1st August 2020 All Posts Insights

Connect Childcare – an alternative to Blossom Educational

Connect Vs Blossom
Blossom Software Screenshot (left) is direct from Blossom Website - September 2020

Struggling to decide between Blossom & Connect Childcare?

Both Nursery Management Systems have been designed for the UK Childcare market – but with very different outcomes. This comparison looks at the full range of features available to help you choose the best fit for your setting.

Let’s take a look at the company overview

Connect ChildcareBlossom
Founded In20042016
Based inUKUK
Customer support8am - 6pm9am - 5pm
One to One Implementation YesOptional Extra
Cyber EssentialsYesNo
ISOYesYes
One log in for everythingNoYes
Cloud based storageYesYes
User interfaceComprehensive and traditionalSimple and colourful

Take a closer look at the feature comparison

FeaturesConnect ChildcareBlossom
Parent engagementParent AppYesYes
Child developmentObservations & AssessmentsYesYes
.Next Steps & PlanningYesYes
EnquiriesRecord EnquiriesYesNo
.Track Enquiry ProgressYesNo
Billing & PaymentsBills generated from bookingsYesYes
.Auto ReconciliationYesNo
.Collect Card PaymentsYesNo
StaffingManage Staff, absence & holidaysYesNo
.Staff suitability weightingsYesNo
.Multi Site Staff RotasYesNo
.Payroll ExportsYesYes
ReportingSystem ReportsExtensiveSome

Starting out as a learning journey software tool, Blossom has added additional features over the years to help with other aspects of nursery management. The pretty design makes it great to look at and simple to use, but still in it’s early stages it struggles to provide everything you need.

Connect did things the other way around! Starting out as a bookings and billings system to help nurseries manage complex funding formulas, they have added observations, parental communication and staffing into their product as they’ve grown. With a more traditional design means it’s not quite as pleasing on the eye but covers all aspects of nursery management.

Connect for nursery software

Blossom for simple & pretty nursery software.

Increasing convenience for parents

In today’s digital age, parents are used to having the world at their fingertips. Thanks to advances in Nursery Management Software they can keep up to date with their child’s activities and achievements at nursery, through their phones too. 

Blossoms Parent App is available on iOS and Android and helps busy parents to see what their children have been up to at nursery as well as contributing their own photos from home and viewing their invoices and balance. 

ParentZone, from Connect Childcare offers a similar experience with some additional benefits. Parents can not only view their balance, but can also make payments straight from their phone. With the cheapest card payment rates available, this can have a big impact on cash flow at your setting. ParentZone users can also request new regular or ad-hoc bookings from the app, helping to increase occupancy.

Both apps have great activity sections which support parents to continue learning at home, increase partnership with your nursery and improve child development.

Blossom for a pretty parent app

Connect for

Reporting and the use of data in your nursery

What’s the good of entering data if you can’t easily access it later down the line?

Blossom provide some reports to give you an overview of different parts of the system. The simplicity of the software can make it difficult to drill down and find more detailed information. 

Connect believe that all of the data you input into a system should be available for you to access in different formats. Their reporting system is the most comprehensive on the market. With over 140 reports you’ll never use them all, but whichever reports you need – they’ve got them! Their detailed reporting function allows you to drill down to find the specific information that is important to you and the way you run your nursery, which over time, makes a very big difference to the efficiency of your setting and your childcare.  

We took a look to see if our most Five popular reports were available in Blossom Educational

Only one was available in the Blossom platform

REPORTConnect ChildcareBlossom
Cohort TrackerYesYes
Enquiry Pipeline - See the status of all of your unconverted enquiriesYesNo
Reasons for leaving - Find out why children are leaving your settingYesNo
Last Published Observation - Shows the date of last observation published for each child in each different area of learning so nothing is missed YesNo
Audit Log - See which staff members are responsible for changes on the system YesNo

Connect for reporting

Blossom for simple but limited reporting.

Keeping on Top of Complex Staffing Requirements

Although neither system profess to be a HR tool, they both offer some staff management features. 

Blossom allows you to keep staff records, manage room ratios and even export details to payroll. 

Connect Childcare go one step further with detailed holiday & absence tracking and a new, intelligent, staff assignment tool. Their weighted criteria allows you to see which staff members are available to work and how suitable they are based on your preferred criteria. With the ability to schedule staff across multiple rooms and even multiple sites, it allows you to manage your full team from one place.

Boosting your Occupancy Levels

How many enquiries at your setting go on to become enrolled children?

Connect Childcare’s Nursery management software includes an enquiries module to help you understand and increase your conversion rates. It allows you to track and analyse enquiry conversions with pipeline and tracking reports, and ultimately, help to improve your occupancy levels.

Blossom Educational allows you to report on current occupancy levels, but there is no way to record, track or report on any enquiries.

Securing your Sensitive Data

Everyone working with children understands the need to keep their private data secure. 

Both Blossom & Connect Childcare use AWS hosting services and TSL encryption certificates, to help store your data safely. 

Connect also have a dedicated Security and Infrastructure team, making sure your software and all of your sensitive data stays private and protected. Accredited with Cyber Essentials and ISO 9001 they have ensured they meet the highest standards of security. They are regularly audited by external security experts and continually work to make sure your systems and data are protected at all times.

The Service you Deserve

There are a huge range of scenarios to consider in a nursery setting and it’s important to make sure the software that you use fits in with your best practices.

Blossoms simplicity makes it easy for your team to pick up. You’ll be sent to their Help Centre to help you get on board and find your way around the system. 

Connect’s design is a little more traditional, but with similarities to sage and popular microsoft programmes, it’ll be a familiar interface for many of your admin and finance staff. Nevertheless, you’ll be guided through your onboarding by one of their experienced team until you’re comfortable using all parts of the system.

Blossom only offer a personalised onboarding option with their Custom package which is a bit more expensive at £209 + Vat per month.

Blossom provide a really well designed solution for simple nursery management. If you can run your nursery with simple, straightforward processes, this may be a good option for you.

Connect Childcare looks a little more traditional, but has a level of familiarity that your office team will quickly get to grips with. They believe one size doesn’t fit all and have a wide range of flexible features that can fit in with the way you work. Not the other way around.

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About the Author

Connect Childcare have been developing purpose built nursery management software for the past 15 years. Their missions is: To develop management software that improves the lives of children, globally.