Grants & Funding

If you are in a rural area Defra may still have some grants available you will need to contact them. Your local Early Years Team will also know if there are any grants available.

Some authorities are giving up start up grants as there is a shortage of places for 2 and 3 year old funded children.

The Childcare Business Grant Scheme was set up in 2017 to help newly registered childcare providers, to find out more visit:

Here are some useful links:

Business Plans & Premises

You need a good sound Business Plan outlining your aims and objectives and how you are going to achieve them. Your Business Plan should also include your mission statement, SWOT and P.E.S.T.L.E analysis and how you are going to conduct your market research. You also need to consider your human and physical recourses, state how you will deliver high quality childcare and be sustainable, making sure you include your unique selling points. There are comprehensive written business plans in the Starter Pack that you can adapt to your needs.

If you are applying for a loan, grant or funding your business plan will need to be supported by a comprehensive cash flow, there are templates and examples of what you should include in your cash flow in the Starter Pack.

You will need to decide if you are going to be a partnership or a limited company. We started off as a partnership but later on became a Limited Company, on the advice of our accountant. You can get information about this from the government web site here.


Although a purpose-built nursery is ideal, premises COULD be:

  • A converted building. At Coneygarth we converted all the farm barns and at Flying Start we converted an old RAF dentist unit.
  • Convert a house, lots of nurseries do this.
  • A derelict pub is a good property to convert.
  • If you have land build a nursery or put up a modular build (like the McDonalds.) We considered this option at one point.
  • Look at business parks, is there a building you can lease and convert (we considered this option). Lots of nurseries are based on business parks.
  • Buy an existing nursery. Make sure you study their Ofsted report.
  • Approach a large company, would they let you open a nursery within their building or nearby, for e.g. a local sports centre.
  • If you are in a rural area approach a farmer to rent/convert buildings or a modular build.

Some people rent a church hall or village hall but you may have to set up and pack away for each session. You need to consider if there is enough parking space for staff and parents. If buying an existing property you will need to get "change of use" from your local council. If you could build a nursery near a large housing estate or near/on a business park, that would be useful.

If you buy an existing property you may want to reconfigure the space by removing walls etc, it would then be easier to staff rather than have lots of small rooms. You need to consider a quiet area, sleep area if possible, outdoor play area, a suitable changing area and toilets. Staff will need a staff room, toilets and an office for the manager. At Flying Start we have a reception area which is ideal.


You must ensure that all staff have the appropriate qualification. The manager needs an NVQ Level 3 in childcare or similar e.g. Btech National, NNEB, plus a minimum of 2 years relevant experience. Managers are encouraged to complete the Level 4, 5 or 6, or obtain a degree but that is not statutory.

Qualified staff need NVQ 2, NVQ 3, NNEB, Btech National etc. A person with the Level 2 can not be a room supervisor. You will also need a named Deputy Manager, Safe Guarding Officer and all staff must undergo regular safe guard training. You also need a SENDCO officer (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and an appointed First Aider. There must be a member of staff with paediatric first aid on the premises at all times. All our staff have First Aid and Health and Hygiene qualifications.

You may find these links useful:

50% of the staff need to be qualified, we usually have more than that. This does include the Level 2 staff.

To find out if your staff member is qualified check with the Qualifications finder:


Some nurseries do not take children under 2 due to the high staffing and associated costs, however our view is if you do a good job you will have these children for 5 years (or more if you have an OSC) so it is worth it. If a child under two is happy at their nursery they would not then move the child to another nursery.

When you are planning your sessions make sure you have enough space for your babies to come through to the next room i.e. Toddler Unit or Main Unit. We start to integrate our babies into the main unit when they are 22 months old.

