Icelandic group buys first UK nursery

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An Icelandic nursery group has bought a setting in Scotland.


Elmwood Nursery School in East Renfrewshire has been sold to Icelandic nursery group Hjalli Model

Elmwood Nursery School in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire has been sold to Icelandic nursery group Hjalli Model, and is the group’s first acquisition in the UK.

The nursery, which offers places for 87 children, was established 18 years ago by Denise Bunis, who decided to sell the nursery to pursue a new challenge.

Hjalli Model is the largest educational firm of its kind in Iceland, having operated nurseries, preschools and schools for over 30 years.

Dame Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir, chief executive of Hjalli Model, developed the Hjalli educational model which focuses on issues including democracy, creativity and gender equality.

Ms Ólafsdóttir commented, ‘We are very proud to have been chosen from among the many interested parties to take the helm at Elmwood.

‘We aim to cherish and embrace the existing culture of the nursery while at the same time enriching the learning environment with some new and exciting ideas.’

Ms Bunis said, ‘Elmwood is a safe and loving environment, regarded as “a home away from home” where parents can safely leave their children with the knowledge that their child is being cared for and educated to the very highest standard.’

Martin Daw, senior director at specialist business property adviser Christie & Co, which handled the sale, added, ‘We are excited to have married this specialist Icelandic operator with such a wonderful Scottish business.

‘It is great to see Scotland recognised by international operators like Margrét Pála and her team, and we would like to wish Denise every success for the future.

‘The early years market in Scotland is busier than ever as operators prepare for the planned increase to 1,140 hours of funded childcare in 2020.

‘Some are looking to exit in advance of the changes, while others see this as an opportunity to grow their market share.’

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