Strawberry How Nursery School

Strawberry How Road, Cockermouth, CA13 9XR (MAP)  Tel: 01900 823322   Email:

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Website

Most of our website is accessible only to our parents after Log in

Tell me about your Nursery

We are proud of our Nursery.  We are a Private Professional Day Nursery - specialists in Childcare and Early Years Education who offer assistance to working parents. We have 120 families who use our setting although not all at once!!

Are you Ofsted Registered?

Yes. For our sins we are acknowledged by Ofsted to be Outstanding and noted as exceptional in their report.  Are we Outstanding all the the time - I doubt it - no nursery could be - but we love what we do and we do our best.

Describe your facility 

We are the only modern, single storey, architect designed, purpose-built Day Nursery in West Cumbria. Our childrens' rooms (Caterpillars 0-21mths, Butterflies 22-34mths and Squirrels 35+ months are all on the ground floor and this means access to outside playspaces is totally safe. You need to know that we continually invest into our nursery - we have recently reinvested a small fortune improving our entire setting by building a link with underfloor heating that incorporates a modern house into the space of our nursery. In providing this extra space all our children from youngest to oldest have benefited.











 When are you open?

We are open every weekday apart from Bank Holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year.  Our working day is 7.30am to 6.00pm.

Do you take babies?

In fact we are the only local nursery who have invested in specialist facilities and further training appropriate for the care of children aged 0-24mths. Each child (less than 2yrs) must be provided with 3.5m2 of space with a care ratio of 1:3. Our baby spaces tend to be booked early and we always have pregnant mums who have already pre-booked a place for their child. Nine of our staff are mothers themselves. Tuesday Wednesdays Thursdays are full till March 2019.

Do you have qualified teachers at your Nursery?

Four of our staff are qualified teachers.  All our other staff are child-care specialist NVQ3 Nursery Nurses. All are full-time. We know of no other nursery where the staff are all qualified to minimum Level 3 and where all are full-time.

How is the Nursery managed?

Our Nursery is managed by Julie Richardson an experienced Infant Headteacher.  Each room has a room leader - Victoria in the Caterpillars, Justine and Hannah in the Butterflies and Nadine in the Squirrels. We plan within and beyond the expectations of the EYFS and our older children in particular are therefore exposed to a particularly rich and dedicated educational environment.  

Do you have other information?

We produce detailed Caterpillar Room, Butterfly Room and Squirrel Room booklets.  These are available after registration or can be viewed after log in within this website.  We also publish all our policies and procedures as well as 6 weekly thematic planning - these things are also available after parent log in.

Nursery Planning?

We understand the importance of play and our activities are based on fun. We have taken the EYFS curriculum and supplemented additional Language, Number and Thematic levels.  The Thematic curriculum is published in 6 week blocks and can be found after log in to the website.  No other nursery - Private, Day or School Nursery will offer this.  For us the great merit in this is that parents can see the topics and will be able to reinforce the language associated with these activities.  The actual activities are presented (for parents to see their child's involvement) on our secret Facebook page.  Detailed numeracy and language planning is posted in the Butterfly and Squirrels rooms.

Do you take children out into the real world?

Yes - this a huge feature of our Nursery.  Such experiences are age appropriate with those free from nappies enjoying the greatest escapes.

How much are your fees?

Generally you pay for what you get.  Fees depend on the number of hours that your child spends at the nursery. We charge a competitive hourly rate that is discounted dependant on attendance hours. The hours of siblings are combined to give a lower rate. 

Do you provide food?

Yes. We are the only nursery in the area to provide food.  We are the only nursery in the area with a recent 5 star food rating. Parents of children under 12 mths provide all food/nappies/creams.  At 12 months children can take Breakfast, Morning Snack, Afternoon Snack and Tea within the fee. At this point they can have cooked lunch at £1.40. Our Butterflies and Squirrels have lunch from Lorton School (£2.80) and tea in our new Dining Room. We start to charge (at cost) for the snack menu whem a child receives the Nursery Grant.  Breakfast is 30p Morning Snack is 40p Aftenoon Snack is 40p and Tea is 70p. We publish the weekly lunch menu on our website on Fridays for the following week. We are proud of our snack menus - we have 8 seasonal menus that change around about every 7 weeks so as to offer a wide variety of foods.

Do you have any spaces in your Nursery?

The best approach is to contact the Nursery because availability will change throughout the year.  Spaces in our Caterpillar Room (0-21mths) will appear as children reach 22 months and move to our Butterfly Room. We have recently re-structured the nursery to reduce the number of Caterpillar Room spaces that are made available. 

Can I visit your Nursery?

Yes. It is essential that you visit the Nursery before making any arrangements.  You will need to arrange an appointment for the visit.  During your visit we will show you around and explain how we operate our Nursery.

