Information on the waiting list

Whilst the numbers on the waiting list are high, in terms of total numbers of nursery places available, Oxford provides significantly more provision than any other institution. Overall places available to staff at Oxford total 468 FTE, 343 FTE of which are in the University nurseries. Overall, just under 500 children attend one of the nursery places provided by the University.

The number of places provided by the University based on a nursery place/staff ratio is 1: 28, compared with a Russell Group average of 1:79.

A further 75 FTE places are available at Oxford College nurseries, although these are managed independently from University provision and have not been included in the ratio analysis. Approximately 30 University families are supported in the College nurseries.

When will I be offered a place?

Unfortunately it is not easy to predict when you might be offered a place. The length of time on the waiting list is subject to many variables, such as choice of nursery, age of child, requested attendance pattern and requested start date. Places for children under 2 years are particularly in demand.

Our nurseries are deliberately kept at maximum occupancy to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from a nursery place. However, this means that until we receive leave notices from existing parents, we are unable to offer new placements.

Many parents contact us to ask for their position on the waiting list. Whilst it is understood why this is requested, the information in itself may not be that helpful. The waiting list is dynamic and a position can go down as well as up (if those with higher priorities than you subsequently apply). As such, giving out waiting list positions can lead to false expectations. Additionally, you may be very high on the waiting list but until there is a place available that meets your preferred nursery choices, attendance pattern etc., you could stay in that position for some time.

Turnover and peak nursery offers

There is generally a turnover of approximately 50% in the University nurseries each year. The vast majority of movement takes place between May-September as the eldest children leave our nurseries to move on to school.

Contact the Oxfordshire Family Information Services (OXFIS) for help and advice if you are not able to get a place at the University nurseries or for additional information on childcare and child-related services.