Apparently, July is normally a bit of a slow news month. We’re not so sure.
To make sure we’ve been busy breaking into government offices, going undercover in foreign countries, and schmoozing with the nursery superstars, all just to bring you the latest, greatest nursery news from the UK and beyond. (Disclaimer: we haven’t actually done any of those things. Promise.)
So without further ado, here’s this month’s biggest stories from all over the nursery world.
Nurseries better than nanny
“Regardless of how rich the home learning environment is, it is more beneficial for a two-year-old’s development for them to be sent to nursery school, a playgroup or a childminder.” OK. So we already had some intuition on this one. But a new study from Oxford University has found conclusively that group based settings have a significant positive impact on children’s language and socio-emotional development. The report found that the benefits were even greater in those from poorer backgrounds.
++ The news comes alongside findings that show summer childcare has reached record levels in England and Scotland, with families facing a real squeeze to find affordable care throughout the summer months.
The last month has seen increased coverage around the topic of closing nurseries, with many laying the blame firmly at the feet of the new 30 hours ‘free’ childcare scheme. One nursery in Essex, Fidgety Fingers, has had to close its doors despite being ranked ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted just last September.
++ A government evaluation has found that there is ‘no specific reason’ why the 30 hours scheme will not be a success, despite almost half of nurseries stating they will limit their intake in order to offer the extended entitlement.
Nurseries at care homes?
The UK’s first nursery to be located within a care home will open in London in September. The 30-place setting will operate in the grounds of residential care home Nightingale House, with the children and residents meeting for daily activities.
++ What to Watch: We loved this show about a nursery group that spent 6 weeks at a care home. Heartwarming and touching, it was a beautiful example of the innocent curiosity of children, and the effect they can have on people of all ages.
Childcare costs around the world
We hear a lot about the cost of childcare in the UK, but how does it measure up to childcare costs throughout the rest of the world? Turns out, we finished pretty high up.
Men in Childcare
Something we’ve touched on before in the Famly Briefing, trying to encourage more men into working in childcare is one of the big current challenges in the industry. This month, we really liked this opinion piece from Rohan Silva about the importance of having an equal balance of role models throughout the sector.
Dirt. It’s good!
Two university professors have released a book about the importance of dirt. That’s right, dirt. The two scientists warn against an increasingly protective culture around hygiene, and question whether it’s actually damaging our children’s immune systems. Read the interview right over here.
Business as usual
It’s been another busy month in the world of nursery business. Here’s the rundown:
- After adding 77 new centres in Canada to their bursting array of nurseries last month, Busy Bees have seen their revenues soar close to the £250m mark for the first time.
- Children’s 1st Nurseries, who own nurseries throughout the Midlands and South Yorkshire have picked up three settings in Leicestershire, while Poppy & Jack’s in the North West have also acquired three new nurseries. Kid Planet has also been busy, acquiring a 60-place setting in Stockport, taking them to a total of 19 nurseries.
- Meanwhile, the government have begun to push for UK nursery chains to launch settings in China, as the Department for International Trade has begun a new initiative in China as part of its GREAT Early Years campaign.
Is your nursery set up with Millie’s Mark? Set up in 2012 in honour of Millie Thompson, who sadly passed away after choking on food in a nursery when she was just nine months old, the Mark is the gold standard in paediatric first aid. The mark is for nurseries that can show they go well above the minimum requirements, and it is increasingly being praised by parents and Ofsted alike.
Want more like this?
Sign up for expert guidance and tips to improve your setting.