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 works 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.

“It is clear that our child’s literacy, numeracy and social skills have developed considerably while under your care. Thank you for helping her to develop the skills and confidence that she will need to carry forward to her next school” Parent Comment 2021

“Your play-based learning approach is amazing. Thank for for instilling this love of learning in to our child” Parent Comment 2021

“The teachers are always available for discussion about our child – we always found this feedback productive along with being kept in the loop with Tapestry” Parent Comment 2021

“My son enjoys teaching us new songs he has learned at Nursery. We’ve really enjoyed reading the Tapestry feedback and seeing pictures of him in Nursery. We’ve been very impressed with how Lydalls managed lockdown, keeping in touch regularly” Parent Comment 2021

“My son’s literacy, numeracy and creativity have developed lots in the last year. His curiosity and imagination have been stimulated at Lydalls. He’s learning to take turns too! Parent Comment 2021

“All the staff are very professional, loving, caring and working hard to promote productive learning. This is the best Nursery my son has ever attended ” Parent Comment 2021

“Lydalls Nursery is a wonderful place. Everyone there is just so lovely, friendly and helpful. It feels like a big family” Parent Comment 2021

“Even during those more difficult times in 2020 Lydalls were still in contact with us helping children to keep developing their skills even away from Nursery” Parent Comment 2021

“There is no other place I would prefer my child to start his journey. I will definitely recommend it to everyone!” Parent Comment 2021

“…she has loved her time at Lydalls. Although the last year has been a challenge her development hasn’t faltered due to the online content you provided and the consistent support and guidance she is offered when at Nursery. The staff have always provided the best care and the experiences provided to her have been wonderful” Parent Comment 2021

” Some highlights from us: The open, caring attitude towards parents and children from all staff. The joyful welcome each day which makes for a great start to the children’s sessions. Our daughter has really enjoyed and excelled in her learning so this is thanks to the hard work and dedication from the teaching staff in a very challenging year. She is moving on with some great friends and great memories. Thank you” Parent Comment 2021

“Despite never ending challenges we feel our daughters time at Lydalls has been just wonderful. She has thrived, grown in confidence and has really benefitted from being in such a nurturing environment. Your staff held up incredibly well under the pressures and have still provided exemplary education throughout (the pandemic)” Parent Comment 2021

“Lydalls had an amazing Ofsted review but also the website and facebook page looked idyllic and a great learning environment. We were unable to visit due to the pandemic but the ‘forest school’ type element made up our minds as we knew how much our son would enjoy and benefit from this” Parent Comment 2021

“I cannot thank you enough for being so supportive and helpful to us. You’ve all played a vital role in forming my son’s good character” Parent Comment 2021

” My son has really thrived at Nursery and comes out happy every day. The variety of garden space on offer has really suited him. Thank you for your continual kindness and patience with the children” Parent Comment 2021

“….us, as parents, have loved the interaction with all staff members at Lydalls and have felt it was the BEST decision to send her to your Nursery!” Parent Comment 2021


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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