Included in the UCP we have the following:

  • Parental Book
  • Registration Forms including Immunisations
  • Baby Unit Welcome Pack
  • Parental Questionnaire on your babies routine
  • What I like to do at home
  • Table of Exclusion Periods of Infectious Diseases
  • Permissions Form including permission to sleep in a pram
  • Introduction and Key Person letter
  • Integration Pack
  • Integration Time Table
  • Transition Sheet
  • Letter confirming movement of rooms/units
  • Settling In Policy
  • Integration Policy
  • Nappy Changing Policy
  • Toilet Training Policy
  • Sleep and Rest Policy
  • Anti-biting Policy
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Help & Advice - Safeguarding

Early years providers have a duty under section 40 of the Childcare Act 2006 to comply with the welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Early years providers should ensure that:

  • staff complete safeguarding training that enables them to recognise signs of potential abuse and neglect; and
  • they have a practitioner who is designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children within the early years setting and who should liaise with the local statutory children's' services agencies as appropriate. This lead should also complete child protection training.

Some relevant documents you will require are:

All staff are responsible for safeguarding the children in their care, we have two nominated Safeguarding Officers, the lead safeguarding officer and deputy. The lead person needs to attend a 2 day Child Protection foundation Level 3 training course, this has to be refreshed every 2 years. The Safeguarding officer also attends yearly training courses and updates.

All other staff need a 5 hour basic awareness training which again needs to be refreshed every 2 years. Safeguarding is a regular staff meeting agenda item to feedback updates and information to staff and also as an opportunity for staff to raise issues or concerns in relation to safeguarding, this is not compulsory but good practice.

Policies & Procedures

There are numerous policies and procedures required when running a day nursery in the UCP you will find three comprehensive booklets for you to adapt and tailor to your setting:

  • Parental and Staff Policies (46 policies)
  • Staff Policies (18 policies)
  • Safeguarding Booklet (7 pages including a Suspicions of Abuse Record Form)
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Help & Advice - Early Years Foundation

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the framework that all day nurseries and childcare provider must follow in the UK. It sets the standards for learning development and care for children from birth to five.

The framework is mandatory and is put in place to ensure that all children learn and develop and are kept healthy and safe. The EYFS seeks to provide:

  • quality and consistency in all early years settings so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind.
  • a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interest of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly.
  • partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers
  • equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.

You need to download this document:
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

Learning and Development: Early Years Outcomes 2013 (non statutory)

All the planned activities are based around the child’s own interests and activities that we feel need to be in place to bring the children forward. The activities are based around the Early Years Foundation Stage. This is a principled approach based upon 4 themes:

  • A Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Learning and Development

Within the Early Year Foundation Stage there are three prime areas of learning and development and four specific areas of learning and development.

Prime Areas:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional development.
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language

Specific Areas:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

There are Early Learning Goals for each of the 7 areas which children should be attaining to by the end of reception at the state school they are attending.

Here is the link for Early Years Outcomes

Government Early Years Web Sites:

Northern Ireland

Order the Starter Pack

The Starter Pack provides a step-by-step guide for anyone considering a day nursery business including expert guidance on:

  • Grants, marketing, premises & profits
  • Staffing, qualifications, Ofsted rules & regulations
  • Business plan covering your Mission Statement, aims and objectives, S.W.O.T and P.E.S.T.L.E analysis.
  • Help and guidance on how to set up a meaningful cash flow
  • Advice on market research and much more!

We know from our own experience that getting answers to questions isn’t always easy, so if you have any immediate concerns then get in touch. Carol and Martin will be happy to talk you through these early stages and any additional questions you have arising from your purchase of the packs.
Give us a call on 01427 753173 or use the contact form provided here

Rated Outstanding by Ofsted 2015-2016

“ ... We achieved an All Ireland Centre of Excellence Award in our second year of trading. This would not have been possible without the experience and support from Carol’s Ultimate Coneygarth Package. The support through the updates is fabulous and is more than what is required by our governing body. Worth every penny ... ”

Lisa and Ian Donnan Country Kids Nursery, Northern Ireland
Outstanding Early Years Provider 2015-2016
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