• UCP Starter Pack

    Ordering our multi-media starter pack would be a good place to start. Our comprehensive Starter Pack details all the paperwork required to run your day nursery. All major credit cards accepted. Postage & packing included in the price!

  • Give us a call

    There are bound to be questions and concerns we haven't addressed, so if you are interested in opening a day nursery we'd love to hear from you. Give Carol a call on 01427 753173.

  • Use the Support form

    You can use the support form on your right to drop us any initial concerns or queries you might have.

  • Use the tabs below

    Click on the tabs below for instant answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.

01. Premises & Grants

Premises could be ...

  • A purpose built nursery I feel is ideally the best.
  • Convert an existing structure for e.g. we converted farm buildings and an RAF dentist unit.
  • If you have land build a nursery or put up a modular build (like the McDonalds.) We considered this option at one point.
  • Look at business parks, is there a building you can lease and convert (we considered this option). Lots of nurseries are based on business parks.
  • Buy an existing nursery.
  • Approach a large company, would they let you open a nursery within their building or nearby.
  • If in a rural area convert farm buildings. A local farmer may rent or lease the buildings to you.
  • Some people rent a church hall or village hall.

The advantages of buying an existing nursery is you have the have the building, equipment, customer base and staff, but that is only an advantage if you are buying a good nursery.

The disadvantage is it may be more expensive, there may be staff you would rather not employ and you will have to be very careful when trying to implement new changes.

The grants that are available change all the time. We have accessed grants from:

  • Redundant Farm Building Grant.
  • Grant from Defra to help rural businsess.
  • New Opportunites Funding (NOF)
  • Grant from DCSF for a workplace nursery.
  • Defra still have some grants available if you are in rural area. Contact your Local Authorities Early Years Team to see if they know of any grants. Due to lack of places for funded two year olds there may be some grants available from your local authority.


The main fixed costs are the premises, and your largest cost will be your wages. We try to operate at wages 49%-50% of incoming fees, but that is difficult to maintain, and depends on the ages of the children you have in your nursery. Realistically wages will be 50-60% of income, but we have achieved the above figures. Be prepared for a short term loss but overall if run effectively a good profit can be made. Many people start off with one nursery and then expand to two or three.

The first people you need to contact are your Early Years Team who should be very helpful. Ofsted are not really interested until the building is ready and the paperwork is in place. If they inspect and you haven’t bought all your equipment they will need to know what you intend to buy.

02. Staffing & Qualifications

You do not have to be qualified to set up a day nursery but you would need a Manager and Deputy Manager. If you wanted to work in the nursery but are not qualified then you would need to be the ‘Business Manager’. This would mean that you would do the staffing, invoices and all the administrational part of the job. You would employ a Nursery Manager, but really she would be like a deputy manager and counted in the ratios with some time in the office.

The manager needs an NVQ Level 3 in childcare or similar e.g. Btech National, NNEB, plus a minimum of 2 years relevant experience. Managers are encouraged to complete the Level 4, 5 or 6, or obtain a degree but that is not statutory.

When we first opened we had a manager who was counted in all the time until we had over 20 children a day.

Once we had 20 children the manager was super numerate but worked in the nursery one morning or afternoon to allow the Deputy to have office time, ie checking staffing, checking invoices and doing any jobs the manager requested. As numbers increased to 40+ we employed a Nursery Administrator three days a week. This has enabled the manager to be ‘more hands on’ in the nursery helping to develop and support staff.

Qualified staff need NVQ2, NVQ 3, NNEB, Btech National ect. The NVQ2 was allowed to be counted as qualified in 2004, we tend to go for NVQ3. A person with the Level 2 can not be a room supervisor. The government are proposing to make Level 2 unqualified again. 50% of the staff need to be qualified, we usually have more than that.

Your setting must have a designated Safeguarding Officer and all staff must undergo regular safeguarding training. You also need a SENCO Officer, Looked After Child Officer and an Appointed First Aider. There must be a member of staff with pediatric first aid on the premises at all times. All our staff have 1st Aid and Health and Hygiene qualifications.

  • We have a few purely supply staff , who only want an ‘As and When’ contract , they are given their hours on a weekly basis and we ring them to cover illness.
  • We have part time staff who will do extra hours if we are stuck.
  • If you have a good student who is doing a long term placement they can be used.
  • An apprentice can be counted in numbers.
  • We have a cook who will help us out in the afternoon.
  • The managers can be counted in ratio.
  • There are outside agencies that can supply you with staff.

03. Ofsted, Rules & Regulations

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage is your bible, it has all the legislation and recommendations that need to be followed when running a day nursery.


Yes, see below:

Staffing Ratios
0-2 yrs    1 to 3
2-3 yrs    1 to 4
3-5yrs     1 to 8

When mixing the 2-5 year olds the 2-3yrs must always be in a ratio of 1 to 4, the same with babies, if mixing under twos with the 2-3 yr olds the babies must be kept in a 1:3 ratio.

Space per child:
0-2 yrs    3.5 sq.mtrs
2-3 yrs    2.5 sq.mtrs
3-5yrs     2.3 sq.mtrs

In a 2-5yr room work on an average of 2.4 sq mtrs per child

  • Our best marketing is word of mouth. Our Reputation is our Recommendation.
  • Leaflet drops especially on new housing estates. Give the show room office brochures/leaflets, they may use your nursery to promote their sales as they can say there is a high quality day nursery in the area.
  • Posters in local shops, health clinic, Dr's, post office, library etc
  • When placing an advert you need to run it a minimum of 3 times.
  • We advertise in a local free monthly glossy magazine and that has been very successful.
  • Get a good web site, most people will just Google for a day nursery in your area.
  • Join Google ad words so your nursery will always be on the first page, it just cost 4p a click.
  • Fill in an enquiries form and monthly analyse the data to see where people heard about you. This will also help you decide where your marketing should be.
  • When advertising try to get a free editorial and photos in local newspapers to promote what you are doing.

At present all 3yr olds get 15 hours free funding the term after they are three. In most authorities this is term time only ie 38 weeks a year. Some authorities are stretching the 570 hours over a year. Each local authority pay a different hourly amount, usually this cost does not cover what you charge. Consequently to try and make up the shortfall we charge £2 for dinner and £1 for tea. If both parents are working you may be eligible for 320 hours free childcare per week over 38 weeks

40% of the most disadvantaged two year olds also receive 15 hours free funding the term after they are two.

04. Early Years Foundation Stage

All the planned activities are based around the child’s own interests and activities that need to be in place to bring the children forward. The activities are based around the Early Years Foundation Stage. This is a principled approach based upon 4 themes:

  • A Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Learning and Development

Within the Early Year Foundation Stage there are three prime areas of learning and development and four specific areas of learning and development.

Prime Areas:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional development.
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language.

Specific Areas:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World.
  • Expressive Arts and Design

There are Early Learning Goals for each of the six areas which children should be attaining to by the end of reception at the state school they are attending.

Development Matters is the government’s guidance to deliver the EYFS, it has now been removed from their web site and replaced with the Early Years Outcomes. This is supposedly a simple version to plan and assess the children’s progress towards the Early Learning Goals. This is nonsense!!! All the new statements are EXACTLY the same. The only difference is they have left out the themes, principles and practice and valuable information about a unique child, positive relationships and enabling environments. They have taken out the guidance notes for each statement on ‘what adults could do’ and ‘what adults could provide’ to ensure we have effective learning. Both of these are non-statutory guidance.

Our Clients
  • Country Kids
  • Peterborough
  • Heaven Sent
  • Farmyard
  • The Village