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Best Friends Childcare Staff

90% of our staff are fully qualified which is way above the minimum requirements of 50% as specified by Ofsted.

Our staff are also fully trained to a minimum of Basic Food Hygiene, Paediatric First Aid training, and Child Protection.

The management team all have First Aid at Work and Child Protection 1 and 2 (basic and intermediate).

Our staff are based in one area for the continuity of care for the children.

Gemma Jones - Director of Childcare and General Manager


Gemma Jones

Hilda McGrath - Nursery Manager
I have worked at Best Friends for 10 years and am the Nursery Manager. My aim is to give all children a sound foundation for life through early development of their potential intellectual, social, emotional and physical skills. I work along side the team, devoted to and contributing to develop the children to their holistic development and to create a home from home environment. The Nursery is a good-humoured atmosphere that is reflected in the overall response and behaviour of the children.

Hilda McGrath

Gemma Brown - Assistant Manager
I have worked at Best Friends for nearly 10 years now, I started my journey in the baby room where i started as a Nursery Nurse, I was then promoted to  Head of room , it gave me pleasure and a sense of achievement to see the babies develop and grow to their full potential. Over the years i have grown as a person developing my skills through courses and learning from other staff member. I have been promoted now to Assistant Manager and am based in the 2-5 years room. I work alongside the whole team to develop children to the best of their abilities, constantly reflecting our practice to make the children’s experience the best and most rewarding it can be.

Gemma Brown
Nursery Practitioners  

Emma Blanchard- Head of Room
I have worked at Best Friends for 6 years, I first came here as a student and was asked to stay on when I qualified. I have developed a lot over the years and am a good team player. I have enjoyed seeing many children over the years grow and develop into lovely young children, as a team we always strive to do our very best for each and every child who comes to Best Friends to help them reach their full potential.

Emma Blanchard

Annie Mason- Nursery Practitioner – Under 2’s.
I have been working at Best Friends for nearly a year now and I am based in the baby room. I enjoy lots of messy activities with the babies which helps their development and is also great fun!!!! I really enjoy seeing the babies grow and develop especially seeing each of their personalities begin to shine, my main goal is to help each child achieve to their highest possibly level and provide care in a safe, stimulating and happy environment.


Darren Pegg
My Name is Darren, I am 36 years old and have worked at Best Friends since September 2008. My main role within the nursery is as nursery chef, however I also cover as a practitioner as and when needed.

I have a number of years experience within the catering industry which I use to provide the best possible food for the children, focusing on healthy options and variety.

I have also completed a Cache Level 3 Diploma in Preschool Practice in my time at Best Friends as I always wanted to qualify as a practitioner as well as working in the nursery kitchen. I also hold qualifications in Emergency First aid at Work, Paediatric First Aid, Food Hygiene, Safeguarding Children, and Designated Person Safeguarding Training.

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