Kids Planet nurseries top for quality

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The North-West based nursery group has claimed the number one spot in our Nursery Chains Ofsted table for 2016.

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Left to right: Clare Roberts, who founded Kids Planet with her father John Hoban, with sister and early years director Lucy Kaczmarska, outside Kids Planet Lymm

For the sixth year running, Nursery World has ranked the 20 biggest nursery groups in terms of quality, by compiling the grades from the latest published Ofsted reports and analysing the findings using our points-based rating system.

Kids Planet is number one with 14 of its inspected nurseries graded Outstanding and three with Good grades. One of its settings is awaiting inspection.

The nursery group has been runner-up in the quality table for the last two years.

Clare Roberts, who started Kids Planet in 2008 with her father John Hoban, told Nursery World, ‘We are thrilled with this accolade and this is a real reflection of the hard work dedication and commitment from all of our nursery teams over the last eight years.

‘We always believe in working together and continuously reflecting on our practice to develop and move forward as a group.

'This recognition is also critical for us as it is taken from the measurement of the quality of care that we provide across our settings. Our commitment is at all times is to ensure that we always give the best possible start to the children in our care and is wonderful to have this recognised even further.’

Kids Planet is a family-run business. Mr Hoban is still involved as chairman and Ms Roberts' sister, Lucy Kaczmarska, joined the group three years ago as early years director, following a career in primary teaching.

In second position in the Ofsted table is Children 1st, with 11 outstanding nurseries and seven graded Good.

The top four groups in the table all have Good and Outstanding Ofsted grades.

Childbase Partnership is in third place, and the London Early Years Foundation in fourth.

Kids 1st, previously holder of the top spot for five years in a row, is now owned by the Busy Bees Group, so its grades are no longer counted separately.

Across the 20 groups in the table, there has been a rise in the proportion of nurseries graded Good or Outstanding.

The nurseries owned or managed by the largest groups have achieved 96.4 per cent of their settings graded Good or Outstanding.

More than a quarter of the nurseries in our Ofsted table are graded Outstanding (25.4 per cent) and just under three-quarters (71 per cent) are graded good.

This means that a very small proportion of settings are graded ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

The top 20 group’s performance outstrips Ofsted’s most recent national statistics (31 March), which showed that 86 per cent of early years settings were graded Good or Outstanding in their last inspection.

Top 25

Alongside the Ofsted quality table, we publish our annual table of the 25 Largest Nursery Chains in the UK.

The top five biggest groups remain the same as last year.

Busy Bees has retained its first place as the biggest group in the UK, with Bright Horizons in second and Asquith in third.

In 4th place is the Pre-school Learning Alliance with the Childbase Partnership in fifth.

There are also some new entries this year, including Action for Children, in 14th place, which has taken on the majority of 4Children’s nurseries, after the organisation closed earlier in the year.

Blackpool-based Safehands Green Start is in 22nd place and Kids Allowed is in 25th.

  • To see the table results in full don’t miss Nursery Chains, out on Monday, and free with Nursery World (14- 27 November).
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