London nursery group set for expansion

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Nursery group N Family Club now has four nurseries in the capital, with several more in the planning stages.


N Family Club's London Fields' nursery

The company, founded by Phil Sunderland in 2017, has announced two new openings for the end of the year, taking its total number of settings to four.

Settings in West Hampstead and Brixton will join the group’s Stoke Newington and London Fields nurseries to offer a combined total of more than 345 childcare places.

The West Hampstead nursery will open in December and Brixton in February 2020.

The group is working on launch plans for a further five nurseries.

Education director Sarah Mackenzie said, ‘All of the initial growth is planned for London and through new openings but we are open minded about opportunities beyond the initial growth stage. Our focus is really on building the best group of nurseries and as a new start up we have the opportunity to build a new type and style of nursery group.’


The parents' room at N Family Club's West Hampstead nursery 

In partnership with early years specialist Dr David Whitebread, N Family Club has developed a teaching philosophy based on the EYFS with influences from Rudolf Steiner, Reggio Emilia and Maria Montessori.

The group focuses on recruiting graduates and offers them training to achieve further postgraduate qualifications through the N Academy training facility.

N Family Club also offers a variety of benefits to staff, Ms Mackenzie said. ‘From round the world trips as long service rewards to free lunch, coffee and homemade smoothies every day, we really want to offer something a little bit different. We’re launching termly performance bonuses for all of our team which will complement our performance-related pay scales and really support the high-performance culture that we’ve created.

‘On a day-to-day basis the experience of working for N also feels different; we’ve stripped out all unnecessary paperwork and administrative work so that our educators can dedicate their time to educating and our managers can dedicate their time to leading, mentoring and coaching. Bringing functions such as waiting list management centrally really frees up our teams to be the best and have fun in the process.’

N Family Club offers the funded 30 hours, with an inclusive fee covering extras such as milk, food, nappies, and specialist experiences including Forest School.

‘We do offer 30 hours but we face the same challenges with this offering that others in the sector face,’ explained Ms Mackenzie. ‘Due to the fact that we are open for 51 weeks of the year and we have a minimum attendance pattern of three days a week, our parents pay for wraparound provision which is not covered by the 30 hours.’

The group also offers a monthly programme of one-off special events, workshops, talks and shows for parents and children through its family club.

Family club activities for children range from cookery classes to immersive theatrical shows and interactive book signings whilst the programme for parents includes yoga, a running club and a range of classes on parenting experiences such as weaning and sleep.

All nurseries provide a cafe for parents and the London Fields setting also offers a breakfast bar.

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