Frequently Asked Questions


How many staff will there be, and what is the staff/child ratio?

The staff/child ratio depends on the age of the child. The regulations state the following: Under 2’s require 1 staff member to every 3 children, ages 2 to 3 requires 1 staff member to every 4 children, and ages 3 - 5 require 1 staff member to every 8 children We aim to provide more staff than statutory requirements.

What qualifications will your staff have?

80% of our staff are qualified to Level 3 and 4, and the remainder either have a Level 2 or are studying to gain this qualification. We also have three graduates who hold BA (Honours) in Early Years Education.

All staff currently undergo a one month induction period and attend Paediatric First Aid training. They also attend other courses relevant to their work. As an organisation we are committed to the continuous development of our staff.

How do I know my child will be safe and secure?

All our staff have enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks before they are allowed to work with the children. In addition, two personal references are taken up prior to starting work with ChipMonks.

All the toys and equipment in the nursery are of a high quality and regular risk assessments on equipment and procedures are carried out to ensure everything is maintained to the highest standard.

We carry out regular fire drills with the children, so that they become familiar with the routine, and should we have an emergency, we will be able to clear the building quickly and safely. Children must be signed in and out each day.

If a child is to be collected by a different person, (relative, friend etc), staff must be notified at registration. We will not release a child to anyone unless we have confirmation from the parent that it is safe to do so. We operate a password system.

What activities will the children be doing in the Nursery?

Children are offered a mixture of different activities throughout the day, which will include creative play, activities to help with numeracy and literacy, construction and problem-solving, story time, dance and movement, rest and relaxation. There will also be plenty of opportunity for free play to allow children to be inventive and use their imaginations.

We encourage the children to make the most of our lovely outdoor space and have free flow most of the day so that children can choose to be outdoors. Children are observed and assessed against the nationally recognised Early Years Foundation Stage for 0 - 5 years.

What will the children be given to eat and drink?

Breakfast, lunch, tea and snacks, will be offered to the children daily (depending on what time they are attending the nursery). We are particularly keen to offer the children a varied and healthy diet made where possible from fresh produce. We cater for children who have allergies.

Do I have to provide nappies?

Yes. Due to individual preferences we ask that you provide nappies and wipes.

What happens if my child is taken ill at the Nursery?

If your child is taken ill at the Nursery, we will contact you immediately. Our staff are trained to give First Aid for minor injuries and we have comprehensive Policies and Procedures in place to deal with more serious emergencies. If your child has sickness or diarrhoea or any other symptoms which we feel may be contagious or if your child is extremely unhappy due to feeling unwell, we will ask that you make arrangements to collect as soon as possible.

What if my child is ill and cannot attend Nursery?

If your child misses Nursery due to illness, unfortunately no refund can be made. In the interest of the other children, it is important that your child is well before returning them to the Nursery.

What happens if I am delayed collecting my child?

Sometimes parents are unavoidably delayed. Please let us know as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary concerns. Arrangements will be made to look after your child until you arrive. In the event that you are more than 15 minutes late, we may have to make an additional charge to cover staff costs.

In the very unlikely event that a parent or carer does not collect their child from the nursery at the agreed time, and no contact has been made with the nursery to inform them of alternative arrangements, every attempt will be made to contact them. If this is unsuccessful the nursery will contact the nominated emergency contact person and request that they collect the child. The nursery will remain open to enable time for the contact person to travel to the nursery.

If we are unable to make contact with anyone we will inform the local out of hours children’s services department to agree the next course of action in order to ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing.

If I have a complaint, what should I do?

We always want to hear if you or your child is unhappy with any aspect of the nursery. Please raise any concerns you have with the Nursery Manager who will endeavour to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction if possible. Should you still be unhappy, you can take your complaint further by contacting OFSTED directly. The Nursery Manager will be happy to give you the contact details or you can get them from the poster in the cloakroom.

When is the Nursery open?

