WHEN DID YOU JOIN KINDRED NURSERIES?
After seven years at Toad Hall I first moved into an interim role with Spring Nurseries at Action for Children, before taking a non-executive role at what was Eduko Education a year ago. I was delighted when the opportunity arose to consider the CEO role, and having worked with such wonderful people and nurseries I was delighted to take it on permanently.
WHY DID THE GROUP DECIDE TO REBRAND?
Eduko initially had three nurseries: Bournemouth, Teddington and Hanwell. In 2017-18 they bought Little Learners and Les Enfants in Bromley, and Windmill Montessori in Maida Vale, but didn’t rebrand any of the settings. Finally, just before Easter this year, we decided to ditch these separate brands. We consulted with parents and families and settled on the name Kindred Nurseries. Everyone agreed it had a really nice family feel to it.
WHY IS FAMILY SO IMPORTANT TO KINDRED?
The Kindred ethos is all about collaborating with parents. We appreciate how important it can be to meet their needs as well as those of their children. Parents are busy, so we try to make sure that as much as they can, they are able to have a role and input at nursery and still feel involved in their child’s life. We really strive to make nursery a home from home for the whole family.
HOW DID THE RECENT ACQUISITION OF DIZZY DUCKS FIT INTO THIS?
The Kindred ethos is very much what Sian Millar, the former owner of Dizzy Ducks, had already built into her settings. It was a great acquisition for us as the group really matched our ethos. It was like two pieces of a jigsaw coming together. We worked very closely with Sian and really became a partnership. Part of what Sian built was a real footprint in the Billericay area of Essex, and we are very pleased to be able to take that over and support local families with the four nurseries and two out-of-school provisions as well.
HOW HAVE THE TWO GROUPS MERGED TOGETHER?
Sometimes these deals can go on behind closed doors but Sian was really open with her staff from the beginning, which helped the deal run smoothly and allowed staff to feel part of the process. We kept all the staff team and small central team. It is a true example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts; we have come together to work as one, and lovely things are happening. Dizzy Ducks had a really strong training element and we have used that to help us, while the corporate side of Kindred Nurseries has really helped the Dizzy Ducks settings too.
DOES KINDRED NURSERIES HAVE ANY FURTHER EXPANSION PLANS?
Having bought Cator Park Montessori in Bromley and Wanstead Nursery since the Dizzy Ducks acquisition, we are really taking the nursery world by storm at the moment. We are actively looking to grow and are keen to hear from nursery owners who would welcome the opportunity to step back. We pride ourselves on building relationships with owners wishing to sell, as we recognise it is a big decision. Our aspiration is to get to between 25 and 30 settings fairly swiftly. You really need to watch this space with us.