One of the original founders and local businessman, John Woodward, received an Honorary Doctorate at Birmingham City University on Monday [24th February 2014] to recognise his commitment to childcare which began when he trained and worked as a teacher in the 1970s.
John, his wife and two other couples pioneered the childcare sector more than 30 years ago when they were unable to find the quality of childcare they wanted for their children. The friends sold their houses and put everything they had into opening their first Lichfield-based nursery, which ensured they would be able to provide the level of childcare and education they required for their own children and those in the local area.
Through a lot of hard work and personal sacrifices, Busy Bees has built and acquired nursery settings all over the UK to become the largest and most respected nursery group in the country. Busy Bees currently operates 213 settings and each nursery is designed to meet the needs of children and parents within its locality. John Woodward and Marg Randles, another of the founding members are committed to growing the business significantly with expansion in the UK and internationally.
Coinciding with the original intentions for launching Busy Bees, John has always been aware that many parents struggle to find a balance between being able to work and the financial burden of childcare. John launched Busy Bees Childcare Vouchers in 1998 to help working parents pay for their childcare. John saw the importance of helping not only with childcare costs, but also helping to make pay go further; Busy Bees Benefits now provides a wide range of money-saving employee benefits in addition to its Childcare Voucher scheme.
Along with playing an active role in both Busy Bees Nurseries and Busy Bees Benefits, John has recently been appointed to the Advisory Board of Estro Catalpa, the largest pre-school operator in the Netherlands. He has also recently been responsible for the Knowledge Universe global business based in Singapore.
John said "I am delighted and honoured to have received this recognition. Busy Bees has provided childcare for thousands of children over the years and currently employs over 7,000 staff, many of whom are based in the Lichfield area. Busy Bees has an exceptional team and will continue to develop. We look forward to helping more parents with quality, affordable childcare in the future."
|(John Woodward giving a speech at the ceremony)|