The childcare industry is transforming at a rate never before seen. Whether it is consolidation within the UK or fresh investment and ideas coming from around the world, it has never been more important for those entering the sector to have insight that empowers them to make the right investment decisions and knowledge that differentiates sound opportunities from risky ones.
Hopscotch is your conduit between commercial expertise and experience and the realities of the UK Early Years sector. Our consultants understand the changing landscape of the industry, have first-hand experience of the commercial realities inherent in the sector, and work tirelessly to deliver both outstanding levels of practice and maximal commercial return to operators.
Our investor-focused services will ensure that you understand not only the current state of a prospective acquisition but also its future prospects and potential for growth. Hopscotch can be with you every step of the way to support decisions that minimise risk and maximise return – and help you take the next steps to grow the organisation once an acquisition is completed.
Your investment and commercial expertise. Our comprehensive knowledge of the sector. A recipe for sustained success!
Want to know where settings stand today, rather than when they were last inspected by the regulator? Our holistic in-setting assessment will let you know exactly how a nursery and its team are performing, grading them against Ofsted's criteria and calling out potential exposures that are not apparent from either commercial due diligence or the latest inspection reports. We'll also give you an 'art of the possible' view of the ceiling potential of your target acquisition to enable you to accurately roadmap post-acquisition growth.
When looking to invest in the Early Years sector, accurate competitive and environmental analysis can be the difference between a sound acquisition and a long-term drain. Combining boots-on-the-ground analysis through mystery shopping visits to both potential acquisitions and competitors with in-depth demographic and local insight, Hopscotch will ensure that you have an accurate picture of the potential risks and opportunities inherent in the area and strategic information to shape your decisions on how to evolve post-acquisition.
Acquiring a setting or group of nurseries is only chapter one of the story. Hopscotch understand that you invest for the future - and identifying the correct acquisitions simply starts you on the right path to that future being a success. We can assist in roadmapping the growth in individual nurseries, strategic capital investment across a portfolio and targeting subsequent acquisitions to scale gracefully and with as little friction as possible. Hopscotch are your partner in making the right decisions at every step of the way.
Whether you are entering the childcare industry for the very first time, or whether you are an established operator looking to expand your business through opening new nursery sites, Hopscotch is your trusted adviser and facilitator. Our team have experience and subject matter expertise in, amongst other aspects:
Our commercial and startup consultant team initially work with you to understand the scope and timescale of your project and agree where Hopscotch should plug in - usually aspects in which you feel you need the most support, whilst being more hands-off on aspects that you are confident with. We can then generate a costed project plan to take us to the point where we go to ‘business as usual’ running and intensive support can scale back to reflect that your new setting is operating and thriving.
Hopscotch was approached to consult on the conversion of a Grade II - listed property in West London for use as a day nursery, connected to Jaego's House, a private family club with soft play, gym, coworking spaces, cinema and restaurant. With a runway of 18 months to opening, we were tasked to support the executive team in every aspect of the project.
Scoping & Business Plan Generation
In the initial phase we worked with the Jaego's House team to understand the potential commercial shape of the nursery and how the business could look to maximise revenue and meet all the needs of Ofsted etc. We built a 36-month commercial roadmap across best/assumed/worst case scenarios of operation of the nursery setting (revenue and cost projections). This allowed the executive team to make a firm go/no-go decision in the context of the wider family club project.
Preparation Of Nursery Facility
Starting from a blank canvas and a site visit, Hopscotch worked with the architects and builders to plan the layout/renovation requirements for the space in order to achieve maximum capacity and suitability for the nursery. We built a complete list of furniture and resource requirements to support the educational goals of the nursery and sourced them at the best prices. We then spent one day per week until opening day to work onsite with the interior designers and contractors delivering the project.
Selection & Implementation Of Staff Team & Operational Logistics
Initially identifying the need for a Director of Education to oversee operational management of the setting, we also led the recruitment for the manager, deputies, administrator, Early Years qualified teachers and 12-16 qualified members of staff, along with a cook and housekeeper.
Selection and implementation of policies, procedures and operational aspects of the provision also required significant consultancy input. We sourced best-of-breed off-the-peg systems for all aspects of provision, from planning and assessment through to staff induction, and wrote the curriculum that would be the basis of the nursery's educational offering.
Satisfaction Of All Regulatory Requirements
In order to be able to open the doors of a nursery and accept children, there are significant regulatory hurdles to clear. We worked with the Local Education Authority, Ofsted and local government to ensure that all aspects of regulation and compliance were met and that the school’s registration on all required and desirable schemes and registers was completed. We supported the new staff team and management throughout the registration and post-registration period, and continue to support the nursery as it moves to maturity.