The Co-operative Childcare has expanded its portfolio of nurseries with the acquisition of the West Midlands-based First Steps Children’s Nursery Group.

The deal will see the Society take over First Steps’ four nurseries in Northfield, Selly Park, Harborne and Wolverhampton, strengthening Co-operative Childcare’s position as the fifth largest childcare provider in the UK and adding to its four-strong nurseries already in the West Midlands.

First Steps joins The Co-operative Childcare with an exceptional pedigree, having secured the prestigious Nursery World Nursery Chain of the Year award in 2015. Each of the four nurseries will retain its current management team, with the strength of The Co-operative Childcare network leaving it well-placed to further enhance the quality of service provided.

The acquisition will also deliver benefits to the Society’s existing portfolio of good and outstanding Ofsted rated nurseries, with the two newly-merged organisations set to share best practice to achieve ongoing improvements across the expanding network.

As part of the move, the chain will also take on First Steps unique ‘Forest School’, boasting two acres of woodland for children to play and explore, which children across each of the eight nurseries will be able to access.

Mike Abbott, Group General Manager at The Co-operative Childcare, said: “First Steps Nursery has developed a reputation for providing first class childcare, as evidenced by its success at last year’s Nursery World Awards. We’re pleased to bring its nurseries under the umbrella of The Co-operative Childcare, to join our already thriving West Midlands presence.

“This is a mutually beneficial new partnership that adds strength both to First Steps, but also to our existing portfolio of nurseries. We’re looking forward to working closely with the First Steps management teams to share learnings and new ideas, such as the Forest School, which we hope to roll-out nationally over the next few years.”

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