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Children 1st Day Nurseries, the largest family owned nursery group in the UK, now has 20 early years settings, following the acquisition of two Leek nurseries.
The two nurseries located on Buxton Road and at Leek First School were sold due to the previous owners retiring.
The purchase means that Children 1st Day Nurseries now comprises twenty settings across the Midlands and South Yorkshire, increasing the number of nursery places it offers from 1,800 to 2,000.
Carol and Ken Leech opened Buckingham's on Buxton Road in 1997 and the nursery recently received its third consecutive 'Outstanding in All Areas' by Ofsted. The second nursery at Leek First school was established in 2012.
Carol Leech said: “I have put my heart and soul into the nurseries during my career. When I made the decision to retire I wanted to ensure that the nurseries would be run by a company which shared the same values I did and which would continue to deliver excellent childcare to children in Leek.
“I have known Children 1st and the Mason family for several years and know that they share the same ethos as I do and I am delighted that the nurseries will be part of Children 1st. With 63 per cent of the company’s nurseries rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted against a national average of 13 per cent, I am confident that standards will be maintained.”
The company, which has been owned and managed by the Mason family since it was founded in 1988, was approached by previous owners, Carol and Ken Leech, to take over the two nurseries.
Their location, the strong reputation of the nurseries in the community and the expertise of the staff were key factors in Children 1st’s decision to purchase the two nurseries.
Margaret Mason, founder and executive chair of Children 1st Day Nurseries said: “We already have a presence in Staffordshire and therefore this acquisition presented a perfect opportunity for us to further enhance our business in the county. It is a pleasure to welcome both nurseries to the company.
“It will be good to get to know the staff, families and children at the new nurseries. I’m already aware of the wonderful work undertaken at both settings and I look forward to working with everyone to enhance the provision still further. I hope that the nursery staff enjoy being part of Children 1st.”
All current members of staff will continue to be employed and the opening hours will not change.
Since the company began in 1988, Children 1st has, on average, opened a nursery every 18 months. Its nurseries have achieved 20 ‘Outstanding’ inspections.