A nursery group in Huddersfield has named a new four-person senior management team in a bid to enhance its ‘outstanding’ levels of care for children.

New recruits Gail Howarth and Amanda Boocock have joined Portland Nurseries’ stalwarts Julie Lister and Samantha Warburton to create an experienced line up of senior nursery professionals who between them have spent over 100 years in the Early Years sector.

Oakwood House nursery manager Gail, who joined from Just Childcare with over 60 settings, has decades of experience in compliance and understanding the standards required by Ofsted to consistently achieve ‘outstanding’ ratings.

Amanda joins from Little Green Rascals in York as early years development manager and senior mentor. Nursery managers Julie and Samantha have both worked at Portland Nurseries Group for over 25 years both achieving and managing Ofsted ‘outstanding’ nurseries.

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Portland Nurseries was founded in 1991 by childcare pioneer Rosemary Murphy and set the standard for childcare in Huddersfield – and across the UK – as Rosemary used her first-hand experience at Portland to establish the National Day Nurseries Association, for which she earned an OBE.

The Portland group, which has four settings across Edgerton, Birkby and Lindley – three of which are rated ‘outstanding’ – the highest rating given by regulator Ofsted – is run by Rosemary’s children, brother and sister Anastasia Murphy and Michael Murphy.

They have assembled the new management team to ensure they stay at the forefront of childcare in Kirklees as they enter their 30th year.

Joint managing director Anastasia Murphy said: “They bring a new set of skills and a perspective from outside Portland Nurseries that will have benefits across the board, from process efficiencies to creative play. We’re creating a high-performing team but this this is about kids, not KPIs.

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“We are driven to create the best learning and play environments and are committed to giving children the very best start in life. From our outdoor play areas and forest school ethos, our healthy menus and STEM provision, to providing on-call wellbeing professionals for staff and managers, we try to cultivate a culture that brings out the best in people, whatever their age.”