How do we start?

When the registration has been accepted we will give you a log in to the secure section of our website - all the starting procedures are recounted there.  We will contact you about a month before to organise a free taster session in the week prior to the start date.  The taster session is either 9.00-11.00am or 1.30-3.30pm.   During this session we ask mums to provide reasonably detailed information about feeding/sleep patterns etc to enable our Nursery Nurses to follow the routine that has been established at home.

What will my child need to bring to the Nursery?

Children in our Caterpillar Room need to bring in food, milk and drink. They also need to be provided with nappies, cream and spare clothing just in case.  Some children have special comforters which are welcome at the Nursery. Lunches from Lorton School and cost £2.80 (£1.40 for children aged 12-18mths). The Nursery provides milk in the morning and water throughout the day in the Butterfly Room so there is no need to pack drinks. The Nursery also provides breakfast, morning and afternoon snacks as well as a light tea for children over 12mths. Children who are not yet using the toilet independently are asked to be provided with nappies, cream and a change of clothing. We ask parents to label all their child's belongings to help us make sure property is not mislaid.

Do you do Taster Sessions?

Yes - the idea is for your child to settle into the nursery while at the same time giving you a chance to feel confident enough to leave your child. 

Is the Universal Funding (15hrs Nursery Grant) available for children after their 3rd birthday?


Is the Extended Funding (30hrs Nursery Grant) available for children after their 3rd birthday?

Yes 50 weeks a year between 7.30-6.00pm

Do you charge for occasional holidays?

Yes at 40%. Our staff are the most important resource within our Nursery and it is important that their employment is secure especially during periods of holiday.  It is for this reason we can attract the best staff to our Outstanding setting.  Indeed some nurseries - especially those charging full and half day rates will still charge 100% for holidays within their fee structure. However, provided that we are told by 15th of each month for the following month we will maintain that all holidays receive a Fee Reduction of 40%. Bank holidays and the days between Christmas and New Year are free.  For those children in receipt of the flexible Free Entitlement Funding this is still offered during holidays together with the fee reduction of 40% applied to the remaining non Nursery Grant hours.

Do you charge for School Holidays?

We do not offer a Term Time Only Rate.  However, from September 2017 we are introducing a Holiday Reduction Scale that may particularly benefit those who work in school or those whose older children are tied to school terms.  All food charges are refunded during holidays. We will discount the affected days during long term holidays by the following rate. 

Affected days <2 weeks <3 weeks <4 weeks <5 weeks <6 weeks <7 weeks
Fee Reduction 45% 50% 55% 60% 65% 70%

What happens if my child is ill?

Telephone or email the Nursery if your child is ill.  Due to staffing commitments we are unable to refund families for days absent due to sickness. If your child becomes ill during our care we will closely monitor the child and immediately contact parents. In an emergency we will make a judgement if it is necessary to quickly take a child to the Surgery in Cockermouth.  It is important that the welfare of all the children in the Nursery is safeguarded and for this reason a child with a contagious illness should not be brought into the Nursery.

Can we alter the registration times?

The booked registration times are compiled on a first come first served basis.  The monthly arrangement forms part of a complicated jigsaw that needs to be accurately staffed according to child/adult staffing ratios.  However, where it is possible we will try to accommodate small changes provided that we are informed by the 15th of each month for the following month.  It is not possible to swap one day for another without altering the registration.  Talking is always good but It is always best to confirm potential alterations by email.

What are the arrangements for the dropping off and the collection of children?

As the adult/child ratios are statutory, we are obliged to monitor drop off and pick up times and if necessary have the registration times adjusted.  Punctuality is therefore important because if children arrive before their booked time the adult/child ratios in the Nursery may be affected.  Children should never be collected late.    The Nursery is a secure facility and access is strictly controlled.  All parents or carers are met at the door by a member of staff.  Parents or carers must be recognised in order to gain entry. Occasionally, a child may be collected by another nominated person - in this case a password must be given.  Without this password we will not hand over a child. The entrance is monitored by camera.

Is there a particular member of staff who will look after my child?

Each child has a Key Person who will maintain a progress file on that child. These files contain the EYFS record.  The quality of our progress files is a feature of our Nursery and these are always available for parents to view. On a day-to-day basis all staff know the needs of all children and staff work as a team to create and develop each child.  Our children/staff ratios are always generous - we employ 20 Nursery Nurses (all qualified to NVQ3 minimum) and 2 NVQ3 Apprentices. There is always the opportunity to receive feedback from staff about a child's day.  More formally, we undertake to offer a Parent Meeting in the year as well as a transition meeting each time your child moves rooms. 

Do you have links with Local Schools?

We have excellent links with Lorton School - their staff are friendly, they cook our lunches and we often visit them. 







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