A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Fledglings's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Fledglings is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Owner and Director
No job too big
or too small
Founded in 1989, Fledglings Ltd set out to provide the very
best in education and childcare for parents who have returned
to work after having a baby. Based in Worsley, Salford,
Fledglings employs a team of qualified and professional staff,
who provide wholesome and nurturing education and childcare
in outstanding facilities. They are open Monday to Friday, from
seven-thirty in the morning until six in the evening, for 51 weeks
a year. Owner and Director Christopher Gray expands.
There’s nothing like having a new baby in the family. A child that is the love of
their parents’ lives, a special new person who requires affection, feeding and nappy
changing. It requires almost constant attention, often cries and hopefully sleeps,
but, above all else, it’s healthy and begins to grow stronger.
Rather than adapting existing properties into nurseries, Fledgling’s policy has been
to build nurseries specifically designed for childcare. We currently have four large
nurseries, which provide 400 places, with over 700 children attending each week
on a full or part-time basis.
We have the best job in the world: employing 150 staff, among whom are
childcare practitioners and administrative and ancillary staff, who work in attractive
buildings with outstanding facilities and large gardens. Above all, we have a
happy atmosphere where everyone pulls together to provide a loving, educational
environment for the children we care for. We are open for 52 and a half hours
every week, taking in children from a few weeks to four years of age, with a
provision for before and after-school clubs and holiday play schemes. This workload
presents great challenges but also many opportunities.
»Owner and Director:
Christopher Gray
»Managing Director: Jackie Kerr
»Founded in 1989
»Based in Worsley, Salford
»No. of staff: 150
»No. childcare places: 400
»Weekly number of children
attending: 700 plus
»Turnover: £3,330,000
Our ethos
Our staff have bought into our
approach and they embody our values
in the way they conduct themselves
every day. Their work is an integral
part of our mission statement: happy
staff + happy children = happy parents.
Providing a service that allows children
to play, have fun and learn is central to
our entire organisation. Our ethos is:
»To conform with all national
and local mandatory legislation
pertaining to the care of children
»To ensure that each child is cared for
with love and affection and in a non-
discriminatory way
»To treat parents with respect,
courtesy and friendship
»To treat all employees equally
irrespective of their role in the
Our opportunities
Our opportunities are many, but
primarily we are able to ensure
that our children thrive in this very
competitive world. This is particularly
relevant if the child is from an
environment in which there are limited
opportunities or where the family
requires support and the two-year-
old government funding enables
attendance at our setting. This often
involves several meetings with other
government agencies throughout the
child’s stay. In addition, we spend time
developing close relationships with
the immediate family. Our partnership
with parents ensures that both within
the nursery environment and at home,
the child grows in confidence and
knowledge, enabling them eventually
to be prepared for primary school.
Our staff gain great satisfaction and
a thrill when, ultimately, they can
see the improvements to the child’s
confidence and knowledge together
with appreciative parents.
Our challenges
Our challenges recently have been
the acute shortage of suitably
qualified staff, primarily as a result
of the government’s insistence that
to become a childcare apprentice
one had to have both an English and
mathematics GCSE qualification. These
criteria immediately diminished the
numbers of school leavers who were
able to attend college to such an
extent that many Early Years courses
were abandoned. It also inhibited the
nursery profession from employing
and training their own staff. Hence,
coupled with the national high level
of employment, there is still an acute
shortage of suitably qualified and
experienced childcare practitioners, a
Fledglings, Bredbury,
Our staff have
bought into our
approach and
they embody
our values in the
way they
every day
Highlighting best practice
situation that was created primarily by
government legislation, now repealed.
This is at a time when early years
education and childcare is high on the
political agenda.
Training and development
We take pride in employing staff who
are either fully qualified early years
practitioners or are being trained to
achieve that level. All staff have had
paediatric first aid training. We have
taken great satisfaction in recently
being able to sponsor nine staff to
attend university to obtain a BA Hons
in Early Childhood Studies, and two
more have commenced their studies
this year.
Quality education and childcare
Essentially, there are two independent
assessments of how well the company
The first is the fact that every day, every
parent takes a deliberate or subliminal
view of how our nursery is doing.
Rightly, they are very concerned about
the welfare of their child, the progress
they are making and whether the child
is in a safe and lovingenvironment.
The very fact that our nurseries are
busy and that we develop partnerships
with the parents, enabling them to
trust our professionalism, means that
we retain our custom. Most of our
initial enquiries come from personal
recommendations from past and
existing customers, rather than from
advertising on our website. Secondly,
Ofsted is the mandatory assessor
of our ability to provide the best in
education, childcare and safeguarding.
Three out of our four settings have
achieved an “outstanding” grade,
with the fourth consistently obtaining
“good”. In addition, we have entered
a number of business competitions,
notably The Salford Business Awards.
Participants come from a wide range
of industries and businesses and in
both 2010 and 2011 Fledglings won
the Salford Award for Excellence.
We take pride in
employing staff
who are either
fully qualified
early years
practitioners or
are being trained
to achieve that
I couldn’t have asked for any more from the visit; all questions were answered and I was put at ease – being
a first-time mum. Thank you to all staff; you made the decision to place our two-year-old in your care a much
easier choice.”
My partner and I chose Fledglings after visiting several nurseries in the vicinity and following a recommendation
from a friend. We were most impressed by the overall running of the nursery and the welcoming, child-friendly
atmosphere. The qualities we value most are that any concerns we may have are listened to and that our little
girl is well cared for. Amelia seems very happy in her second home.”
‘’ I knew from word of mouth that Fledglings had a brilliant reputation in the area and from my first visit it stood
out from the other nurseries. I like the layout of the rooms and the superb resources for the children, especially
in the garden area. I trust all the staff members and know many of them personally as they live in the local
community. It’s good to know that I can confide in the staff with any worries I have about Willow and they
always offer support.”
Fledglings Exemplary
Employee of 2018


This article was sponsored by Fledglings. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy