The nurseries – Tavistock Day House Nursery in Sunderland, Hetton Day House Nursery in Houghton le Spring and the Seaham Day House Nursery in Seaham – provide provide places for 259 children and employ 100 practitioners.
Two have already achieved Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ ratings and the third is rated ‘Good’. All three offer expansive facilities, including indoor and outdoor learning environments and on-site kitchens equipped to deliver new nutritionally balanced menus recently developed in partnership with Dr Hilary Jones.
Sally Bonnar, chief operating officer at Co-op Childcare said its growth in the North East is a testament to “how our co-operative values resonate with parents”.
She said: “We’re a different kind of childcare provider and the new sites will allow us to offer a rich and varied curriculum for the children in the area, including our community intergenerational programme. We’re only looking to enhance what is already a fantastic childcare offering and we look forward to working with our new colleagues to provide the best possible start in life for every single child.”
Phil Ponsonby, chief executive of Co-op Midcounties added that he was “delighted” to be able to acquire the new nurseries, which “already operate very much in line with [Midcounties’] values and provide high quality care”.
“This demonstrates the organisation’s ongoing commitment to grow and develop our core businesses,” he said.
Co-op Childcare is the fifth-largest childcare provider in the UK, providing care for over 3,600 children in 47 nurseries, employing more than 1,300 nursery practitioners. All of the group’s existing nurseries are Eco-School accredited by Keeping Britain Tidy and have achieved Millie’s Mark, meaning all staff are trained in paediatric first aid.