A NURSERY school that was founded in 2006 with just five children has become so successful it is now a recognised model copied by others across the country.

Farley Nursery School continued this success by being named Outstanding Business of the Year, prompting enthusiastic whooping from its staff and supporters.

Principal Sue Palmer said the secret was "having an absolute passion" for trying to achieve "the happiest children possible".

"We started in April 2006 with five children and two members of staff," she said.

"We had belief that taking children outside, like they do in Scandinavia, was the way to do it.

"Now we have 16 members of staff, and 70 children coming each week."

She said she had never run a business before, yet had "never had a penny from anybody".

"Everything has been done by us and it has grown and grown," she said.

"We have visitors from all over the world, I talk at universities and we are starting training courses.

"This award is recognition that this is the right way for children and everyone is following our lead - we are changing lives."

The award was presented by Graham Renshaw, local director for sponsor RBS NatWest.

  • Runners-up were pensions company Rowanmoor and website design company enotions.