Ex-Asquith boss grows new group to 10 nurseries

Catherine Gaunt
Friday, November 13, 2020

The latest group to expand during the pandemic is led by ex-Asquith Nurseries' chief executive Andy Morris, which now operates 10 nurseries.

Chair of Family First Andy Morris at one of the group's nurseries
Chair of Family First Andy Morris at one of the group's nurseries

The group is now trading under the brand name Family First, after completing deals on six nurseries this year.

Backed by August Equity, Mr Morris’s first acquisition was the Little Garden Nurseries group of four nurseries in June 2019.

This year it has acquired Prima Montessori in Gillingham, Bizzy Bees in London, Acorn Montessori in Harrow and three Headstart nurseries in Potters Bar, Enfield and Barnet. 

Mr Morris expanded Asquith Nurseries to 92 settings before the group sold to Bright Horizons in 2016.

He subsequently helped grow the OAC Childcare Group in Australia from 24 nurseries to 79. 

Speaking about Family First’s rapid expansion in just over a year, Mr Morris said, ‘We’ve taken a robust approach to growth and moved forward with our plans – despite all the challenges thrown at us by the coronavirus pandemic. 

‘We see this as an amazing opportunity to create a new high-quality childcare provider, by empowering our managers and giving them a sense of ownership of everything that’s happening within their own nursery. 

Mr Morris said the company has invested more than £1 million in IT systems, equipment, facilities and staffing, and that nursery attendance had increased.

The nursery group has plans to grow to 80 nurseries within a 25-mile radius of London over the next four years, with the aspiration for all its nurseries to achieve Ofsted Outstanding status. 

‘Our focus is on offering excellent customer service and we’re looking for nurseries to join us who are already offering this to parents and staff, ones who we can learn from; we want ones that have character and share the same ethos and vision,’ he added. ‘We want to embrace and enhance them. ‘We want to collectively make a real difference to childcare.’

 

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