Located beside St John’s Sports Ground off Bainton Road in north Oxford, the Nursery incorporates a range of state-of-the-art facilities while being homely, warm and welcoming for babies and young children up to the age of five.
The Nursery Manager is Marie Gaughan. On the opening of the Nursery in November 2016 she said, ‘I welcome this great opportunity to create a thriving nursery in a wonderful location. We have our own kitchen and the chef will be cooking fresh food every day for the children and staff. I’ve been in nursery education all my working life, including the largest nurseries which can accommodate up to 170 children, but for me this size and setting is perfect.
‘Nursery life is very different to school. It’s about creating a home from home environment, inspiring activities and resources for the children to explore, supporting them with loving care and attention through our key person system. But most important is that the children who attend Bainton Road Nursery become confident, with high levels of self-esteem and a love of learning. This helps support each child in taking the next big step into school.’
Nick Bradley, architect for Savills Ltd (UK), who designed the Nursery said, ‘We developed the design following much discussion with nursery experts, College parents, and local residents. The architectural features illustrate how we have incorporated the needs of each group. For example, the building has a low, living green roof, using sedum which will change colour with the seasons and afford neighbours uninterrupted views onto the St John’s Sports Ground beyond, while also helping retain privacy inside the building. For the comfort of staff and children, the roof incorporates innovative conical-shaped roof lights which will bathe the nursery in natural light while reducing the impact of direct sunlight. They also enhance temperature control by allowing warm air to escape as required.
‘Other special architectural features including a telescopic glazed facade that disappears into a pocket to frame a picturesque view of the St John’s Sports Ground; plus a “quiet room” that has dual use as a cinema. I suspect, though, that the children may well enjoy most a “secret garden” which has child-sized tiered “amphitheatre” seating.'
Professor Andrew Parker, Principal Bursar at St John’s College said, ‘While the Nursery is a separate business entity, as a fully-owned subsidiary company of St John’s College we’re delighted to include it in our wider estate management and facilities best practice. There remains a shortage of nursery places in Oxford, and this welcome facility will help ease some of that pressure on places.’
St John’s staff and students have priority for places for their children, but staff and students of the University may also apply for places. Staff and students wishing to apply for a place should email the Nursery Manager, Marie Gaughan.
The Nursery has its own website here.
Architecture photos: Nicholas Bradley RIBA (Savills (UK) Ltd). Children photos: Lee Atherton.