Editor's View - The nursery landscape is constantly changing

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Much of the early years sector's attention over the past few months has understandably been focused on the revised Early Years Foundation Stage and new Ofsted inspection framework, now both in place.

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And Nursery World will have plenty of advice and information from the top experts to support you in getting to grips with the changes. In this issue, we have the third article in our Norland series on working with under-threes, looking at the Prime area of Communication and Language, as well as a Parent's Guide on the same subject.

And in our next issue, we begin a new series on preparing for inspection, by Laura Henry.

These are not the only events that are changing the nursery landscape, however. This year has seen some of the large nursery chains buying up other nursery groups, culminating in the recent sale of the third-biggest chain Just Learning to the largest, Busy Bees, to create a company that is well ahead of all the others in terms of its size.

At the start of 2012, Busy Bees bought Early Years Childcare, while Bright Horizons acquired Casterbridge in May. Co-operative Childcare hoovered up Places for Children, Petit Enfant, Banana Moon and the City of Wolverhampton College nurseries to grow significantly.

All this activity is not surprising given the economic climate, but it does bring challenges with it. Busy Bees now has 214 nurseries, offering nearly 19,600 places, and it has to integrate the Just Learning settings. Just Learning has an interesting and occasionally troubled past - founded by Sevenoaks Conservative MP Michael Fallon and Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne, it bought up Careshare and most recently Nunu.

The new groupings will have to put the emphasis firmly on quality to go with size.

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