A NURSERY chain responsible for hundreds of Oxfordshire children has been taken over.

The founder of Bramleys Nurseries said she is stepping back from a 'life's work', after the businesses was bought by the ever-growing Busy Bees group.

Bramleys runs four nurseries of which three are within the county: Rockwell House Day Nursery in Wantage, Bramleys Day Nursery in Ardingdon near Wantage, and Ladygrove Day Nursery in Didcot.

Sue Watson, who founded Bramleys in 1990, said the decision had not been taken lightly.

She said: "Bramleys Nurseries has been my life's work. The process has been exciting and exhausting, but ultimately, very satisfying.

"I watched with pleasure as my long-serving members of staff welcomed in Busy Bees and I know they will go from strength to strength together. We wish them all well."

The three Bramleys branches, as well as York House Day Nursery in Salisbury, currently offer a total of 351 places to children aged between three months and five years old.

Marg Randles, managing director of Busy Bees Childcare, said: "We have very specific requirements when choosing who we buy. It has to be an environment that allows children to be happy and to thrive. It has to be a place that either gives children the best start in life or where we think we can make it happen.

"We look for great leadership and committed teams willing to strive to deliver exceptional opportunities for children and support services to parents."

The nursery chain now owns 340 nurseries across the UK and dozens more overseas.

Mary Jones, regional director at Busy Bees, added: "I am excited to have the four Bramley Nurseries join my region – they are nurseries that have strong links to their local communities and long-standing staff teams. I am looking forward to working with them."

The takeover is not expected to have an impact on children or staff.

It comes just as Rockwell nursery in Wantage received an Ofsted rating of 'requires improvement' in all four categories, after an inspection earlier this month.

Inspectors at the childcare regulator released a report last week highlighting an 'inconsistent quality of teaching and learning'.

The nursery, which has 141 children on its roll, was praised, however, for having a good understanding of safeguarding procedures and working well with parents.