Nurseries: Frequently Asked Questions
Applications and eligibility
How do I apply for a place in the University nurseries, or a University-owned place in a private nursery?
Read the information about the University's nursery provision on the website, then print off an application form ( University Nursery Place Application Form 2013 (167kb)) and return it to us, or use the online system.
How do I apply for a place in the college nurseries?
Contact the colleges directly. There are four College nurseries run independently from the University:
I have been offered a job at the University but as yet do not have a staff number and will not take up the appointment for a few months yet. Can I register and put my child down on the waiting list?
If you can provide written proof that you have been offered and accepted a job here, you can apply, along with a cover letter explaining your situation.
I am hoping to get a place as a student here next year. Am I eligible to apply for childcare now?
You can only apply once you've been offered and accepted a place at the University. Please enclose written proof with your application.
My partner and I have decided to start trying for a baby. Can I apply for a nursery place?
No, you can only apply when you are expecting a baby or you have a child.
I've just found out I'm pregnant, but am not yet ready to tell my department. Can I apply?
Yes, we will keep this information confidential.
If I do some part-time paid teaching for the University/I am a University contractor/I am an employee of the NHS and do some work for the University/I am a member of a college or of the University (but not currently an employee)/I used to study here etc Can I apply for a nursery place?
No, you can only apply if you are a current matriculated student of this University or an employee of the University, a college, Isis, or OUP. Employees of the University will have a contract of employment with the University of Oxford, and a University Employment Number, and be listed on the University's employee database (we will check this).
If I am an employee of one of the University's associated institutions (e.g. NERC, Maison Francaise, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies etc) can I apply for a place?
No, as you are not a University employee.
I am planning on attending the University of Oxford Summer Programme (or other such short course), will I be entitled to use the University nurseries?
No you are not eligible. Please contact the Childrens Information Service, tel 08452 262 636. We only accept matriculated students.
I am coming to the University as an academic visitor for the next academic year. Am I able to apply for the University nurseries?
Unfortunately academic visitors are not able to use our nurseries, as only employees and students of the University are entitled to nursery places and academic visitors are not employees of the University.
I am about to go on sabbatical leave next term, can you tell me what would be the situation regarding my nursery place at the University nursery?
You will have either to continue paying the fees for the whole time you are away, or give up your place and re-join the waiting list.
I have informal parental responsibility for my partner's child. Can I apply?
Yes – we make no distinction between biological parents and parents who have adopted/fostered/gained parental responsibility for a child.
My husband is unable to work due to a disability illness. Do I fall into the priority group?
You will need to provide us with further information with your application, first before we can decide this.
Can you make an exception to the allocation procedure, because (for example) I haven't managed to find a place in a private nursery/I have no other family, besides my partner, in Oxford/We don't have a car/I can't afford private nursery care/My childminder has just given notice/My partner travels overseas frequently/My partner commutes to work outside Oxford/ etc
No, we can only make an exception in the case of a genuine emergency need for childcare, such as the illness or death of a parent, or other such wholly unpredictable emergency. If this happens, you should contact us immediately and we will do everything possible to offer you a place. We cannot make exceptions on any of the grounds listed in the question.
I have just found out my child has a disability. Does this affect my application?
Yes. You should inform us straight away, and you will then be considered a priority case.
Will I be considered a priority case if I have had an older child at the nursery.
As stated in the allocation procedure, parents with a sibling currently in the nursery are given priority. Parents must apply to the waiting list for the younger sibling whilst the older sibling is still attending the nursery.
Does my College have a sponsored place?
Check with your college. If they do, you are only able to be nominated once the current person taking up the place has given written notice, and then you will take priority over other parents on the waiting list. You will need to apply in the normal way (see website) and will need to provide written proof that your college wishes to nominate you. There is of course no guarantee of a place (we can never offer an absolute guarantee) but nominees are very likely to get places.
Do staff or students have a greater chance of being offered a nursery place?
Student parents do have a priority place on the waiting list.
I am not sure whether or not I would be considered as a Lone Parent?
Please provide full information about your circumstances on your application form and we will let you know if you fall into a priority group.
