St Thomas Day Nursery is moving 2025

Posted by Nikki Pargeter | May 1st 2024

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St Thomas Day Nursery will be moving (to Osney Island) in 2025!

The land our current nursery building is on has been sold by the Parish Council of St Thomas and St Barnabas. While they had initially promised to relocate us to a property on the church grounds, they came forward in November 2023 to say that they were actually unable to afford the relocation. This put us in a dire situation and left us without a property beyond June 2025.

The committee and senior staff of the nursery have been looking for a new building since November. When looking for a new home for the nursery, the committee had to consider several factors: is it within budget, is it in our current catchment area, is it big enough to keep the number of children (and staff) we currently have, is it suitable for nursery use, and can it be converted into an Ofsted-approved nursery within a reasonable budget. It has proven extremely difficult to find a suitable – and affordable – property in central Oxford. After having been outbid on several potential properties, we are now finally in the process of purchasing a new home for the nursery with help of a large business mortgage. We have also applied for a government fund in the hope that that can cover some of our renovation costs.

We are in the process of purchasing 11 Kings Meadow. The property is part of an industrial estate on Osney Island, approximately 10min away from our current nursery building. The building is large (195sqm) and well suited for our needs. It needs minimal work to be suitable as a nursery (we have been in contact with architects) and will be a much more pleasant environment for our staff and children to work and play. The staff will be able to park their cars, which means their commute will potentially be shorter, and staff members are excited to be working in a new, fresh and renovated-for-purpose building.

There are two important factors to consider when moving to 11 Kings Meadow (which will hopefully be between December 2024 and May 2025 – we will keep everyone updated). Below is a shortened version of the factors and how we are looking to address them.

Flood risk:

  1. to the building – relatively low: the building has never been flooded and we are looking to raise the floor as well as all electrical sockets;
  2. to the access road (Ferry Hinksey Road) – medium: the road has been flooded every couple of years and tends to be flooded for about 1 week/year. It has consistently remained accessible by bike and/or foot, which means we are hopeful that the nursery can remain open all year. We will, however, have a fund to reimburse parents should nursery days have to be cancelled.

No outdoor space attached:

  1. children will do daily forest school using the surrounding parks (Oatlands Recreation Ground + playground; Botley Park + playground; Grandpont Park, Hogacre Common & SOAP; Hinksey Park and playground)
  2. all staff will attend specialist forest school training before the move and are excited to enable the children to learn and engage using more natural materials (in line with new Ofsted guidance)