NURSERY OWNERS' SHOCKING MEASURES TO SURVIVE

Subscribe to our Newsletter to keep up to date with everything happening at Riverside Training (Spalding) Ltd

PUBLISHED BY RIVERSIDE TRAINING (SPALDING) LTD

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say I was appalled by the content of an article I read recently in Nursery World.

Under the headline, 'Nursery owners’ desperate measures to survive' the piece featured a catalogue of ways childcare providers are managing to keep their cash-poor businesses afloat.

These ranged from being reliant on their partners’ wages and the help of family to get by to taking on other work, taking out loans, dipping into their pension pot and selling their cars.

Unbelievably, one owner even rents out her home on Airbnb to make the extra money needed to support her setting.

The basis of the article was a thread on the Champagne Nurseries on Lemonade Funding (CNLF) Facebook group which revealed that for a number of nursery owners and childminders the only way they can continue to run their business is with financial help from their husbands, partners and family members, or by using other more worrying income streams.

Several said that if their partner did not earn a good wage they would not be able to continue in Early Years.

Among others, Nursery World quoted Liz Burnett, Manager of Rotherfield Village Pre-School, which only operates during term time.

She revealed that not only does she face financial difficulties operating her business, but several members of her staff also have to take on additional work to make ends meet.

She told the publication: "I am very lucky that my partner has a good job. His money runs the household.

"Last year, I earned £6,500. I wouldn’t be able to do this [run the setting] without my partner. One pre-school closed near us the other week.

"We have several staff who have second jobs. One works in a café and does hairdressing, another does cleaning, and other staff do babysitting.

"We aren’t offering the extended entitlement as we are only open 30 hours a week. On the 15 hours of funding alone, we lose money."

Then there was Julie White, owner of Nature to Nurture, rated Outstanding by Ofsted and based in Croxeth County Park in Liverpool. It is Merseyside’s only outdoor nursery and Forest School.

She told Nursery World: "I’m a single mum and heavily reliant on tax credits. Some months I can’t afford to pay myself. I am very much dependent on parents paying fees and receiving funding from the local authority on time. When I don’t get the money in time, I have to borrow thousands of pounds from my family to pay wages and bills.

"To make extra money, on occasions I lease out my home on Airbnb. I do training as well, which helps to hold up the pre-school, but because I need a hip replacement I haven’t been able to do as much as normal.

"I’ve just written a book, so hopefully that will be extra income. I’ve also gone back to university as I knew I would be able to get a bursary, so am doing my master’s."

Ms. White also said she can’t afford to socialise, buys clothes from charity shops, and recently had to let their only teacher go as she couldn’t afford him.

What a shocking state of affairs.