Frequently Asked Questions
What do the fees include at Bright Horizons?
The fees at Bright Horizons include all meals and snacks in our nurseries, as well as our unique and innovative early childhood programmes, such as Growing Enhancements and Boogie Mites. Many of our nurseries also offer an all-inclusive package, which includes nappies, formula milk, wipes, creams and sun cream. To find out if your local nursery offers an all-inclusive package, please contact the nursery manager to have a chat about what they offer.
We are delighted to be able to offer 30 hours funded childcare for all eligible families, click here to find out more.
Do you accept childcare vouchers?
Yes, Bright Horizons are registered with most childcare voucher companies for parents who joined the scheme before it closed and continue to receive childcare vouchers through their workplace. The appropriate amount will deducted from your monthly invoice.
Please note that the Government’s Childcare Voucher scheme closed in 2018 for new joiners, but has been replaced by the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.
Read our blog: Childcare Costs: Help is Out There
Do Bright Horizons offer sibling discount?
At this time, we currently do not offer a sibling discount in our nurseries.
Do I have to pay for a full day if I want my child to attend a shorter day?
At Bright Horizons we offer morning, afternoon and full day sessions. At some of our nurseries we offer a school day session, from 9.00am-3.00pm, which is subject to a separate charge. If you would like your child to attend shorter hours than any of the available session times, you will still be charged for the full session.
To find out what sessions your local nursery offers, please speak to the nursery manager.
Can we pay for childcare by the hour?
Unfortunately, we are not able to provide childcare on an hourly basis. We expect children to attend a minimum of one half day session a week to support their emotional wellbeing, and help them to make friends and form positive relationships with adults..
Please contact your local nursery manager to discuss your requirements further.
Why do Bright Horizons charge a registration fee?
The registration fee is charged to all new families joining our nurseries to secure a place for your child as well as covering the administration costs.
Is the registration fee refundable?
Because the registration fee covers our administration fee, unfortunately it is not refundable at any of our nurseries.
Do I have to pay two registration fees for twins/two children?
Yes, we charge a registration fee per individual child. This secures each child’s place in the nursery and covers the administration costs.
If I transfer my child to another Bright Horizons nursery, will I have to pay another registration fee?
No, you will only need to pay one registration fee, even if you move your child to another Bright Horizons nursery.
Do you charge fees if my child is ill or on holiday?
Yes, you will be charged your normal fees if your child is ill or on holiday.
Is there a charge for fees when it is a bank holiday?
At Bright Horizons you will be charged for bank holidays.
Do you offer funding in your nurseries?
Yes, Bright Horizons offers 2, 3 and 4 year old funding in all of our England nurseries. We offer 15 hours as well as 30 hours funding, depending on eligibility. In Scotland we provide up to 1,140 hours a year for our children from the age of two, if eligible, until they attend school.
In Wales, our nurseries offer funding called ‘The Childcare Offer’ for children aged 3 and 4 years. Eligible working parents will receive up to a total of 30 hours of early education and childcare for up to 48 weeks a year depending on their combination of ‘Foundation Phase’ and ‘childcare’ hours.
To find out more about the 30 hours funded childcare offering please click here.
How do I find out if we are eligible for funded childcare?
You can check your eligibility for funded childcare through the Childcare Calculator.
You can apply for 30 hours funded childcare here.
After checking you and your child’s eligibility, as well as the rules of the scheme for your location in more detail, you’ll need to apply for your funded hours via your local authority.
Here’s how you can find yours:
- Search for your local authority in England here.
- Search for your local council in Scotland here.
- Search for your local Family Information Service in Wales here.
When will my child be eligible for funding?
Most families are entitled to some funded hours of childcare, when and how many will be dependent on where you live and the age of your child.
England: A total of 570 hours a year of funded childcare is available to all three and four year olds. This is 15 hours a week over 38 weeks each year, but you can choose to take it as fewer hours over more weeks. Click here for more information. Your two year old can get free childcare if you are claiming certain benefits (including some working benefits). Cared for children can also access these funded hours from the age of two. Find out more here.
Scotland: The 15 hour scheme is similar, but you get slightly more hours, ranging from 940 -1,140 hours a year. Some two year olds can get up to 1,140 hours per year if the parent is receiving certain benefits. Find out more about eligibility here or from your local authority’s website.