We are open Monday to Friday from 7.30 a.m. to 6.00p.m each day. We operate all year round, with the exception of the week between Christmas and New Year, a week at Easter and bank holidays.

What are your charges?

Please refer to our Price List at the back of the Prospectus

How do I settle my child into nursery life?

We recognise and understand the anxieties for both parents and children when starting at nursery. Some children will settle in on their first visit and others will take a little longer to get used to their new environment.

To support parents and children when settling at nursery we offer as many settling in visits as are required, free of charge. We ask that you contact nursery a few weeks before the child’s due start date to discuss convenient times for them to visit the nursery to get used to the new environment. If parents wish, they can stay in the room with the child on their first few visits and then we recommend leaving them with us, enabling the key staff in the room to start to form a relationship with the child.

What do I need to bring to nursery with me?

We encourage parents to bring family photos to leave at nursery so the child can see familiar faces within their nursery environment. We need at least one full change of clothes, nappies, wipes and any formula milk that is to be given.

Why is there so much paperwork to complete?

It is of the upmost importance that we obtain as many details about a child as possible to ensure his/her welfare at nursery. Before the child’s start date the Nursery Manager will issue an information pack to be completed and returned to us at the child’s first settling in visit. This pack will contain information regarding personal contacts, emergency contact details, family information, medical details and forms which require your signature to confirm your authorisation regarding various aspects of the care we provide.

The Nursery Management will be happy to assist with the completion of paperwork.

How does ChipMonks communicate with parents?

Effective communication is the key to building positive relationships between parents and the Nursery staff. Verbal communication is always best and our Nursery Management team operates an open-door policy for parents. We also have other ways we can communicate with parents to complement this, including emails, newsletters and parent evenings.

We operate a Parents Forum group made up from parents whose children attend or have attended ChipMonks. Staff meet with this group once a term and they are happy for new customers to have their contact details if you wish to have an informal chat with them.

Can parents get involved with nursery events and influence the running of the nursery?

The Nursery aims to be an integral part of the community and hold regular events such as open days, fun days and charity fundraising activities. We invite parents and children to these events and welcome the assistance of parents in organising these activities.

We operate a Parents Forum group made up from parents whose children attend or have attended ChipMonks. Staff meet with this group once a term and they are happy for new customers to have their contact details if you wish to have an informal chat with them.

We welcome parents’ suggestions or feedback regarding all aspects of the Nursery and pre-school and this can be delivered through the Parents Forum, the suggestion box within the nursery, via our annual parent surveys or through discussion with the Nursery Management. In addition we ask new parents for their feedback after their child has been with us for three months, via a new starter survey.

How often will my child go outside?

As fresh air is very important, children will have daily access to the outdoor area. Subject to the constraints of the Nursery buildings our children have permanent access to the outdoor area and can choose to play inside or outside. In addition we take children on trips and outings in the local area so they can learn about their communities and have access to a wider range of learning opportunities.

Will my child be able to sleep during the day?

Many children, particularly under the age of three years, will require a sleep time during the day. Our nursery has ample sleeping facilities for the children, who are offered a rest period during the day, usually after lunchtime if they attend for the whole day. Young babies will follow their own home routine for sleep times as discussed with the child’s parents. If a child does not want to sleep they will be provided with other restful activities. We have a sleeping room with travel cots in, cushioned mats for the older children and we are also very lucky that we can safely provide the children with a sleep in a pushchair outside in the fresh air.

How do you plan for and assess each child’s learning?

Our staff members are trained to plan for children’s individual learning needs. Staff will observe their key children and identify strengths, development needs and interests and build on these through the weekly plans.

Each child’s Key Person is responsible for completing an Individual Learning Journey for them. This is an assessment of your child’s progress and allows staff to record achievements against the six areas of learning outlined under the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. This also helps staff to understand how your child needs to be supported and enables them to share information with you about your child’s progress at nursery.

What happens if my child has an accident at nursery?

As children develop physically, particularly in their early walking stages, accidents can occasionally happen. ChipMonks has a large number of trained Paediatric First Aiders.

