40 Years of Busy Bees

Celebrating 40 years of Best Beginnings

Published: 20/04/2023

Curved shape
Busy Bees


A big birthday is an opportunity to look back and reflect – and that’s exactly what we have been doing as Busy Bees reaches its 40th anniversary.

We launched our very first nursery, in Lichfield in 1983, and this week, as fate would have it, we’ve returned back to our roots with the opening of a brand new purpose-built centre in the same city.

So, as we look back on four decades of giving children the very best start in life, here are some of our most memorable moments!

Best Beginnings

1. Opened our first centre in Lichfield in 1983

2. That first nursery provided the best start in life for 18 children

3. Our 10th centre was in Preston Hospital

4. We set up our national headquarters in Burntwood, Staffordshire, in 2004

5. Kids 1st nursery group became part of our Busy Bees family in 2015

6. In 2015 Busy Bees co-founders Marg Randles and John Woodward were awarded the OBE for services to childcare and education

7. Our first UK Montessori by Busy Bees centre opened in 2018

8. We secured the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Promoting Opportunity in 2018

9. Our innovative UP (Unleashing Potential) app was launched in 2019

10. The new Lichfield centre is number 392 in the UK and Ireland

Buzz Around the World

11. We expanded into Singapore in 2015

12. Our first Malaysia nursery opened in 2015

13. Canada joined the Busy Bees family in 2017

14. We made it all the way to Australia in 2018

15. 2019 was a huge year for expansion

16. We crossed the pond to the USA

17. Said ‘ciao’ to Busy Bees Italy

18. Opened our first nursery in Ireland

19. And gained presence in the Channel Islands

20. New Zealand became the 10th Busy Bees country in 2021

Making Headlines

21. MP for Maidenhead, Teresa May, visited Busy Bees Maidenhead in March 2021 to launch the second year of our charity partnership with Child Bereavement UK

22. Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, visited Busy Bees Uxbridge in 2022

23. Shirley Anne Somerville, Member of Scottish Parliament for Fife, visited Dunfermline Carnegie to cut the ribbon on its newly built bothy

24. In 2023, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, visited Busy Bees Battersea after making his Budget announcement in the Houses of Parliament

25. Former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt produced dance routines in 2021 to inspire our children to get active during the pandemic 

26. Kenny Churchill, Paralympic gold medallist, developed a gross motor movement programme in partnership with Busy Bees

27. Strictly stars James and Ola Jordan were inspired to make spoon people with their daughter Ella as part of a Busy Bees survey into craft activities and messy play

28. In 2018, Child Bereavement UK became Busy Bees’ charity partner. Since then, families and staff have raised more than £200,000 for this worthy cause

29. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan invested in Busy Bees in 2013, enabling our international expansion

30. Temasek Holdings joined the shareholders of Busy Bees in 2017

Living our values

31. Busy Bees Education and Training was launched in 2013, offering apprenticeships and short courses throughout the UK

32. We now work with more than 2,500 learners and deliver over 70 apprenticeships, accredited courses, CPD programmes and First Aid training courses

33. In 2022 Busy Bees was named in the UK’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers

34. Busy Bees has been serving NHS Startwell accredited meals across all UK nurseries for the past five years

35. We kept 100 of our centres open for key workers and vulnerable children during the first lockdown in 2020, making Busy Bees the largest provider of childcare to the NHS during this time

36. In 2021, two Busy Bees educators were invited to a Downing Street reception to recognise their dedication throughout the pandemic

37. In 2019 we launched our Safety with Buzz programme to support the development of children’s understanding of health, safety and wellbeing

38. Defibrillators were installed in more than 350 of our nurseries in 2019

39. To date, 270 Busy Bees colleagues have celebrated their 20 years of service

40. Co-founder Marg Randles is still a member of the senior management team and continues to lead the way in ensuring our children have the best start in life