Our Story

Welcome to Portland Nurseries. We are a family-owned and run group of six day nurseries within the Huddersfield and Halifax area, Bradley House, Harlequin, Holly Bank, Fairfield, Oakwood House & Forest School and Portland House.

Our first nursery Portland House was established in 1991 by our founder Rosemary Murphy OBE a pioneer within the childcare sector. In September 2021 we celebrated 30 years in early years education.

We deliver the highest quality of care and education by providing a happy, nurturing and stimulating play environment where your child will be individually supported to develop to their full potential. We have a dedicated and experienced team of highly trained, qualified and passionate early years professionals ensuring your child receives the very best start in life.

Each nursery has its own individual character, and we feel confident you will find a nursery that meets the needs of you and your child. We hope you will visit soon and discover for yourself what makes each of our nurseries so unique.

The Portland Nurseries journey started in 1991 and every since our first nursery was established our team has worked tirelessly to bring the families the highest quality care and education for their children. We have achieved many milestones along the way from Ofsted Outstanding's to OBE's. Here are some of the key milestones on our journey over the last 29 years.

Portland Nurseries Timeline


Portland House Nursery is Opened

Qualified Teachers, Rosemary & Michael Murphy open their first nursery due to an absence of high quality, flexible childcare.


After School and Holiday Club is opened

The basement rooms were refurbished at Portland House to provide wrap around care.


Harlequin Nursery is acquired

The company starts to grow, acquiring their second nursery in the group.


CEO National Day Nurseries Association

After 3 years as Chairman & voluntary CEO, Rosemary formally took on the role. The NDNA is a national early years charity that provides support and advice, and campaigns for better funding for families.


Holly Bank Nursery is acquired & expanded

Some of the staff are still working with us today!


Rosemary is awarded an OBE for her contribution to Early Years Education

For her contribution to Early Years Education


Healthy Eating Award

Our nursery menus are recognised by Kirklees and receive the Gold Healthy Eating Award


Large Outdoor Development Projects at all 3 Nurseries

Our emphasis on outdoor play called for new outdoor areas; developed with funding support from a Quality Access Grant and opened by the Mayor and Huddersfield Giant’s star Andy Raleigh


Oakwood House Forest School is opened

Based on the Scandinavian model of the importance of learning outdoors through the natural environment


Portland Nurseries Limited is formed

Head office moves to Oakwood House and the company logo and website are rebranded


Portland House & Harlequin both receive Ofsted ‘Outstanding’


Oakwood House receives Ofsted ‘Outstanding'


Rosemary & Michael’s children Anastasia & Michael become Managing Directors


Portland Nurseries reaches 100 employees!


One of our first children returns to use the nursery for their own child


Rosemary is presented with the ‘Most Influential Person in Childcare’ award

By Nursery Management Today Magazine


Introduced iConnect

Allowing us to take and link child observations and run comprehensive reports for cohorts or individuals


Portland House Manager Julie Lister reaches 20 years with the company


Portland House win the Huddersfield Examiner’s Nursery of the Year


Food for Life Award

The first nurseries in the country to receive the Soil Association’s Early Years award, recognising our commitment to healthy eating and nutritional education


Portland House & Harlequin both receive Ofsted ‘Outstanding’

Under the new, harder framework


Parent Zone is launched

Online digital journal where parents can access their child’s observations and special moments from the day at nursery.


Portland House receives 3rd Ofsted Outstanding in a row

The only nursery in Kirklees and Calderdale to achieve this at the time.


Enhancement of our natural outdoor play areas starts across the 4 nurseries


All 4 sites achieved their Green Flag Eco School Status

Recognising the environmental education and action we do across our nurseries.


Portland House Manager Julie Lister reaches 25 years with Portland Nurseries


Portland House Manager Julie Lister wins the prestigious ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award at this year’s Nursery World Awards.

The Nursery World Award recognises her nationally for her fantastic work over the years.


Regional Manager Gail Howarth is hired to support Portland Nurseries’ expansion.


Harlequin receives it's 3rd consecutive Ofsted Outstanding, and Bradley House and Fairfield Nursery are added to the group!

Start your child's learning journey today