If a child has had an accident at nursery the parent or carer will be informed when the child is collected and they will be asked to sign an accident form. In the event of a bump to the head, the child is monitored and in most cases will be able to continue with their day at nursery.

In the event of a bump to the head causing concern, parents will be asked to collect the child and take them to their GP. Parents are given a copy of the accident form and head injury advice form upon collection of their child. 

Should a child have an accident whilst at nursery which requires further medical support parents are contacted immediately and the necessary action is taken. In extreme cases this could involve calling for the support of a paramedic.

What if my child requires medication?

The nursery staff are able to administer various medications subject to authorisation and various safeguards. This includes the administration of long term medication such as an inhaler and external medications such as creams. Should we consider it appropriate to give your child Calpol, we will always phone you first to ascertain if this is acceptable.

How do you manage children’s behaviour?

It is imperative that children have set boundaries of behaviour for their own safety and the safety of their peers. Negative behaviour often occurs when the child’s basic needs are not being met. ChipMonks has a named person who has overall responsibility for guiding staff and parents with issues concerning behaviour. This individual keeps up to date with the legislation and research on behaviour guidance strategies and accesses relevant sources of expertise on handling children’s behaviour.

Our aim is to promote good behaviour and ensure that all children are provided with love and care, security, adequate rest and sleep, the freedom to explore, a positive self image, suitable adults as role models, consistency in their treatment, boundaries to behaviour, opportunities for self expression and opportunities for learning.

There will never be any form of physical punishment in our nurseries. Our children will never be subject to humiliation or labelled as ‘naughty’ and staff will endeavour never to raise their voices. Individuality is encouraged and the children are taught by example.

The staff at ChipMonks benefit from tailor made Behaviour Management training.

What is the company’s policy on inclusion?

Equality: All children are welcome at ChipMonks. We are committed to promoting equal opportunities and all children within our care will be treated with equal respect irrespective of class, ethnic origin, gender, disability, race or religion.

Special Needs: We endeavour to meet all children’s individual needs and aim to include every child regardless of any special needs, whilst ensuring the needs of other children will not be disadvantaged. We endeavour to have the resources available to meet the needs of all children in our care. We will work closely in partnership with parents, providing them with information, and assist in the care and understanding of their child’s needs and/or developmental programme. We will also liaise with the appropriate multi-disciplinary teams to formalise the assessment and identification of the needs of the child.

ChipMonks has a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), who is fully trained in the Code of Practice for the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. In addition the nursery is supported by the local authority inclusion officer.

What are the key points of the nursery contract?

Full terms and conditions are issued with our information packs. Key points to note are:

Fees: Bills are issued at the start of every month and are due for payment BEFORE the 18th of that month. Bills are paid in arrears. We reserve the right to make a late payment charge of £10 should fees not be settled by the 18th of the month.

Bookings will be charged for regardless of whether the child attends that session or not. Refunds or replacement sessions will not be given for unattended sessions. Fees are also payable if the nursery is closed for staff training or for any event beyond our reasonable control including, but not limited to, lack of essential services or weather conditions.

Late collection: Late collection of children will be charged at the rate of £10 per 15 minutes or part thereof.

Notice period to leave the nursery or reduce sessions: One months’ notice of the intention to cancel or reduce a child’s sessions is required. If one months’ notice is not given the outstanding fees may be payable.

Additional sessions: Extra one-off sessions can be booked subject to availability. Cancellations of additional sessions must be received at least 48 hours in advance or sessions will be charged for.

Safeguarding children: The safety and wellbeing of a child is our first concern and we will need to take appropriate action if we feel that a child is at risk.

Who should I speak to if I have a concern?

If a parent has a concern regarding the nursery this should be raised immediately with the Nursery Manager. The manager will listen and endeavour to work with the parent and the team to reach a resolution. The matter will be logged on a concern or complaint form depending on what the matter relates to.

A compliant can also be raised with Ofsted by contacting them on 0300 123 1231. Further information can be obtained from the Complaints Policy.