A DAY nursery and forest school in Shedfield has been sold to a UK nursery group.

Fairlands Day Nursery, in Church Road off Botley Road, was one of four Barnkids Nurseries sold to Bright Stars Education, which now has 109 settings.

Barnkids Nurseries’ owners, Laura and Darragh Jones, decided to sell to allow them to pursue new business ventures.

The independent nursery group comprised of Barnkids and Fairlands Day Nursery – which utilise forest school and outdoor learning to make the most of their rural locations – and Puddleducks Day Nursery and The Friendly Fish Day Nursery and Beach School. Together, they can accommodate up to 264 children between the ages of three months and five years.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Fairlands NurseryFairlands Nursery (Image: Christie & Co)

Laura and Darragh Jones said: “We are delighted to have found an exceptional nursery group in Bright Stars who share our vision and enthusiasm for outdoor education. We chose Bright Stars as we felt they share our commitment to providing high-quality education, as well as fostering a nurturing environment for our team and children.

“We felt that the values and principles that we have built will continue to remain at the core of the Barnkids group post-acquisition, and their expertise and resources will contribute to the continued growth and success of all of the nurseries.”

Stephen Booty, chairman of Bright Stars Education, said: “We are thrilled to welcome all four settings into the Bright Stars family. Although the previous owners acquired the nurseries individually, they successfully transformed them into a cohesive group with a focus on quality childcare and incorporating outdoor learning to make the most of their rural locations.

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"We are committed to maintaining the high standards of childcare and nurturing environments that Barnkids Nurseries is known for. We look forward to building upon their success and providing exceptional early education experiences for children in these settings.”

Sophie Willcox, director of childcare and education at Christie and Co, who handled the sale, said: “I have known Laura for many years after selling her her first nursery, Barnkids, in 2016, followed by Fairlands in 2020, so I was delighted to have gone full circle and assist in the sale of the whole group. Bright Stars is the perfect fit, as they will maintain what makes each nursery unique. I wish them all the best for the future of the nurseries.”

Barnkids Nurseries was sold for an undisclosed price.