Maureen's Blog For Ask Askew

 My blogs aim to provide childcare business owners and managers with relevant business and childcare related information.

I am a Business Consultant specialising in the childcare sector. I am an active member of the Chartered Management Institute, Institute of Consulting, Federation of Small Businesses and the Chamber of Commerce.

I have been a Chartered Manager since 2007 I am also a 4Children Business Champion. I write feature articles for 2 childcare/family magazines, on issues that are of interest to families and childcare providers. I have been involved in childcare for over 35 years.

A life time ago starting with my NNEB training, I then became a registered Childminder, owned and managed pre-schools and full day care, worked as a paid employee and volunteer for the Pre-school Learning Alliance, delivered qualification and short childcare courses in FE colleges across Lancashire and North Yorkshire and worked as part of the early year’s teams at Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton LA for over 15 years. 

I started Ask Askew in 2011, although I mainly work for myself, I do work as an associate for the NDNA, CBIS and EYalliance (previously the Pre-school Learning Alliance). 


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12 Sep 2019

Business areas that support sustainability

Sustainability of childcare settings is high on the agenda of Childcare organisations, childcare providers and professionals, it doesnt, however,  appear to be high on the political agenda.

NDNA has pubished its latest report on the number of nursery closures; it makes interesting reading. Read the full  report here  

For many the underfunding of the funded hours appears to be the primary reason for the closure of their nursery.

With ever-increasing operational costs, including the national minimum and living wage, pension contribution increases to 3%, and increases in business rates, it's not surprising, so many ...

12 Sep 2019

Nursery Closures

NDNA have published their report on Nursey Closures, since the 30 hours funded chidcare was introduced closures of nurseries have inceased by 153%. The highest numbere being in the North West. 

click on the link below to view the fulll report

22 Jun 2019

Working on the business

 As a business owner, it is easy to spend your time working in the business and not on it, so what does this mean.

When we start your business, you will have a vision of what the business will look like, how it will develop and the lifestyle the business will provide for you.

All too soon you get bogged down with the day to day operation, especially in the early days of being a sole trader, and you are doing everything. The days become weeks and weeks become months and before you know a year or two has passed ...

20 May 2019

Business skills

Over the last 12 months, I have delivered training sessions on how to effectively implement the 30 hours to maintain the sustainability of childcare settings across all sectors.

During the training sessions, almost all nursery owners and managers stated that the level of funding for the universal 15 hours and the additional 15 hours is not enough to cover the cost of childcare they are providing.  I’m not going to dispute this, although in my experience roughly 85% of nursery owners and managers had no idea what their unit cost for delivering one hour of childcare was,  or how to work ...

15 Mar 2019

Applying for funding

People forget that there are lots of small pots locally, local supermarkets might offer small pots of money, £500 or £1000 and all local councillors have a pot of money that they can allocate to businesses or charities in their area.

It might be a little short of what you’re hoping for, but there’s no reason you can’t tie these pots together with other funding or a loan to reach your goal. It’s important to remember that you’re not just a childcare setting, but a business, a Small-Medium Enterprise (SME), a charity or CIO too.

You should look beyond just ...

6 Jan 2019

Staffing and sustainability

How does staffing contribute to your sustainability?


Staffing costs  can be between 75%  and 85% of a nurseries expenditure, so it is important to keep on top of it

Here are a just a few things that you can do to help minimise this expenditure:

1.       Monitor staff absence, if you are having to bring in agency staff or pay overtime due to staff absence, it could be costing you more than you need.  

v  Always do a return to work interview, even if its only been one day,  having to speak with the owner or manager ...

31 Dec 2018

On line Security

How secure is your online business security?

How do you protect your business, especially on the internet where the fraudsters always seem to be one step ahead?

Here are our top  tips for keeping your  business safe online:

  • Implement a combination of security protection solutions (anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall(s))
  • Carry out regular security updates on all software and devices
  • Implement a resilient password policy, with strong passwords (min eight characters,  use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols. change regularly)
  • Secure your wireless network
  • Implement clear and concise procedures for email, internet and mobile devices
  • Train staff in good ...
31 Dec 2018

Putting your house in order

The sudden and tragic death of my 39-year-old nephew on December 28th has brought home the need to ensure our affairs are in order, whether this is in our personal or business life.

He was a fantastic tattooist; I'm not too fond of tattoos but can appreciate the skill and craft that goes into creating, what are often works of art. He was also a small business owner,  and like all of us, we don’t think our life will cut short and therefore probably don’t keep our business records as up to date as we should.  Over the past ...

9 Mar 2018


Use our handy checklist to help you assess where your business is now in terms of GDPR compliance (Tick when completed)
1. You have conducted an audit on what personal data you hold, where the data came from and who it is shared with.
2. You have identified the lawful bases for processing data and have documented it.
3. You have reviewed how you ask for and record consent for processing data.
4. You have a system to record and manage on-going consent.
5. Your business is currently registered with ...

30 Jan 2018


The GDPR – general Data Protection Regulation comes into force on May 25th, 2018

Are you ready?

The new GDPR replaces the  current data protection act and introduces new provisions, including enhanced accountability and new procedures for handling data breaches, and data access requests.  The new regulations apply to all businesses from major corporates to sole traders.

All nurseries, preschools and registered childminders keep data, think staff, parents and children, yes this will impact on your nursery

The regulations cover ‘sensitive personal data’ and personal data. Personal data is any information relating to an identified person or someone who ...