Since the coalition Government came to power, nursery managers have been speculating on how their businesses will ultimately be affected. Much now hangs on next month's Comprehensive Spending Review.
This issue of Nursery Management reflects the sector's expectant mood and its desire to have a clear policy agenda. It highlights how the economic outlook is very mixed across the country, with different areas braced to be hit by public sector job and funding cuts.
Anxiety about the free entitlement has intensified and the Government decision not to suspend the code of practice has been a disappointing development for many. Meanwhile, nursery groups testify to the subjectivity of local authority funding of the free entitlement and are calling for greater transparency.
On the vital subject of training, it is hoped that the Review will acknowledge the importance of the Graduate Leader Fund and the financial support available through the CWDC. Without it, many believe nurseries cannot continue to raise standards.
Despite uncertainties, many settings are developing quality and expanding business. For example, the Cheshire Day Nursery group opened its fifth setting in June. And we highlight how a manager has taken the leap of acquiring a loss-making nursery - determined to turn it around.
We hope this supplement delivers plenty of practical business support as well as insight. There is advice on how to deal with the complexities of separated parents, while food expert Mary Whiting highlights the Caroline Walker Trust's excellent nutritional guidelines for nurseries.