qualified (EYPS) staff the high wage, having to
reduce hours and employed students instead, and unable to replace staff that has left due
to occupancy levels dropping.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, National Day Nurseries Association Chief Executive said:
“Over 80% of the UK’s nurseries are in the private or voluntary sector, so the government
and local authorities must realise that unless the sector is offered the right support it
will not be able to deliver government ambitions to support working families and offer
disadvantaged two-year-olds high quality free early education places.”
In view of this, NDNA have made a number of recommendations that include funding
should be protected and go directly to the parent’s choice of childcare provider mean-
ing they will pay less. The adoption of a ‘closed
loop’ payment system for state-funded childcare
benefits such as tax credits will improve effi-
ciency and ensure funding gets to the frontline,
which would help make childcare cheaper at the
point of purchase, and there should be no com-
promise on the quality of early education and
any reforms, including current ratios, must not
undermine quality. For more information visit
n 2012, there was a 24.3% increase in the number of children’s day
nurseries inspected by Christie and Co for formal RICS ‘Red Book’
valuation purposes compared with the previous year. Courteney
Donaldson, Director and Head of Childcare at Christies and Co
said: “2012 was a remarkable year in terms of transactional activity in
the nursery sector. Deals were driven by the dual need for vendors
to exit, largely due to the timing of their finance arrangements and
the desire to invest funds in other sectors, whilst purchasers seized
the opportunities presented.The result was a landmark year for ma-
jor nursery deals. We anticipate that these high profile corporate
transactions are a precursor to an increase in activity during 2013 at a
regional, small group and single asset level.”
Looking ahead at the market activities for 2013, Christies and Co
made the following predictions:
• Cash buyers will continue to hold the upper hand.
• Outstanding capex requirements will impact on prices achieved for
• Bank’s credit sanctioning teams will increasingly need to be guided by
advice and valuations prepared by nursery sector specialists.
• Challenges are likely to be encountered in facilitating 260,000 new
‘sustainable’ two-year-old places by September 2014.
• Ofsted resources may face significant pressures, should operators
be dissatisfied by their inspection outcome and choose to lodge an
anonymous complaint, in a bid to trigger a further inspection.
Last year, Christies made six predictions for the childcare and
education sectors, three of which specifically related to the day
nursery sector.These were: January intake occupancy figures could
play a significant part in driving transactional activity, banks and
investors were likely to provide support to dynamic nursery op-
erators with proven track records and further consolidation and
then maybe a number of sizeable transactions during 2012.
Whilst 2012 had its challenges with a vast number of sales and
acquisitions of day nurseries taking place, Courteney Donaldson
MRICS said at the 2013 Business Outlook Launch held in January that,
“Looking forward to 2013, it is unlikely that we will see the same
scale of activity amongst the major groups during the next 12 months,
principally because there are not too many big national portfolio deals
left to do… During 2013, while some nursery business will flourish,
for others occupancy levels and margins could remain under signifi-
cant pressure, this will impact on profitability and we will see further
closures during the year.”
EYB • 21
he Government plans to improve reforms that will enable nurseries to
almost double the number of children they care for to help cut childcare
costs. In a bid to boost their low popularity among women, the Govern-
ment hopes by increasing the places available, this will bring down fees
and make it easier for mothers to go back into work.
The current average cost of a full-time nursery place is around £115 a week
with some nurs-
as much as
£300. In an
e c o n o m y
care costs account
for 26.6 per cent of
the £26,500 aver-
age wage in the UK,
more than double
the 11.8 per cent
average among advanced economies,this can cause great financial strain on parents.
Currently, a member of staff is limited to four toddlers whereas under the new
reforms, nurseries will be able to take on six two-year-olds to every childcare
worker.The ratios for babies under one and for one-year-olds is currently 1:3 but
will be raised to 1:4 whilst child-minders caring for up to three under-fives will be
able to increase this to four.
The new move has been inspired by ratio strategies used in Europe; in Denmark
and Ireland the figure is six whilst in France,
one qualified staff can supervise up to eight
toddlers. Elizabeth Truss, Under-Secretary
of State at the Department of Education
has been looking at how other countries in
Europe operate their childcare policies and
will be making some drastic changes.These
will include introducing tougher academic
standards for early years staff.
Previously colleges have been taking on
recruits with D grades or lower, however,
teenagers training to work in nurseries will
now be required to have at least a grade
C in GCSE Maths and English. This is to
prevent children being looked after by staff
who are struggling to read stories aloud
to them.Also on the agenda will be a new
‘Early Years Educator’ qualification that will
bring the standard of courses up to the
equivalent of A-level.
Whether the new ratio scheme will work
or not, we will not know until it has been
set into place. However, there are some
who are skeptical about the changes and
fear that quality in childcare will suffer.
ata View provided
by Ofsted is a digi-
tal tool which allows
people to analyse
their inspection data in a simple
and visual way. It allows interest-
ed parties to compare and con-
trast performance in inspection
in regions, local authority areas
and constituencies for early years
providers, schools, learning and
skills providers, children’s cen-
tres and initial teacher education
The tool shows ‘state of the
nation’ data which means it reports the most recent inspection judgement for all
providers open at a particular point in time, i.e. August 2012. It gives a more bal-
anced view of the quality of provision across the country at that point in time as it
includes an inspection judgement for almost all providers.
Data View breaks down the data into detailed information. For example,
the ‘remit’ for early years or children’s centres can be further broken down into
the type of provider you are interested in such as child-minders,
childcare on non-domestic premises or childcare on
domestic premises. Also, for early years, you can de-
termine the location of the provider by matching the
post code of the provider to the Office for National
Statistics (ONS) post code file. This source provides
information on the government office region, local
authority area and parliamentary constituency in
which the provider can be found.
For income deprivation purposes, Data View
allows you to analyse inspection outcomes for
providers with a particular level of deprivation.
This information is based on the 2010 Income
Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) pro-
duced by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
For early years, the deprivation of a provider is the deprivation index associated
with the location or lower super output area (LSOA) of the provider. The LSOA are
divided into five equal groups called quintiles, ranging from the ‘most deprived’ to
the ‘least deprived’, based on their IDACI score.
Finally, Data View enables interested parties to look at the proportions of places
or learners in those providers which fulfils their selection criteria. This includes
the number of places that the providers are registered to provide and may, in some
cases, be more than the number of children they are caring for at a particular point
EYB • 23
Kids exercise with multiple stations
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