Wales: The 15 hour scheme is similar but works slightly differently too. You get 10 hours a week over 48 weeks in a school or funded nursery as part of what’s known as the Foundation Phase. In some areas in Wales, the Flying Start scheme offers some two and three-year-olds 2.5 hours per day free, five days a week over 39 weeks. Find out more about eligibility from the Welsh Government website.
Northern Ireland: Funded childcare is known as funded pre-school. You get slightly fewer hours - 475 per year, working out as 12.5 hours per week, which must be taken as 2.5 hours a day over five days a week during term time. It is regarded as Early Years education rather than childcare and can’t be provided by childminders. Find out more from nidirect.
How does Bright Horizons offer funded childcare?
We provide care on a sessional basis (morning, afternoon or full day sessions) to support families. We do not offer childcare on an hourly basis.
Bright Horizons offers 2, 3 and 4 year old funding in all of our England nurseries. We offer 15 hours as well as 30 hours funding depending on eligibility. To find out more about the 30 hours funded childcare offering please click here.
Parents can claim the maximum allowed number of hours a day, which is 10. For more information please visit our 30 hours terms and conditions page.
What is the supplementary charge?
The supplementary charge is the cost of providing the extras (see below) that Bright Horizons offers across the business, to enhance our exceptional levels of childcare.
What is included in the supplementary charge?
The supplementary charge includes many different extras including the following:
- Food and consumables
- Expert staffing
- Learning activities including Boogie Mites
- Unique learning programmes, including Ready for School and Growing activities
When should my child start nursery?
At Bright Horizons we welcome children from 3 months old until 5 years of age.
The UK Government offers funding for all children aged between three and four years, which might suggest this is a good age to start children at nursery. This however, doesn’t take into account your family’s circumstances or your child’s personality and development.
Often the right time for your child to start nursery is determined by when you might need to return to work after maternity or paternity leave. Alternatively, you might choose to send your child to nursery to start them on their learning journey, help them socialise, encourage their development and independence, and prepare them for school.
Why is nursery important?
The transition to nursery can be a very positive experience for your child and have multiple benefits including:
- Socialisation and social development
- Introduces routine and structure
- Promotes cognitive, language and communication skills
- Supports emotional development
- Introduces children to new concepts such as mathematics and literacy
- Provides fun and safe learning environments to learn in as they prepare for school
- Encourages independence and self-confidence
- Opportunity to learn new skills
- Helps to build immunity to viruses and childhood illnesses
Read our Blog: Eight Ways Children Can Benefit From a Nursery Environment
Can my child visit the nursery before starting?
Yes - to ensure the smoothest transition from home to nursery, we welcome you to attend settling in sessions (which are not chargeable). These will enable children to meet staff members and become familiar with their surroundings. The nursery manager will be able to support you through this transition, please get in touch for more information.
How do I enquire about a Bright Horizons nursery?
Click here to find your nearest nursery.
Or, you can speak to our Parent Enquiry team on 0330 433 2460, or email us at email@example.com.
How will I know if my child is settling in well?
As well as the settling in sessions, we also assign all children a key worker who will be able to keep you fully informed about the progress your child is making. You will receive an update at the end of the day to let you know what activities they have taken part in, what they have enjoyed and how they are progressing. This update will be available through the Bright Horizons App.
How do you record my child’s progress?
Every child in our nurseries is allocated a key worker. The key person is based in the room with your child and will complete observations, to show your child’s progress towards the Early Learning Goals, which are set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (2021). These observations will be available through the Bright Horizons App.
My child has additional needs, can this be accommodated at Bright Horizons?
Our aim at Bright Horizons is to enable all our children to have the brightest beginning, as it’s widely recognised that high-quality early years support is critical for all children.
To give each child their best chance in life, we understand that some children will need additional support throughout their education and life, while others may need it temporarily as they transition through some stages of their learning and development. Support options can be discussed between parent and nursery manager. Find out more about Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion (SENDI) at Bright Horizons.
How often are your nurseries inspected by Ofsted?
Ofsted inspections in our nurseries take place at least once every 6 year cycle. New nurseries are inspected within two and a half years of opening. To find an Ofsted inspection report click here.
What are your nursery opening times and when do they close during the year?
Each of our nurseries has different opening hours to suit demand in the local area. You can find the nursery’s opening hours on the individual nursery webpages. Our nurseries close on Bank Holidays and some also close between Christmas and New Year.
Are all staff in your nurseries DBS checked?
