Our nursery school on Wroxham Road in Sprowston opened in 2007 and received ‘Outstanding‘ from Ofsted following an unannounced inspection in February 2015. This is the highest rating possible and reassures families that we deliver to the highest standards.

In April 2014, we purchased Jigsaw Nursery School on Constitution Hill and re-named it Once upon a time. A major refurbishment took place in August 2014 and a new management team was put in place. Ofsted rated this nursery ‘Good‘ in January 2016 and again in August 2019.

Learning outside
Story time

In July 2017 we opened our third day care nursery school on White House Farm. We take full advantage of the beautiful setting and the children get to explore the natural surroundings. We were delighted that Ofsted rated this nursery as ‘Outstanding’ in our first inspection in November 2019.

In 2007 we also opened a term time, sessional care nursery based at Cecil Gowing Infant School in Sprowston. This nursery cares for children aged three and four. Many of the children attending this nursery make a seamless transition to the adjacent Infant School. Ofsted rated this nursery ‘Good’ in January 2017.

Our aim

Our ultimate aim is the happiness, well-being and personal development of all the children who attend Once upon a time. To achieve this, we give a commitment to:

  • Make sure every aspect of the service we provide is delivered in a professional, caring and responsive manner to the highest possible standards.
  • Employ friendly, experienced and highly professional staff who in return will receive fair pay and support for their continual professional development.
  • Work in partnership with parents/carers to guarantee that their child’s happiness and progress is developed and maintained.
  • Develop each child to his or her full potential, at a pace that suits each individual, by encouraging their intellectual, social, emotional and physical development.
  • Provide an extensive range of up-to-date educational resources (toys, books, games, equipment etc.).
  • Comply with all industry regulations, including the delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage for all children set by the government.
  • Provide secure surroundings that meet or exceed all health and safety requirements.
  • Provide equal opportunities for children, parents/carers and staff, regardless of gender, race, religion or disability.
  • Charge reasonable fees and keep them as low as business sense allows for the personal level of service provided.
  • Maintain a good reputation within the childcare profession and the local community.

Meet the owners

Set up in 2007 by Julie and John Banbury, we’re a family-owned, family-managed business

Julie Banbury BA (Hons)

Director of Care and Education

Once upon a time, I dreamed of opening a nursery school in Sprowston, the place where I’ve lived most of my life. My vision was to create a magical place for children to learn, develop and flourish. A place where I’d love to send my own children.

Following a lengthy search, that dream became a reality in September 2007 when not one, but two, Once upon a time nursery schools opened their doors. Since then, we’ve opened two other day care nursery schools nearby and we’ve built a fantastic reputation with the help of our wonderful team. Before this, I spent over 10 years managing Sprowston Nursery Playgroup.

My love of children’s books is what inspired the name ‘Once upon a time’. Story telling is so important in children’s early years. It teaches a wide range of vocabulary, feeds their curiosity and imagination and sets them up to have a love of reading for the rest of their lives.

At the same time as growing the new business, I achieved a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Studies. My role is Director of Care and Education for all four of our nursery schools. This involves working closely with our three other Nursery Managers to make sure that our high standards and best practice is delivered consistently. I am also the Nursery Manager at Wroxham Road.

Outside of work, I enjoy long walks on the beach with John and our Border Collie, Kipp, gardening and shopping! And 2020 got off to a wonderful start for John and I when our daughter gave birth to our first grandchild.

John Banbury

Director of Finance and Marketing

As Director of Finance and Marketing, I manage most of the business aspects for Once upon a time. From 2007 to 2013, I did this while working full time in Managing Director roles at TPF Group (a large print and facilities management company) and Norvic Ambulance Services. Prior to this I spent 10 incredible years at Virgin Money in senior marketing roles.

Despite the responsibility and challenges, there’s something so incredibly rewarding running your own business. We strive to provide a great place to work for our hard-working team, and we keep investing in fantastic resources for the children to enjoy. And I’m amazed at the wonderful feedback we receive from parents that has helped build our reputation.
I also manage our corporate governance to ensure we run our business in line with all legal and regulatory requirements. The Directors and four other senior managers meet every school term and we review a range of important topics from ‘Safeguarding’ to ‘Views of Parents’, from ‘Health & Safety’ to ‘Staff Training’. We never stop learning and are always looking to improve not just what we do, but how we do it.

I enjoy playing golf, CrossFit and supporting the Canaries.

Georgia Brooks BSc (Hons)

Director of HR and Training

Becoming a parent recently, I have a new perspective on what it’s like to put your trust in a nursery to care for your little one. My little boy, Noah, will be starting his Once upon a time journey soon.

I’m really proud of what my parents have created at Once upon a time, and I didn’t think twice when they invited me to join the business as Director of HR and Training. My background is 10 years in retail management at both regional and national level. I’ve worked with brands such as M&S and Majestic Wine, and everything I’ve learned along the way is being put to great use at Once upon a time.

I completed my Open University BSc (Hons) degree in 2018, a mixture of Psychology and Early Years studies. This, along with some time working in the baby room at our Constitution Hill nursery, has given me valuable experience of day-to-day nursery life and child development.