About Lydalls

Lydalls Nursery School is a Local Authority maintained nursery school, which has existed on its current site for over 70 years. The current building was opened in 1995 and it was further developed in 2001 to provide Daycare facilities for children aged 2-5. Lydalls Nursery School receives a regular full school Ofsted inspection. Our most recent inspection in 2017 graded the school as outstanding overall.

What is a Maintained Nursery School and what makes them different?

A Maintained Nursery School is a local authority school that specialises in early years education. Like other schools, it is led by a Headteacher and a Governing Body with teaching and learning delivered by a team of teachers, nursery nurses and teaching assistants. Like all schools we are subject to regular rigorous Ofsted inspections. In a Maintained Nursery School the Headteacher and the teaching team are all early years specialists. This makes our provision very special indeed.

Children’s well-being and involvement is at the heart of our work. We use our deep understanding of how children learn to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and ensure that children make great progress from their starting points by using our assessments to plan for next steps in their learning.  Our knowledge of child development means that we think ‘stage’ rather than ‘age’. This means that we can support and challenge the wide range of children who we work with.

Maintained Nursery Schools also focus on developing and supporting children’s dispositions and attitudes to learning at a time when they are actively curious and questioning. Staff are highly skilled at extending children’s learning ‘in the moment’ by making a comment, asking an open ended question or offering an alternative point of view.

Maintained Nursery Schools place a great deal of emphasis on developing a high quality, stimulating environment for early learning, both indoors and outdoors, through play, problem solving and exploration. The environment and the Nursery routine is very carefully planned to provide a balance between child initiated and more structured, adult led learning. At Lydalls Nursery School we have invested very thoughtfully in fixed outdoor equipment that allows the children to challenge themselves physically in a carefully managed way. We have also created special areas inside, such as our sensory room and our book den. Pictures of the learning environment at Lydalls are regularly posted on our Facebook page.

There are six Maintained Nursery Schools in Oxfordshire and we work increasingly closely together. As specialists, we often lead and deliver training for colleagues in other settings across Oxfordshire. At Lydalls Nursery School we have particular expertise in speech, language and communication and literacy.

The Nursery School offers a funded education place for children from the term after their 3rd birthday until the term during which they turn 5 years of age. Children’s names may be placed on the waiting list for Nursery from their 2nd birthday. The Nursery provides 60 places per session. The Nursery is open from Monday to Friday during term time. Term Dates and Holidays are displayed in the entrance hall and on this website.

Children are offered a part time place of either 5 mornings or 5 afternoons per week for a total of 15 hours per week. We do not split the 15 hours universal entitlement with any other setting or provider. Limited additional sessions are available – breakfast club and lunch club, which are provided in an integrated way by our Chameleon Club. There is a charge for these sessions. If your child has taken up the 30 hours offer there are limited sessions available for breakfast club and a top-up charge for lunch time (11.45-12.45) will apply. You have the option of collecting your child and taking them home for lunch if you prefer.

There is no charge for Nursery School sessions, although we do request a weekly, voluntary donation of £1.50 to help purchase expendable resources.

We work closely with, and receive regular visits from a range of support agencies, including educational psychologists, speech and language therapists. Lydalls Nursery School is part of Oxfordshire’s Early Years Aspiration Network, working in partnership with local pre-schools and the Didcot Partnership of Schools. The Nursery is used as a training placement for teachers, nursery nurses and work experience students. We are also used as a model of good practice by the Local Authority. Parents and members of the local community are encouraged to come in to school to support our work.

“….you have worked in perfect partnership with us as parents” Parent, Parent Questionnaire 2017

“The staff have done a brilliant job at welcoming our family in to Nursery” Parent, Parent Questionnaire 2017

“It genuinely feels like a family” Parent, Parent Questionnaire 2017

“All four of our children have been fortunate to begin their adventure in education with Lydalls and we are firmly convinced their present successes have their roots in that special Lydalls magic in their early years” Parent, Parent Questionnaire 2017

“I am ever so pleased with the care and quality of teaching” Parent, Parent Questionnaire 2017


Our website will provide you with introductory information about our aims and values. They will explain how we work and how the children will learn during their time with us.

Additional information will be displayed in school, published on this website or sent home in Newsletters. At all times, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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