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Seven Positive Aspects of Coaching TRAINING REVOLUTION


contributors Chris Reid is the CEO of Connect Childcare

editor’s letter I

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.

’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 and business. EYB provide stories, news and resources for students,

E: Twitter: @Connect_Group

graduates, providers and professionals within the sector. We’ve kept our content quite simple for lunch-time reading to spark off new

Courteney Donaldson MRICs

ideas or enhance existing aspects of your business that could do with some love

Chartered Surveyor & Head of Child Centric Sectors, UK & Europe, at Christie + Co

and care. So if you fancy a little read about starting up in the Early Years sector,

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.

teresting because we have used the term business throughout our magazine

E: Twitter: courteneyccs

behind the scenes to achieve excellence and quality all around.

team development or even closing your business, this is the place to be. It’s inand 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

In this issue, first and foremost, we’d like to say a big thank you to our conSusan McGhee at BNG Training Commercial Director

Susan McGhee is responsible for business development at Bertram Nursery Group, one of only nine Scottish companies to make the Investec Hot 100 fastest growing UK businesses.

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

E: Twitter: SusanMcGhee123

family-run business of spectrum of nurseries and a training organisation, shares

EYB Disclaimer

We have some offers on our website that you are welcomed to access such as

The content of Early Years Business Magazine is for general information only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation upon which a specific decision should be made. Early Years Business Magazine has done its best to ensure the accuracy and currency of the materials contained on its website but excludes any warranty express or implied as to quality, accuracy, 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].

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her views on training and evaluation.

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.


a s s e n Va

contents Features Buying a Day Nursery Get Fit for 2013 Funding Parent Communications The Training Revaluation Seven Positive Aspects of Coaching

EYB EDITORIAL TEAM Vanessa Cariba Editor Sharon Brown Assistant Editor Jon Matthews Art Director Lourna Robinson Early Years Specialist Correspondent Devron C. Business Specialist Correspondent

Regulars On the EYB Streets Just Saying Reviews

CONTRIBUTORS Jada Brookes • Courteney Donaldson MRICS • Susan McGhee • Chris Reid ADVERTISING & SALES SPECIAL THANKS AND SUPPORT TO: Lee & Shona O’Neill at Little Bears Nursery, Wansted Colin Adams MBE Nadia Ollivierre at Early Years Centre, Canada






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 coats. 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 newsletter 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 technology 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 business 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 nurseries involved. Let’s consider how much time is actually spent creating these daily reports. Say each report takes five minutes, 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 something 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 considering.

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

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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 individual 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 qualifications are the keys to high-quality Early Years education. However, 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 demonstrate 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

THE NUTBROWN REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS ISSUES OF STAFF QUALIFICATIONS IN EARLY YEARS. SUSAN MCGHEE DISCUSSES THE NEED TO GET AHEAD IN TRAINING. meet the professional development needs of our workforce. It’s a step towards reflection 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 each practitioner. 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 mentors and set up research working parties. Ensure you get the best deal from professional training companies by asking for

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multi-session discounts, using free online resources and working smartly. Could the trainer present the session by video tutorial that your staff can access at a time to suit them? Consider collaborative 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 unlocking 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 practice. So what should you do to ensure your training hits the spot? In my experience 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 differently 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 for training.

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Resources, Advice, Inspiration and More at


Following a successful event in 2012, Childcare Expo will return to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for the fourth time this September. The Event for the Early Years, Childcare and Nursery 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 workshops, 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 budgets 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 Barrett. Entrance to Childcare Expo 2013 will be free and registration will open in early May. Visit the website at for the latest news and show updates. EYB • 07


Are you aspiring to acquire a children’s day nursery business in 2013?

Buying a Day Nursery



s we enter a new year, we often think about our personal aims and objectives for the forthcoming months. Many will consider a change of career direction that could empower them to take control of their own destiny. 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 doing. 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 unless you have the deep enthusiasm and drive necessary to succeed.

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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. Know Yourself 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, commitment and energy, you’ll be in charge of your own future. You may have others 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

decisions are ultimately yours and yours alone. Before committing yourself to buying 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 stronger 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, passion 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 questions: • Are you self-disciplined and do you get things done? • Do you have support from your family and/or partner?

