Founded in 2011, Hopscotch was the result of a decade of change in the Early Years that meant nurseries could no longer rely on strong and capable support from Local Authorities; that the inspection process was focused on judgement rather than helping to drive quality; that parents in many parts of the country could not access high-quality care and education for their children; that operators felt alone and adrift in a rapidly-changing sector at a time of increasing financial hardship - but most importantly from a passion for Early Years and a calling to change the lives of little people.
From the very beginning, we have taken pride in building long-term relationships with our customers and growing with them as they reach for their goals. Expanding our consultant team whilst ensuring that each new addition shared the same vision, ethos and standard of excellence meant that within only a couple of years Hopscotch was regarded as a leader in the sector. Results at inspection bore out that status - working with Kids Planet saw Hopscotch support the ambitious chain to 26 consecutive Outstanding gradings, and over the first ten years of operation nurseries supported by Hopscotch gained over 250 Outstandings at inspection. This track record of success, combined with Hopscotch becoming a key voice in the sector - writing a regular column in Nursery World, being asked to help steer Government policy in a House Of Commons working party and presenting at all the major industry events as champions of quality and progress - have further cemented Hopscotch's reputation as the leading consultancy in the UK.
As Hopscotch grew, our scope and capabilities have grown with us. Although our core mission statement will always be to champion quality in care and education for all in the sector, we have evolved to become an end-to-end consultancy, able to plug into every aspect of Early Years provision - whether that be commercial and management consultancy, leading nursery startups and investor-led acquisitions, mentoring and coaching for Early Years professionals, comprehensive training for practitioners and leaders or market research and competitive analysis. We do it all! All the while, we remain at the forefront of a sector that never stands still, always ready to adapt and lead to ensure our customers are always promoting best practice and driving sustainability and profitability for all in the Early Years.
I have worked in the Early Years sector for more than twenty years. Entering the industry at 18 years old, I first managed day nurseries – including opening a new startup on day one and bringing it through to maturity – with a varied mix of parents and children with diverse needs.
I then moved to a nationwide chain, ensuring the quality of care and education across a portfolio of 15 nurseries as a Quality Manager – before creating Hopscotch and starting on the journey to provide consultancy services to nurseries. I also worked for a decade as an inspector for Ofsted and other Early Years regulators both in the UK and worldwide. I am an Early Years Professional accreditation auditor.
Like you, I understand the need to provide high quality care and education for children in Early Years and am passionate about working with teams to promote best practice. With Hopscotch in the last year alone I have worked with over a dozen staff teams who have gained Outstanding judgements at their recent Ofsted inspections – and particularly enjoy not only achieving the judgement my customers want but also to continue to support them to progress over the months and years that follow.
My philosophy is to be straightforward and honest with settings I work with, to quickly identify areas where we can make maximum impact and to work immediately to make swift progress. Because of my experience as a practitioner and operator of a setting I appreciate and understand the challenges you face both from the curriculum and regulations and the need to inspire and involve your staff teams to strive to maximise their potential. I’m approachable and open to everybody in a setting – from the owner to the newest trainee, and understand that everybody has a huge role to play if your setting is going to achieve the best grading and brightest future!
I have a BA(Hons) in Early Childhood Studies from Leeds University and also have Early Years Professional Status – the culmination of a decade of constant study in Early Years education.
I live in North Yorkshire with my husband and two children – and my nieces and nephews are keeping me on my toes as they go through the Early Years themselves!
Our team are hand-selected as subject matter experts in every aspect of Early Years provision. They have a track record of achievement in the sector, but more importantly share a passion for Early Years and a desire to help nursery operators and practitioners achieve their goals. Whether they are experienced inspectors, successful owner/operators or inspirational teachers, they represent the pinnacle of quality.
We are firm and fair but warm and approachable, with a collaborative ethos which allows us to get the most out of your staff team - identifying and magnifying your setting's strengths whilst effectively targeting areas for improvement.
Through years of managing critical projects for demanding customers and large chains, we have developed into a tight-knit team who work together to ensure that you have the right person for the job throughout every stage of your project. Our size means that we can be responsive to your changing needs, whilst our established body of work means that we can call upon a wealth of past experience to deliver the best solution to any challenge our customers face.