Sarah Steel

early years

Chief executive

The Old Station Nursery Group | Europe

Sarah Steel is the founder and chief executive of The Old Station Nursery. A successful businesswoman in the early years sector no doubt, Sarah demonstrates some of the very best qualities a leader should have, an employee said. During a time if personal difficulty when a child fell ill, this became even more apparent. “Sarah stepped up and personally supported my family during these months, regularly keeping in touch and ensuring that I took whatever time was needed to do the best for my child. To experience months of ongoing support like this from a busy CEO speaks volumes about that person; demonstrating some of the very best qualities that a leader should have.”

Sarah started The Old Station Nursery in Faringdon in 2002 when she was looking for childcare for her own small children and couldn’t find what she wanted. The company grew to 10 settings, when she sold it to French childcare professionals, La Maison Bleue, in 2019. She stayed on to become CEO of the UK arm of La Maison Bleue, and the company now operates 63 sites in the UK and continues to expand.

Sarah has empowered, inspired and supported groups and individuals over the past 20 years, helping many through some of the most challenging times throughout the pandemic. Sarah has ambitions over the coming years and beyond not only The Old Station Nursery Group but for the Early Years sector as a whole; always looking to improve on what is being done, learn from past mistakes and work together to ensure the very best for the children. “Sarah is someone that has been an inspiration to watch over the past 20 years and most definitely a Woman to Watch in the future.”

Sarah is an advocate of early years and is the Chair of the National Day Nurseries Association. During the last 2 years, she has also chaired the Covid Response Group, which bought together many operators during a rapidly-changing time.

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