Monkey Puzzle Glasgow Central

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Monkey Puzzle Glasgow Central'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 Monkey Puzzle Glasgow Central is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature The Rt Hon Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature The Rt Hon Lord Eric Pickles, MP
39MONKEY PUZZLE GLASGOW CENTRAL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
Owners Brian Doherty and
Della Martin
Our historic Grade II
listed premises
Brian Doherty and his mother, Della Martin, started their
journey in 2013 after settling on a career change. They
recognised the need for quality childcare in the area
that could be flexible and relied upon. Both of them had
backgrounds in education and, in line with that, they chose
to enter the nursery sector above all others they considered.
After an 18-month journey, they opened Monkey Puzzle
Glasgow Central on September 1, 2014, keeping in mind two
key philosophies: that memories are made from moments of
interaction, and that children are the most valuable part of
afamily.
We looked at nurseries to buy, refurbish or start from scratch, and examined
different models before choosing to work on a franchise. We had no in-depth
knowledge of the complexities of both governance and legislation, and knew it
would very much be a learning process.
The next stage was acquiring the right property. We saw and fell in love with a
Grade II listed building, standing resolute over an 18-month period to drive through
the deal. This historic building, and the work we carried out on it, served to
reinforce our views on delivering a high-quality service from the outset. From over
30 applications, we chose a manager, and subsequently a staff team who bought
into our ethos.
FACTS ABOUT
MONKEY PUZZLE GLASGOW
CENTRAL
»Owners: Della Martin and
Brian Doherty
»Founded in 2014
»Based in Glasgow
»Services: Day nursery
»No. of employees: 27
»When we were first established,
we had just 3 members of staff
and 2 children; 4 years later, we
have nearly 10 times as many
staff and make a small profit
»monkeypuzzleglasgowcentral.
co.uk
Monkey Puzzle
Glasgow Central
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
40 | MONKEY PUZZLE GLASGOW CENTRAL
Great staff culture
We developed our culture through
discussion with our manager, Lorraine
Kirkwood. After her initial interview,
we decided she would match not
only our philosophy and vision, but
could also add her skills to set the
foundations for quality service from
day one. She then built her team from
scratch, using many different ideas
and methods to ensure that the right
people were matched with their roles.
As the team grew, we began to embed
the building blocks that would form
our company culture.
A selection of techniques, spanning
from our six-month induction process
to just making use of our team’s
enthusiasm and skills, ensure that all
children receive experiential learning
on a daily basis, rather than just
on special occasions. Our team are
more involved in our business as a
result and give that little bit more;
they enjoy both being active and
actively imparting their knowledge to
strengthen each child’s learning. We
have also worked to enhance this by
hosting international students from
Germany and Denmark, providing
cross-cultural learning which was great
for parents, staff and children alike.
Cultivate your people
Along our journey, we have worked
hard at developing great community
links, including local doctors, libraries
and even a dentist’s surgery. We are
now well integrated into our local
area and participate in festivals,
parades, fun runs and visits to parents’
workplaces, which have included
banks and police stations.
We are an organisation led by our
people; they are passionate and have
bought into who we are, where we
are and what we strive to achieve. We
made the informed decision to employ
a qualified and quality staff team from
day one; whereas most services in the
sector have a 50/50 split, of our 27
employees, only three are apprentices.
Although we are providing young,
local people with experience, with
a majority of experienced workers,
we can ensure that our service is
of a consistent quality and that our
apprentices learn in a positive and
responsive environment.
This has proven to be a massively
successful decision; we have alleviated
the pressure of building a successful
team and are able to provide an
excellent level of care. We are now
Community engagement
Big Scottish Breakfast
with Lorraine Kelly, 2018
A selection of
techniques,
spanning from
our six-month
induction
process to just
making use of
our team’s
enthusiasm
and skills,
ensure that all
children receive
experiential
learning on a
daily basis
41MONKEY PUZZLE GLASGOW CENTRAL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
well embedded within our community
and have raised our standards to
achieve multiple award status, in both
Scotland and the UK.
Logistical and material
challenges
As a new business, we experienced
a number of challenges, including
logistical issues with the delivery
of materials and resources; our
refurbishment took place amid the
Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,
with four separate event venues within
a one-mile radius. This resulted in
road closures, restricted access and
increased foot traffic, which added
to the stress of having to turn the
building site into an operational
nursery within a seven-week deadline
set by the Care Inspectorate.
We experienced some negativity from
existing services in the community,
which took a while to break down.
We only achieved this by joining in
local groups and offering to become
involved in forums over a three-year
period. One such example of our work
was the organisation of an after-
school fun day in Pollok Country Park,
where over 140 young people from 12
clubsattend.
Financial challenges are often
monumental for nursery businesses,
and our case was no different. The
biggest investment is the setup phase,
where building work, resources
and wages prove to be a serious
operational expense. To date, we have
had no partnership funding for our
three to five-year-olds, as Glasgow
City Council believe we aren’t a viable
business. This judgment has been
made in spite of the fact that we
are now turning over a small profit
in three full years of trading. It’s an
ongoing challenge, not only for us, but
for the parents and children who use
ourservices.
Our strategy was simple: we wanted
to start a nursery with well-trained
and registered staff, to develop
standards and practice which would
lead to enrichment for our families
and to embed our ethos and culture
into every operational aspect of our
business. By connecting these three
strands, we have seen the education
of children at Monkey Puzzle Glasgow
Central become enhanced, enjoyable
and engaging. On the back of our
recent success, we now outsource
our HR and work with a renowned
accountancy firm to ensure quality
in every possible area. Although we
are presently somewhat held back
by financial restraints, we look ahead
eagerly to our next venture and what
the future holds.
To date, we
have had no
partnership
funding for
our three to
five-year-olds,
as Glasgow
City Council
believe we
aren’t a viable
business
» STANDARDS
AND ACCREDITATIONS
»Nursery Management Today awards,
where individual staff have won Most
Inspirational and Most Influential
»National Day Nursery Association
award
»Nancy Owen Awards
»Two Green Flags
»Woodland Trust
»NHS Pilot site
»Care Inspectorate Hub Healthy eating from
Healthy Choices’ Happy
Children Programme,
2017

The Parliamentary Review Publication, in which this article originally appeared, contained the following foreword from the prime minister.

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

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

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