Why Play Away?

What is the history of the company?

As Directors, we are first and foremost child care practitioners. We began the nurseries in 1990 and left our respective careers as Primary teacher and Principal Social Worker with Hampshire County Council to open the first baby nursery in Hampshire.

We have often been asked why we haven’t opened more nurseries.

Put simply the answer is as Directors of the company, we believe in quality and not quantity. We have spent many years adapting, and modifying buildings and then relocating to brand new purpose built nurseries to provide spaces for children that are light bright and airy with full air conditioning and beautiful child centred wooden furniture. For us everything starts with your child and our whole focus is upon improving outcomes for the children we are privileged to care for.

We have highly qualified staff and low staff turnover.

The largest resource within our nurseries is our talented staff teams, who are dedicated in their commitment to the children and loyalty to the company. Our staff retention is extremely high with many of our staff having worked for us for over ten years. It is extremely important to us that we know our staff individually and that we never grow so large as a company that we lose touch with them.

Ofsted require 50% of staff to be qualified to a level 3 in childcare.

At Play Away 95% of our staff are qualified to a level 3. All our Managers are graduates who hold post graduate qualifications in childcare. We actively seek to encourage all staff to add to their experience and develop their knowledge by pursuing additional training.

What ratios of staff do you have?

We frequently exceed the ratios laid down by Ofsted for staff working with the children. We employ full time qualified chefs, and kitchen assistants together with housekeepers to ensure that staff are always able to focus on the childcare.

How flexible is the provision you offer?

We deliberately offer a full range of flexible sessions, to provide as much variety as possible for parents to build their work schedules around. We cater for parents needing to cover shift patterns and offer term-time sessions for parents just wishing to use their nursery funding.

We also offer term-time teacher contracts and preferential rates for customers employed by Hampshire Police.

In addition, unlike many other nurseries we make no charge for Bank Holidays when the nursery is closed.

How involved can I be within my child’s day at nursery?

We offer many opportunities for parent partnership at Play Away.

These range from parent activity sessions where we encourage parents to join in with their children for special themed activities such as sensory afternoons and gardening projects, to stay and play sessions to watch your child actively involved in discovering and exploring through play with their friends.

What do Ofsted say about Play Away?

At our recent inspections of our nurseries in West End and Totton, we were graded as outstanding in both. The inspectors highlighted and commended the strong management structure of the nurseries, which provides cohesion for the staff teams and underpins the practice enabling every member of staff to have a clear vision and sense of ownership understanding the contribution they make to the team.