Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Derbyshire Nursery Group Founder “An Inspiration!”

Margaret Mason OBE, Founder and Executive Chair of Children 1st Day Nurseries receives ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award at industry’s top awards ceremony.

A Derbyshire business woman has achieved national acclaim by being recognised for the lifelong contribution she has made to raising standards across the UK’s early years education sector.

Margaret Mason OBE, Founder and Executive Chair of Children 1st Day Nurseries, a family owned company which has 24 nurseries across the Midlands and South Yorkshire, five of which are in Derbyshire received the prestigious Outstanding Person Award at the National Day Nurseries Association’s (NDNA) Awards ceremony which were held recently at the Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilworth Warwickshire.

Outstanding Contribution

The award recognises the outstanding contribution Margaret has made throughout her career in raising standards in nursery education and providing excellent childcare for youngsters across the Midlands and South Yorkshire, inspiring colleagues within the company and the early years education sector across the U.K. Her tireless work ethic, hands on approach and inspirational leadership has seen Children 1st Day Nurseries continually grow since it was first founded in 1988.

Margaret’s sector peers at The NDNA were impressed by her notable achievements throughout her career and her contributions both to the industry and the local communities in which Children 1st nurseries are located.   

Margaret has worked in childcare and education for over 60 years. She began Children 1st Day Nurseries in 1988 and is still heavily involved in the running of the business. The company has grown from a single site nursery in Long Eaton, Derbyshire to a multi-site operation offering the very best in childcare and education in high quality, nurturing environments. With 83% of its nurseries rated as outstanding by Ofsted, Children 1st continues to deliver leading childcare in within innovative outdoor and indoor learning environments.

Founding the NDNA

In addition, Margaret also played a fundamental role in founding the National Day Nurseries Association, the national charity which represents children’s day nurseries across the UK. The charity is now one of the industry’s most respected organisations with the goal of promoting quality in early years care and education for the benefit of children, their families and the local community.

Commenting on her award, Margaret said:

“It means so much to me to have been presented with this award by my colleagues at the NDNA. To think that I have inspired them and other people in the industry is an amazing feeling. I don’t think anyone would consider themselves an inspiration, you are too busy trying to do the best job you can and working to achieve the best provision and outcomes for young children and their families. It’s about doing what is right and ensuring that the government policy makers give early years education the recognition and the funding needed to ensure children have the very best start in life.”

Margaret adds:

“I have devoted my career to children and it gives me great satisfaction to think I have made a difference in their lives and helped them to get off to the right start in life. I know this is what motivates me and everyone associated with Children 1st and will continue to do so. No one enters into a career in the childcare and education sector because they are looking for awards and recognition and I am very humbled to receive this award.” 

Hat-Trick of Awards

The award makes it a hat-trick of award success for Children 1st Day Nurseries recent months. The company’s nursery on Main Street in Long Eaton (Children 1st @ Main Street) was judged to be one of the ‘Top 20 Most Recommended’ day nurseries in the East Midlands by parents on leading peer review site Daynurseries.co.uk. Children 1st was also judged to be in the ‘Top 20’ nursery groups according to reviews from the thousands of parents whose children attend its settings.


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