This year, amongst continued uncertainty and adapting to a ‘new normal’ in the face of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we are incredibly grateful to all our staff for the continued, unwavering dedication to the children in our care.
Kids Planet has surpassed all expectations, growing exponentially in 2021 while maintaining our reputation and commitment to the highest quality childcare. We’re taking a closer look at how the year unfolded, with achievements, acquisitions and success throughout the group.
We had over 2000 responses this year to our recent Parent Survey and the brilliant news is we are officially deemed ‘World Class’ in line with our wonderful NPS (Net Promoter Score).
As our group expands, so has our social circle, and our growth has opened up our eyes to lots of topics and pain points parents and carers face in the early years. From sleep, mental health, baby yoga, raising multiples, and much more, in 2021 we launched our Kids Planet All Things Early Years podcast, to uncover the highs and lows of parenting.
All 12 episodes can be found at https://www.kidsplanetdaynurseries.co.uk/podcasts/ or on Spotify and iTunes.
At the beginning of the year, we were thrilled to be crowned ‘Diversity and Inclusion Heroes’ at the WorldSkillsUK Awards, for our commitment to building an inclusive workforce in conjunction with our Men In Childcare campaign.
Gill Mason, Head of Training at Kids Planet Training Academy, said: “We are delighted that our work to raise the profile of men in childcare has been recognised by WorldSkillsUK. We believe that looking after and educating young children should be a job for everyone, not just women.
We have had a fantastic response to the campaign so far and we’re very much looking forward to supporting and training a cohort of men through our in-house Early Years (Level 2) Apprenticeship.”
Kids Planet then went on to achieve the number one spot in the Nursery World Chains 2021 quality table, and we were crowned the third-largest nursery group in the country after acquiring Kids Allowed in 2020.
In September, we walked away from the Nursery World Awards as winners of TWO awards: Nursery Group of the Year, and the Online and Social Media award. Two of our nurseries were recognised for their excellent achievements in the same awards, with Stretton shortlisting for ‘Enabling Environments’ and Beamont for ‘Inclusive Practice’.
And Kids Planet was proud to have been finalists in the Nursery Group of the Year category at the National NMT Nursery Awards, finishing off the year on a high and filling us with excitement for what the future holds.
We now have over 300 apprentices across the group and Kids Planet Training Academy has expanded its offering further in 2021 to now provide Level 5 courses for Lead Practitioners.
In January 2021 we successfully secured Kickstart funding from the DWP. The Kickstart scheme is designed to help young people (16-24) who are currently on universal credit to develop the skills and experience they need to find work, through valuable six-month paid job placements across all our nurseries with mentoring support from the Academy team.
Following the success of the ongoing men in childcare campaign, Kids Planet Training Academy launched a sports coach traineeship in partnership with Vocational Skills Solutions (VSS) to support sports coaches into early years settings.
And as part of our commitment to providing children with healthy, nutritious meals, the Academy has also launched a Chef Academy, working closely with Head Chef Victor Gonzalez to put together a programme of learning for Apprenticeship Chefs.
Well done to the below nurseries that had inspections in 2021, for the fantastic results achieved:
We ended the previous year with a grand total of 50 nurseries and at the time of writing we have almost doubled that amount in just a year, at 96 nurseries.
At the beginning of the year, we were delighted to open our brand new Chester nursery setting, and in June we had a successful launch in Shropshire as Kids Planet Shrewsbury opened its doors in June.
Also in June, we were excited to announce our move into the south of the UK for the first time, having acquired five University of Oxford nurseries previously managed by Bright Horizons.
We were on a roll at this time, with a brand new purpose-built nursery being built in Winnington as well as the acquisition of the Learning Curve Nursery group involving a further five nurseries in Blackpool and Lytham St Annes.
In July, we acquired Poppy and Jacks group of ten nurseries across the North West and Nottinghamshire, closely followed by two acquisitions in August – Burbage in Hinckley, Lancashire, and Peepo Day Nurseries three nurseries in Hatchford, Solihull, and Moseley.
Showing no signs of stopping, we then acquired Inside Out in Coventry and Poppins in Cheadle in September, and October saw us acquire Tic Toc Day Nursery in Coventry.
November saw us announce that we will operate the University of Cambridge Chris Abell Nursery from early next year, and we made the move into Yorkshire, acquiring Rainbow Day Nursery in Tadcaster.
Continuing our expansion into Yorkshire, in December we acquired Kinder Haven Nurseries, a group of nine nurseries across Bradford and Leeds. Not long after this, we acquired George Perkins Day Nursery in Birmingham, and Hanford Day Nursery in Stoke-on-Trent, with the recent additions taking our total number of settings up to 96 as the year began to draw to a close.
As you can see, it has been a busy year, and going into 2022 we will continue to look for opportunities to deliver our strategic goals. We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our staff for all your hard work and constantly leading the way within the early years sector.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all!