Opening a new day nursery | Oxfordshire County Council

Opening a new day nursery

Considerations when opening a new day nursery

Ofsted registration

A day nursery needs to be registered with Ofsted. Guidance and application forms are available on the Ofsted website.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

You should look at and consider carefully the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which sets the standards for learning, development and care for children age birth to five, which need to be met in order to achieve Ofsted registration.

Useful guidance relating to EYFS requirements can be found in our early education toolkit.

Market assessment

You should carefully consider whether there is a need for the services you are proposing, including what gap in provision you would be filling and how you would differentiate yourself from competitors. Alongside this carefully consider your location.

Use these resources to help you with this.

Suitable environment/premises

In addition to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) you may find the following helpful when considering suitable premises and environments for a day nursery:

Finding premises

Council owned land and premises records property owned by Oxfordshire County Council and includes links to Oxfordshire’s district councils’ records of commercial property.

Planning permission

Contact the relevant district to discuss any planning permission that may be required for the use of premises as a nursery


You should consider how the project will be financed, particularly obtaining the premises and any costs involved in converting them to suitable nursery space.

In addition it is usual for nurseries to need cash in the first year, in order to pay running costs whilst the numbers of children attending are built up.

The Oxfordshire Early Years and Childcare grants programme may be able to assist with the development of new provision in some cases.

Business plan

You should consider whether or not the nursery is likely to be a viable business proposition by creating a business and financial plan. A financial planning tool and business support is available to help you with this.

The National Day Nursery Association (NDNA) Early Years Business Zone is a free online toolkit to help nursery businesses (registration required).

The nursery should be eligible to receive Nursery Education Funding for eligible children aged 2, 3 and 4.

Note that in Oxfordshire children are entitled to a full time place in school, or 25 hours funded at an eligible early years provider, for the whole of the academic year in which they turn 5. The 25 hours funding is under review, as the DfE have indicated that funding will not continue for this concession. The extended free childcare entitlement for most working parents, with children aged 3 and 4, may be an alternative for parents.   

Currently most families choose the school option.

National Day Nursery Association (NDNA)

You may also find the National Day Nursery Association a helpful point of information and advice.  They offer a free factsheet on starting a nursery. (Registration required)

Useful links to help develop your early education setting

Last reviewed
27 November 2017
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