EYBBUSINESSREVIEWS • 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 responsibilities 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

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 because 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 demonstrating this. Presenting both yourself and your business acquisition intentions and ideas in the best possible way to potential lenders is a

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 recent 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 achievements. On another piece of paper, make a note of any skills you feel you should ac-

“The qualities that will help you to succeed in a business are your own entrepreneurial skills”

quire before buying your own business, and any skills you would need to buy in. You should also compile a list of what professional recruiters call your transferable

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, persistent and so on. Transferable skills are those skills that have helped you – and perhaps your employer – achieve, win business, improve the workplace, increase profits and so on. What are the skills that enable you to do those things? How to find the right nursery business Having gained confidence that owning a business is right for you, it’s time to determine what attributes you’ll need in the nursery business that you wish to acquire. 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 implications of a sale may mean to them as employees or service users. It is therefore

essential 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 advise 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

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EYBBUSINESSREVIEWS 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 determined your requirements: • What is your acquisition price range? • What are your geographical requirements? • Do you seek a freehold or leasehold nursery business? • Are you looking to acquire a business operated under management, or one which you will manage and run yourself? • What size of registered capacity do you desire? The agents’ role when acting for the vendor (business owner) is to introduce 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 seeking bank funds, it will also assist at this stage, by demonstrating the credibility of your skills, qualifications and experience. For many vendors, while price is important, so is their confidence in the buyer. Many vendors need to feel confident 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 subsequently 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 completing should not be underestimated. Often, the sale or acquisition will take between four to six months, from the deal being agreed to completion, depending on whether the transaction is an asset sale or share sale.

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EYBBUSINESSREVIEWS Finance Fundamentals As noted above, the first consideration when seeking to buy a business is how much you can afford, and to a large degree this will be determined by the size of your cash deposit: the days of acquiring a nursery business with a 100% business mortgage are long gone. Decide whether you want or need to borrow money. You may have an investment, 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 finance the borrowing costs – if so; you should be clear about how you’re going to fund this. Many institutions can offer the money 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 markets and are keen to lend to aspiring purchasers 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 business, and means you’ll split the proceeds from the sale of the business when you sell it. Finding an equity partner can take

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a long time. You can borrow money from family, friends and banks; or through general mortgage brokers, business mortgage brokers, venture capital firms and business angels. The simplest of these money resources is a lender who understands 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 factors 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 itself sustain? 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 experience 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 required for freehold acquisitions, many new entrants to the sector will seek in the first instance to buy a leasehold business, as the cost of entry is often substantially 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 provisions for a landlords ‘break clause’. Next Steps If owning a nursery business is for you, start the ball rolling in 2013 to achieve your ambitions: + Review your finances and seek advice from a finance broker. + Determine your nursery business acquisition requirements. + 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 meeting with vendors and visiting nurseries and the importance of financial information in formulating an offer.


final closure...


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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 embarked 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 closures. Even public sector settings are having a hard time and the impact on schools is tremendous. 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:

EYBREALLIFE Sell assets and stock Make provision to sell your assets/stock. You will obviously need to pay any creditors, but any stock you have that is in good condition will go very quickly as nurseries are always looking for a bargain. We are in a recession after all!! Legal Advice Seek legal advice if you need it. When I closed my business, a member of staff took me to an industrial tribunal. It was

“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.” Notify OFSTED Firstly, notify OFSTED. You will be paying 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 Revenue, 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

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 remember: 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 employable.

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 reassure staff that you will give them references. Again, be prepared for some confrontation and fallout as they face unemployment.

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Coaching with Positive


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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

Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.

a time when the same results are

-J.K. Rowling

ineffective and you need to per-

-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 overwhelming when there is so much to do.”

form better for the benefit of all. You may know about ‘the Hawthorne 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 responsibilities within their setting such as: •

Keeping up-to-date with regulations

Maintaining quality

Record keeping

Communicating with parents

Communications with outside agencies

Business administration

So here are 7 positive reasons to use a Leadership Coach: 1. Skills Building:  Use a coach to help identify skills required before and after training to ensure that everything you have learnt is put into action.

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 there. 5. Motivation: Build up your confidence through trusted coaching and get back in touch with all the great aspects of your leadership qualities. 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 explore whether the idea is worth pursuing.

2. Solution Focus: Look for solutions with a coach by exploring issues from another perspective

7. Conflict Management: A

and resolutions by opening ideas

your staff and quickly identify

through unexplored questions.

conflict with resolutions.

coach will help you become clearer on how best to handle

GOLDEN COACH TIP Become accountable for your time Did you accomplish your goals for this month? How did you measure the results?

Unearthing some of the day-to EYB • 17


l co promoTiona

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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 providers 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 EYB magazine.

1. ONLINE: Digital advertising through EYB online platform will showcase early years and busiss mag e in s u b d n ness related services and products to a wide audience. Access ship a The leader 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.

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2. EXPOSURE: EYB is a FREE magazine to readers with intelligent content and no precommitment 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 Early Years community and with no added VAT charges.

