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Outstanding child care business expands

An ‘Outstanding’ North Lincolnshire child care business has opened its third nursery with its owner gaining a nationwide reputation.

Michelle Drury is celebrating the expansion into Crowle after her settings in Brigg and Scunthorpe were given top ratings by Ofsted.

Supported by Karen Lyth, a partner at RNS Chartered Accountants, the firm’s growth into the Isle of Axholme has gone “really well”.

Michelle, who lived in Brigg for most of her life but whose home is now Caistor, said: “It’s been a different challenge as we bought a successful business from owners who wanted to retire.

“It’s meant we have hit the ground running. The existing staff have been really on board to the changes we have brought in.

“I’d like to thank Karen for her support and advice. They helped with cashflow and looked into the viability of the nursery.

“Although I am not very academic, running a business and getting the best out of people is my strength.

“I therefore need others to support me with the financial side and this is where Karen comes into her own and is an important member of the team.

“I’d also like to thank my staff, who are my biggest investment. They are the ones who sell the business to parents and drive it forward. They are amazing.”

Michelle returned to North Lincolnshire through work in 2006, having been a Probation Officer in York.

She and her husband Paul have five children between them, aged between seven and 24. It was her experience as a mum that helped with the decision to open a nursery.

“As a busy, full-time working mum I struggled to get high quality child care in Brigg.

“I had no experience in the business, I learned as I went along.

“The facility in Brigg - where we converted a bungalow – was the fourth property we had looked at and it opened in 2008.

“I always talk about creating a setting where I would be happy leaving my child.

“It was a steep learning curve. I went back to university to complete my Early Years’ teacher status.

“I then wanted to understand the sector further and became an Ofsted Early Years’ Inspector.

“I now see inspections from both sides, and the difficulties Early Years’ providers face on a regular basis.

“It seems we are expected to provide more and more, while receiving less and less, both in terms of support and finances.

“For this reason, I am passionate in helping others understand what is expected of them, and to raise standards in the childcare sector.”

Michelle opened the Scunthorpe nursery at St Peter and St Paul CofE Primary School in 2015.

A year later came the outstanding inspection at the Brigg nursery and that was followed with the same verdict at the Scunthorpe setting in 2016.

They trade under the I Learn Education Ltd brand, through which Michelle, a finalist in the Best Business Women Awards in 2017, also operates a consultancy business, helping struggling providers across the UK.

Karen, at RNS Chartered Accountants, congratulated Michelle on the opening of the Crowle nursery.

“It’s given me a great sense of pride to see Michelle’s business grow,” she said.

“She is a dynamic leader who has built a terrific team around her. They have bought into her demands around quality.

“Second best is not good enough and Michelle’s a great ambassador for North Lincolnshire.

“I wish her and her team all the best for the future.”

RNS Independent Financial Advisors provided advice to Michelle regarding pensions and life insurance.

Karen can be contacted on Brigg (01652) 655111.

RNS partner Karen Lyth (left) helps Brigg nursery owner Michelle Drury with some of the children.

RNS partner Karen Lyth (right) and owner Michelle Drury outside her Brigg nursery.

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