The newly-crowned Small Business of the Year, Sandhills Day Nurseries is about to open its seventh nursery centre – one of the largest in the UK
Husband and wife Dal and Harcharan Basra launched Sandhills Day Nurseries in 2005 with one location and 25 staff. Every year since the business has recorded year-on-year growth and now boasts six sites, employing 170 who look after children from 700 families.
Next month Sandhills will continue this impressive record with the opening of its seventh site – one of the UK’s largest children’s nurseries in a new bespoke, state-of-the-art building in Lower Penn, Wolverhampton. The nursery, which has been funded by Barclays bank, will offer an education facility for a further 200 children and take Sandhills total staffing number across the business up to more than 200.
Director Dal said: “Since we started the company it has always been our ambition to design and construct our own purpose-built nursery to offer the very best facilities for the children within our care. With Barclays support, we will realise this ambition.”
The new nursery aims to offer a welcoming ‘home from home’ environment using the innovative Reggio Emilia approach to education, which allows the children to use their own natural curiosity and energy to help guide their own development.
Among the facilities on offer will be Playdough stations, natural open-ended resources, children’s cooking facilities and a reflections room. A library will be incorporated to help enhance children’s vocabulary, to help them understand how to read and write, but also to allow development of understanding of different topics about the wider world and every day life.
The Wolverhampton centre confirms Sandhills as the biggest childcare provider in the Midlands and adds to its sites at Alvechurch, Barnt Green, Heath Mill, Codsall, Wombourne and Boston – all of which are rated good or outstanding by OFSTED.
The excitement around the business has only increased with Sandhills award-winning performance at the recent Asian Business Chamber of Commerce where it was named Small Business of the Year – much to the shock and delight of Dal. “It was a wonderful surprise because we didn’t put ourselves forward for the prestigious award – Barclays nominated us which is amazing.”
Sandhills began life as a direct result of Dal and Harcharan’s previous careers – he was a qualified chartered surveyor while she was a primary school teacher. “At the time we had a young daughter and because of our careers we didn’t have a lot of time to see each other. We talked about it and I said: ‘Why don’t we start our own business?’ My wife wasn’t so sure it was a great idea but we went along to a nursery just to see what it was like and what it entailed – and my wife loved it.” The rest, as they say, is history – and their daughter is now an 18-year-old preparing to go university.
Key to Sandhills philosophy, says Dal, is “bringing new ideas to the table”. The innovative approach is summed up by the recent launch of a Sandhills Parents App which allows mums and dads to see real-time what their children are doing at nursery that day with the help of videos and photos taken by staff.
Sandhills also puts emphasis on the belief that the outdoor environment should be an extension of the inside offering a wealth of choice between activities so that children can learn to problem solve, explore, experiment, dig, paint and collaborate ideas.
With all Sandhills nurseries fully booked, parents are clearly showing they appreciation and support for this growing Midlands business