How will the new childcare procedures affect me if I decide not to accept a nursery place?
If you are offered a nursery place which you decide not to take, your position on the waiting list will not be affected. However, we would encourage you to accept a place which has been offered to you within your preferred choices, as it may be some time before another place is offered. It is important that you keep us updated of any changes in your circumstances so that an appropriate offer can be made to you.
When will I be offered a nursery place?
Please look at the Nursery Information section, above. Note that because the nurseries are oversubscribed, you may not be offered a place on time and should look at other childcare provision. Contact the Children's Information Service, tel 08452 262 636, for help and advice.
Can you please be more specific, as I need to know in order to make a decision as to whether to return to work or not?
Unless you are in a priority group, we cannot predict when a place might become available. There is simply no way of doing this. We do try and allocate places about 2 months in advance.
Have you received my application form?
You will receive a confirmation email stating that you are now on the waiting list; the date of your application and whether or not you fall into the priority group.
My child has an existing non University place at The Co-operative Childcare at Oxford (formerly known as Turbo Teds Nursery), does this mean I am more likely to get a University place there?
No, we follow the standard allocation procedure when allocating ALL nursery places, but we are sometimes able to offer parents the chance to stay in the same nursery and to use a cheaper University place. So you should inform us if you have a private place at Kidsunlimited, Oxford Montessori Schools, Childbase or The Co-operative Childcare.
I've heard that the University owns spaces at private nurseries in Oxford. How can I apply for these?
The University has spaces at eleven private nurseries. Parents can apply for these in the same way as other nursery places, by completing and returning the application form (University Nursery Place Application Form 2013 (167kb))or by applying online.
What is your complaints procedure?
Write to or email the Head of Childcare Services, Childcare Services, University of Oxford, 92 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 7ND. The Head of Childcare Services will initiate an investigation of your complaint and respond as soon as possible. Alternatively, you may choose to follow University procedures.
Can I make an appointment to come in and discuss my baby's welfare/my application/funding etc?
The Early Years Administrator is pleased to discuss your needs on an individual basis. Please contact Cath Astbury 01865 289841, to make an appointment.
I would like my baby to use reusable nappies at the nursery, is this possible?
If you want to use reusable nappies that's fine, but the nursery is not able to wash them. Please note that the nursery fees cover disposable nappies and food.
How do you usually communicate with parents?
Using email, or if not possible then by phoning parents at home so they do not miss out, eg mothers who are on maternity leave.
How much notice do I have to give when leaving the nurseries?
You have to give 2 months notice, in writing, to the nursery provider and to Childcare Services.
What should I do if my contact details change (for example, if I move house or jobs within the University, or if I go on maternity leave)?
You should contact the Childcare team by email so we can update your details on the database. This is important because if we are unable to contact you to offer you a nursery place within a reasonable time, your details will be removed from the waiting list.
Who has access to the personal information you hold on me?
Please see the "Confidentiality" section in the Nursery Information section above.
Who can I contact if I have a query about the University's Maternity Scheme?
Your departmental administrator
I would like my child to attend the nursery 5 mornings a week, is this possible?
Children attending the University nurseries are for full days only. We do offer part-time places of two or three days. There is flexibility in the non University nurseries, such as: Oxford Business Park; Harwell; Milton Park; Waterways; The Co-operative Childcare at Oxford (formerly known as Turbo Teds); Wolvercote; Iffley and Forest Farm.
I have found a nursery place for my child in another nursery, should I let you know as I no longer require a University place?
Yes, you should let us know as soon as possible so that we can deactivate your details on the database, which helps us keep the waiting list up to date. You can reapply in the future if you need to.
I am receiving government the Nursery Education Fund for one of my children at the University nurseries, will this affect the salary sacrifice scheme?
Each nursery provider operates this scheme separately. Kidsunlimited deducts the funding from the cost of the monthly fee, as does Oxford Montessori Schools and The Co-operative Childcare at Oxford (formerly known as Turbo Teds).
My child has a disability/special diet/speaks a language other than English etc. will the nursery accommodate this?
Yes – all our nurseries are aware of and positive about children's varying needs.