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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister