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Just wondering if anyone knows where I can find out information about setting up a nursery school from scratch, or has anyone done it.... I'm just looking through all the pros and cons, but can't find much information on actually setting one up and the requirements of doing so...



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Nusery World magazine produce a book 'Starting Your Own Nursery' available from www.nusery-world.com. It is half price at the moment so I don't know how up to date it is but it is only £4.99.

Good luck! :)

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I looked briefly into this last year. If you contact your local EYDCP they are in a position to tell you the numbers of providers in your area, what they offer and also what demand is. i think there may be a charge for this. It's also a bit of a catch 22 as regards property, Ofsted have to inspect it and if they fail it, you might already of laid out money, so get their help too.

Helen gave me some stuff to read but I've lost it, hopefully she'll not be as remiss as I am. If I find it I'll point you in the right direction. :D

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Basilbrush, I have no idea how to link you to the piece I mentioned but I found it...Nursery settings general issues Feb 23 2003, 'setting up a nursery' this is part of it,


I've bought an excellent book called 'Starting and Running a Nursery' by Helen Jameson and Madeline Watson. ISBN: 0-7487-3347-7. It was published a few years ago so doesn't include the new Ofsted requirements and guidance, but certainly still full of relevant advice I think. The first thing it's advised me to do is market research. I've had a needs assessment done by the CIS which cost me £50 but worth it I guess because it lists all the nurseries my area, opening hours, cost, and in some cases how many vacancies they have. I'm still going to have to phone a few of them to find out about their vacancies. It also gives figures of population and percentages of enquires made from parents wishing to find a nursery.

The book suggests running 'test advert' for the nursery-has anyone done this before they started up? I guess it would be useful to know if many parents are interested so early on. What does anyone think?

The development officer from EYDCP is visiting me at home next week, so that will be good. The next step is getting finance- the horrible bit. Our current home is for sale at the moment and were looking to buy a bigger one, which is why I've had to do the research and get the business plan done first. A bit hard when you don't have a specific property in mind for numbers of children and staff etc. How do I get round that one? I've seen a house and I'm viewing it on Wednesday. I've worked out the floor space of the 3 reception rooms and it would probably accomodate 20 children (ie 2.5 sq m per child) so it's a possiblity. I'm planning on writing my business plan with 20 children in mind and employing 3 members of staff. I've found out that the average hourly rate here is £2.50, but the 3 newest nuseries all charge over £3. Again I need to work out how much I will charge before I even know what I will be offering parents. See what I mean now by the chicken and the egg? I'm supposing that the sensible thing to do is work on averages- what does anyone think?

Anyway, this is as far as I've got along the journey, but I have at least made a start.

Sorry for rambling on guys!




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I set up my nursery from scratch six years ago. Things have changed a lot since then, and the EYDCP offers considerably more guidance than I managed to get from anyone at the time! I'm not sure what I gave to Rea, now!


It has been a very rewarding period of my working life, but only in terms of job satisfaction....certainly not financial! I would earn three times my current salary if I went back to my previous job as a primary school teacher. My nursery uses three separate rooms on the ground floor of my house, with a separate entrance. I therefore don't have to pay any rent for the nursery; the owner of a nearby nursery does pay rent, and she hasn't taken a salary since she took over eighteen months ago. I don't want to put you off, just to paint a realistic picture...don't go into this with the intention of making stacks of money. :o


Having said all this, I think it is a very exciting time for the early years sector, and hopefully funding for high quality settings will allow everyone to be paid an appropriate professional wage; at the moment most nursery managers are struggling with the fees/staff wages battle.


Keep asking questions, and we'll help all we can :)

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Well I have to say well done to all of you for having thought about or having set up a nursery. The only thing I would think about is that there is so much change happening - 10year strategy, workforce strategy and every other strategy you can think of. This all impacts on the running of a private nursery and I don't think I would have the energy to do it at the particular time, not saying that I wouldn't ever do it but not now and that's more to do with my own personal and financial constraints - so I am supposed what I am trying to say is that make sure that you know what you are letting yourself in for. Might be worth preparing a detailed marketing plan along the lines of:-


Create the corporate (sounds a bit glam but you know what I mean) objectives and a detailed mission plan

I know this sounds a bit simplistic but it will help you decide what you really want to achieve and how you might achieve it.


Carry out a marketing audit

Taking into account both the internal and external markets macro/micro environments, 10 year strategy, workforce strategy, unemployment rates, birth rates etc. Census information although outdated might help give you some information regarding the area you are looking at, esepecially if it is a new area to you. That's if you can work out how to get around it - not the easiest site to view. Your EYDCP may be able to help as has been suggested but I know mine couldn't pull together that sort of detailed information I would need but there again that's just my area. Mine do actually produce a pro forma business plan which is quite useful to complete.


Swot Analysis

This will feed everything from the above into it. Remember that the Opps. and Threats of the SWOT analysis are things which affect the external environment and will not change drastically whether you are in Devon or Newcastle but maybe needed to be tweaked to take into account local government initiatives i.e. neighbourhood nurseries, EEC's so this can be reviewed when you find the house/area. Is there a large company in the area who may want to buy in childcare, offer incentives etc?



Think about what might happen in each of the areas - this is important to do because given everything that is happening being one step ahead of the game and having a strategy to deal with possible changes will mean less stress and surprise. If it doesn't happen then great.


Marketing Objectives and strategies


Estimate of expected results

to include a pricing plan to include the best and worst possible scenario - break even points charted against rent/salaries - best/worse. Think of everything - I have seen somewhere a chart of what income each child brings in over their life cycle with the group - I think this may have been on the DFES site but quite useful for planning on what you need to do.


Alternative plans/mixes




Measurement review


All these will help you through the process. As everyone says it is not easy but it is achievable and as Helen says it has been very rewarding in terms of her own personal aims but not necessarily financial. This is probably one of the reasons why I have not really looked at it seriously as I am a single parent with three children and I need to ensure that I earn a reasonable amount. But good luck to you - if nothing comes of it, it really is quite interesting looking and researching the information. I admire you all for having set up or trying to set up a nursery and I am sure it gives you all great satisfaction.


Not too sure if this helps at all - if you want to look at a good book for marketing planning I think Malcolm McDonald is a good author explains everything to detail and might be worth going to the library to borrow a book.



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