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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. MENTAL ATTITUDE


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.

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.


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. Also, ensure your application is complete and any suppor ting documents are also submitted as 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 funding opportunities and stay in the loop. It’s your business to keep up with funders so stay in the game.

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 worm.


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


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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 entitlement scheme. The survey carried out by the National Day Nurseries Association (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 survey 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 meaning they will pay less. The adoption of a ‘closed loop’ payment system for state-funded childcare benefits such as tax credits will improve efficiency and ensure funding gets to the frontline, which would help make childcare cheaper at the point of purchase, and there should be no compromise on the quality of early education and any reforms, including current ratios, must not undermine quality. For more information visit

• EYB ON THE STREETS 3 th - 201 and Co or Grow re Sect hristies Childcaions from C Predict

’s day children ok’ f o r e b num d Bo se in the formal RICS ‘Re teney a e r c in .3% our for was a 24 hristie and Co revious year. C nd Co e r e h t , a 2 p C n 201 ith the re at Christies cted by e w p s d e in r ity in s a nurserie urposes comp ead of Childca ansactional activ ors p H tr nd n valuatio , Director and ear in terms of ual need for ve and y n d o s t s le Donald markab e driven by the ce arrangemen e r a s a ized wer 12 w finan asers se ah c r said: “20 y sector. Deals iming of their u p t whils for m er et sectors, landmark year orate the nurs gely due to th r e h t o lar as a corp ds in to exit, vest fun ed. The result w e high profile in o t e 013 at a the desir tunities present ipate that thes activity during 2 tic or in the opp y deals. We an to an increase r r e o jor nurs s are a precurs gle asset level.” Co n io s t c d ties and an in is r p h u transa o C r , g 3 201 small ities for regional, iv t c a t e ark at the m ions: d a e h a t Looking following predic . r e per hand ices achieved fo p u e h t made th on pr o hold ntinue t nts will impact o c l il y w uyers ireme guided b e b o t • Cash b ing capex requ d nee nd reasingly specialists. c in l • Outsta ts. il w 00 new teams se ector ‘tired’ as edit sanctioning ed by nursery s facilitating 260,0 cr in epar • Bank’s tions pr be encountered er 2014. a rs lu a v d n operato mb e t ld p u e o S advice a es are likely to h s y ces b ures, ge an ng r-old pla ignificant press choose to lod a e • Challe y o w ble’ t face s . e and ‘sustaina esources may outcom ther inspection n io t c e r r p s d fu in e a t their • Ofs rigger and isfied by int, in a bid to t t a s is ildcare d h c be la e p h t the day ous com ns for o io t t ic d d e t e anonym rela uld ix pr made s hich specifically pancy figures co d s ie t is r ccu s an f w ar, Ch three o nuary intake o al activity, bank op, Last ye s r o t c Ja e n n s ere: sactio ursery educatio ector. These w ing tran rt to dynamic n tion and iv r d s in lida ppo nursery ignificant part ovide su d further conso 2012. r p s o t a ly y g an ke pla records ansactions durin s were li investor h proven track r t izeable wit s and ber of s m erators u r of sale on n e a b e m b u y n a nalds a vast then m eney Do y that, es with t g r n u e o ll a C h , its c lace nuar 012 had rseries taking p unch held in Ja e same 2 t s il h a h u W of day n iness Outlook L t we will see t onths, s n io it tha Bus 12 m acquis the 2013 13, it is unlikely during the next t eals a id a s rtfolio d h, ps u o p o r l MRICS forward to 20 g a n r natio ouris g he majo many big business will fl nifi“Lookin tivity amongst t o o t t o re n ery ac r sig scale of because there a hile some nurs ld remain unde rther w fu u y ll o g 2013, principa argins c and we will see in r m u d D n a ls y o… left to d occupancy leve ct on profitabilit s a r p for othe ure, this will im s s e r .” cant p he year during t s e r u s clo


EYB • 21

EYB ON THE STREETS • T 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 Government 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 nurseries charging as much as £300. In an economy where childcare costs account for 26.6 per cent of the £26,500 average 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.

Nurseries Changing Ratios

22• EYB




ata View provided by Ofsted is a digital tool which allows people to analyse their inspection data in a simple and visual way. It allows interested parties to compare and contrast performance in inspection in regions, local authority areas and constituencies for early years providers, schools, learning and skills providers, children’s centres and initial teacher education providers. 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 balanced 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 determine 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) produced 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 in time. EYB • 23

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Early Years Business Magazine  

EYB Magazine is the leadership & business publication for early year's professionals.

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