The Nursery Manager's Show logo

The Nursery Management Show

What was on show, apart from an ABBA tribute, musical bingo, and Mr Bloom from CBeebies?

Following on from last week’s article about the difference between nursery and school management information systems, we thought we’d visit the Nursery Managers Show in Birmingham, which was at the NEC on the 27th and 28th June.

Compared to events such as The Schools & Academies Show and Bett, this is a relatively small event taking up less than a half of one of the smaller halls at the NEC.

The event was collocated with another event called the Care Managers Show.  Interestingly, most visitors we spoke to weren’t aware this event comprised two shows in one, and a couple of nursery providers found themselves in the care section, which didn’t make them happy.

Somewhat strangely, there was also a low stage set up in the middle of the hall for ‘entertainment’.

We witnessed an ABBA tribute act and a cookery demonstration, but missed the twice-daily musical bingo, and ‘Mr Bloom’ from CBeebies (the actor, Ben Faulks has his own series of online educational resources – the noise coming from this area was not ideal when you’re mid-conversation with one of the exhibitors. 

A full agenda of CPD sessions ran throughout the day.  We counted 23 different nursery-focused sessions on each day. Some were well attended, although none we saw were ever at capacity.

We specifically went to investigate the nursery MIS sector and spoke to the four companies exhibiting:

Whilst all these providers offer a range of similar services, they all have their uniqueness’s.

Blossom has five of their own nursery settings, so argue their system is designed based on their own needs and is constantly used in a real-time test environment. There functionality and pricing is modular starting at £ 79 per month per setting for the essentials plan, going up to £ 350 for their top, custom package.

Child Path’s, is the biggest provider in its home territory of Ireland, and a couple of years ago launched in the UK with a fully-fledged EYFS system. They have a small but growing number of UK settings. The company was founded a number of years ago by Ciaran Flynn, the father of young children, who recognised the under-appreciated but imperative role that early years’ educators play on the development of the very young.  He has built an impressive solution from the ground up, and it’s continually evolving. However, one of their key differentiators would appear to be their ‘personal touch’ in the face of more ‘corporate’ competition here in the UK. Ciaran had taken the time to travel to the event from Dublin.

Famly is a Dutch company with offices in Copenhagen, Berlin, Washington and Leicester. Their pricing ranges from around £ 75 per month per setting, to over £ 200 for their fully featured package.   They are clearly a giant in this space, boasting in excess of 6,300 customers, from individual sites right the way through to nationwide groups.

Nursery in a Box is another British company, that specialises in providing it‘s nursery management package to settings in the UK and the Middle East.  Similar to Blossom, their experience was derived by previously running their own nursery group and franchises.   Their pricing also starts at £79, up to £199 per month for unlimited children.

What became quickly apparent was how marked the difference in requirements is between nursery and school settings.  All the providers we spoke to were hugely passionate about the role they are playing in supporting the crucial work done by early years educators, given that early developmental milestones are predictors of later academic performance. Children who enter school with strong foundations in language, cognition, and social-emotional skills are more likely to succeed.

With Labour’s manifesto pledge to open 3,000 school-based nurseries, we wondered if schools with nursery settings should invest in a fully-fledged nursery management system to sit along-side their current MIS,or could one system provide for both?

Whilst some school level MIS providers argue they also support the nursery sector, we feel that the two systems are significantly different to justify fully investigating both systems.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing an article detailing what nursery functionality school MIS providers offer.  

Why Subscribe?

WhichMIS? is an online publication for schools, multi-academy trusts and the wider education industry.

It aims to present a balanced view of the MIS landscape in the UK, with views from all the key market players, as well as reviews, the latest news and expert commentary.

Subscribe free of charge to ensure you can access all posts, news items and articles!

Your Privacy is important to us