Small businesses with ambition to be the best

Shasi Gopal, owner of Railway Stores in Sutton Bridge. SG050615-125TW
Shasi Gopal, owner of Railway Stores in Sutton Bridge. SG050615-125TW
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Some small businesses achieve excellence from the start and there’s one very good example in Long Sutton, Phoenix Montessori Nursery.

A year after it opened in 2010, the nursery was awarded Ofsted outstanding with perfect grades across the board.

The nursery, which looks after 63 children, continues to build on its strengths and a key principle of its success sees youngsters learning at their own pace in a calm and peaceful environment.

Teaching methods are based on those of one of the most important early years educators of the 20th century, Dr Maria Montessori, who believed children learn best by doing – and that happy, self-motivated learners form positive images of themselves as confident, successful people.

Phoenix teachers are Montessori qualified and the accent on family is strengthened with a mum, daughter and son on the staff – deputy manager and teacher in charge Charlotte Watling, cook Sandra Watling and nursery assistant Fred Watling.

Charlene Matthews, who oversees the nursery in Long Sutton and its sister nursery in Terrington St Clement, said: “We give children the freedom to learn from the environment that’s been prepared for them.”

• There’s a new face at an established business in Sutton Bridge as Shasi Gopal has taken over Railway Stores in Bridge Road.

Although he’s 19-years-old, Shasi has five years’ experience of shop management, working with his parents in Norwich, and is welcoming customers old and new.

He said: “As an independent trader, you can run things how you like. We have always had good service at our shop and all of the staff are friendly.”