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EDITORIAL 020 7501 + direct extension; Editor Karen Faux (6694) News and Online Editor Catherine Gaunt (6696) Features Editor Hannah Crown (6770) Acting Features Editor Annette Rawstrone Deputy News Editor Katy Morton (6697) Art Editor Alison Coombes Editor-in-Chief Liz Roberts All email addresses are firstname. ADVERTISING 020 7501 + direct extension Publishing Director Tom Curtiss (6729) Commercial Manager George Hogg (6699) Sales Manager Martin Watchorn (020 3915 9457) Recruitment Sales Manager Nawal Bekkale (6767) BUSINESS Managing Director Ravi Chandiramani Production Director Richard Hamshere Group Production Manager Kyri Apostolou Chief Executive Officer Ben Allen Chairman Mark Allen NURSERY WORLD is published by MA Education Ltd, St Jude’s Church, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24 0PB. Registered at the Post Office as a newspaper. Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, Gwent NP12 2YA. Please read our privacy policy, by visiting http://privacypolicy. This will explain how we process, use and safeguard your data SUBSCRIPTIONS 0800 137201; UK Print with digital, subscription rates: Annual Credit/ debit card: £119; Direct debit £102; Quarterly Direct debit: £29; Monthly continuous Credit/debit card: £14 (inc P&P). © MA Education Ltd, 2022. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise negotiated by the contributor to the contrary, Nursery World purchases All Rights to contributions. No part of Nursery World may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the Publishing Director. Vol 121 No44833 ISSN 0029 6422

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As the big nursery groups continue to expand, there could be a danger that some areas of the country will see provision shrink

While Storm Eunice may have blown itself out the sector is continuing to experience a high-speed wind of change. Nursery sales and acquisitions have reached a peak of activity in the last year, with transactions hitting a record breaking £500m-plus, according to property company Redwoods Dowling Kerr. Meanwhile Christie & Co predicts a two tier market emerging in 2022 – which suggests that high value sales will be sustained for quality businesses in the right areas while the predicted growth in ‘distressed’ sales will compound local disparities in provision. Those who are struggling due to a reliance on (under) funded places or a recent downgrade by Ofsted will face an uncertain future. This picture is supported by research from Leeds University which sampled more than 2000 settings (see analysis on p8). It reports that in 2020, 16 per cent took on debt and 14 per cent permanently cut staff – and a third did nothing. But doing nothing is unlikely to remain an option for much longer. To gain a sharper focus on the shape of the market and the prospects for its recovery, look no further than our annual Nursery Chains supplement,

enclosed with this issue. It pulls together a wealth of information and includes two key tables – a Top 25 of groups by size and by Ofsted rankings. We know that what plays out among the groups ultimately affects everyone in the sector. Market change has its human dimension as well. We’ve just seen David and Anna Wright, long-standing owners of the award-winning Paint Pots nursery group in Southampton, selling up to a local social enterprise. It’s good to know that they will continue to work as ambassadors to the sector as David explains in his letter on page 50.

I suspect we could be saying goodbye to some more familiar faces in the coming months.

In this issue

Peter Matejic is director of evidence and impact at the Joseph Rowntree

Foundation. On page 13 he outlines what his organisation’s recent research has to say about child poverty in the UK and how the work of its diverse Grassroots Poverty Action Group, is helping to address this.

Emma Davis is an early years teacher and manager of a pre-school in Herefordshire.

She draws on her experience to look at the value of behaviour charts and questions their value as a strategy to build children’s confidence. Could they, in fact, achieve the opposite of what is intended? Page 30

David Wright has been co-owner, with his wife Anna, of Paint Pots for 30 years.

On page 50 he explains why the time was right to sell and why social enterprise Launchpad is ideal to carry on the group’s fantastic work. He also unveils his plans for the future to work as an early years ambassador.

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