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Children 1st Day Nurseries buys four Old Station Nurseries

Children 1st Day Nurseries has purchased four of the ten nurseries owned by The Old Station Nursery.

The acquisition means Children 1st will now own 19 early years settings across the Midlands and South Yorkshire, increasing the number of nursery places it offers from 1,535 to 1,800.

Margaret Mason, founder and executive chair of Children 1st Day Nurseries said: “We already have a presence in the area with our nurseries in Newark and Grantham and therefore the acquisition presented a perfect opportunity for us to further enhance our business in Newark but particularly in Lincolnshire.”

Sarah Steel, managing director for The Old Station Nursery took over the running of the three nurseries back in 2006 in Lincoln at Wragby Road, Lincoln College and The Marina. In 2007 she then took over the running of the nursery at Newark College too. The nurseries have grown in size over these eight years to offer 60 per cent more places for children in the area.

“Over the last eight years we’ve opened four settings in Lincoln and Newark now offering 276 nursery places for children, which is great as we started with just 111 places,” said Ms Steel.

She added: “It was a difficult decision to say goodbye to the teams and the children in Lincoln and Newark but I’m looking forward to spending less time travelling and will continue to manage the settings closer to home in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Buckinghamshire.”

Children, parents and carers will notice little difference resulting from the change of ownership. All current members of staff will continue to be employed and the opening hours will not change, according to Children 1st.

The acquisition will bring the total number of people employed by Children 1st to 520, up from 450.

In addition, it is expected that the purchase will result in job opportunities in Lincolnshire and Newark, especially for apprentices and young people wanting to begin their career in childcare.

There will also be further training and development opportunities for all staff, both in nursery and within Children 1st’s recently opened training academy in Long Eaton, Derbyshire.

Ms Mason said: “All four nurseries are well run and have excellent reputations due to the hard work of their staff. We are keen for this to continue and improve where possible through increased training and development.

“Our staff are the lifeblood of the company and as such are supported with passion and commitment through all levels of the business. I am looking forward to working with all new staff and getting to know the parents, carers and children.”

“I’m confident that Children 1st will continue with the ethos of The Old Station Nursery and they have an excellent track record.”

Since the company began in 1988 Children 1st has, on average, opened a nursery every 18 months.

Children 1st is proud to have achieved 14 ‘Outstanding’ inspections as rated by Ofsted and look forward to sustaining its high quality provision in these four new acquisitions. In December, the company won the Nursery Group of The Year award at the Nursery Management Today awards and its founder Margaret Mason was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the outstanding contribution she has made to childcare and education during her 57 year career.

June 2014