Yes, all Bright Horizons staff, including support and office staff are DBS checked when they start with the company. These checks are renewed every three years as part of our ongoing commitment to staff suitability.
What are the staff to children ratios in your nurseries?
At Bright Horizons we follow the guidelines for ratios as set by the Early Years Foundation Stage.
0-2 years: 1 adult to 3 children
2-3 years: 1 adult to 4 children
3+ years: 1 adult to 8 children or 1 adult to 13 children with an Early Years Teacher (or equivalent).
When should I register my child to attend nursery?
Firstly we would recommend booking a personal tour at your chosen nursery, so that you can really appreciate what we have to offer, meet our team and talk through your requirements in person. You will also be able to ask the nursery manager about availability and how to register.
Our nurseries do often fill up quickly, so if you would like to book a place with us, we recommend to do so sooner rather than later, to avoid disappointment. In larger towns and cities, you may find two or three local Bright Horizons nurseries - do take a look at all of your nearby options, particularly if your first choice is full.
Click here to download our brochure and registration forms.
Do you have a waiting list?
Whilst some nurseries may have a waiting list, this will vary for each of our nurseries. Please get in touch with our Parent Enquiry Team or your local nursery to find out more.
Are nursery staff able to administer medication to my child?
Families need to complete the required documentation prior to the nursery administering any medication to your child. In addition, the nursery may administer your child certain types of non-medically prescribed medication with your prior permission, for example to reduce your child’s temperature, respond to an allergic reaction or as the nursery deems appropriate. Your child’s attendance at nursery whilst on medication is at our sole discretion.
We record the administration of temperature reducing infantile suspension, including Calpol, other non-prescribed medicine, such as Piriton and the administration of teething gel. Parents are required to sign a form as acknowledgement that they have been made aware of the administration by nursery staff.
Please note: Children cannot attend nursery if they are suffering from sickness, diarrhoea, an infectious illness or have any non-specific rashes until they are symptom free or cleared to return to nursery by a doctor. In the event of your child being injured or becoming ill while at nursery, we may administer first aid, arrange for your child to obtain medical assistance or require an early collection. If we are unable to reach you then we will call an authorised contact as the nursery deems appropriate.
What meals and snacks are offered at the nursery?
At all Bright Horizons nurseries we give children the opportunity to have breakfast, a snack, lunch and afternoon tea with us depending on their session times. For breakfast there is a variety of options including cereals, porridge and fresh fruit. A hot meal and pudding is offered at lunch and a cold tea will be on offer in the afternoon. The children have access to fresh drinking water throughout the day.
All our menus are accredited by ‘Action for Children’, ensuring that all meals are checked with a nutritionist to ensure all food meets government guidelines. They have been specifically designed to ensure every child receives a carefully balanced diet throughout the day, with all the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow up healthy and strong – and with lots of energy for a day full of activities!
Can we bring our own food to nursery?
Unfortunately, we do not allow you to bring your own food into the nursery due to allergy control. If you have special dietary requirements, please do speak to the nursery manager.
Do you have vegetarian options on your menus?
Yes, at Bright Horizons nurseries we do offer vegetarian options at every mealtime, and for our snacks.
How do you manage allergies within the nursery?
We have robust procedures in place to manage children’s allergies but first, and most importantly, parents will need to share information about their child’s allergies and how this is managed at home so the nurseries have the correct information. We require written evidence from a medical practitioner, or health visitor, of all allergies and food intolerances prior to your child starting at the nursery, to make sure that we have the correct information to keep them safe.
Allergy information is shared with nursery and kitchen staff via a number of forms. Documents are held and displayed in the child’s room with a photo of your child and their allergy details. These forms are also used in the nursery kitchen, so that the chef is able to prepare individualised meals as necessary. Labels are printed from our Family Management system for use on plates/bowls where a meal is different to the main meal, as well as having individual place settings with children’s photo and allergen details. Each chef/kitchen keeps an allergen folder with food product details.
How do you cater for different dietary preferences on your menus?
We make adjustments wherever possible in order to cater for dietary preferences for cultural reasons. For example, children who do not eat pork will be offered an alternative meal, which may be a different meat dish or the vegetarian option.
Many of our nurseries cater for halal, kosher, vegetarian, vegan, diabetic meals and allergies. Please contact your local nursery to discuss your specific dietary requirements.
How do you support with weaning?
The lead on weaning (also known as complementary feeding) is taken from the parents to ensure this important stage of introducing foods is carefully supported. Where a baby has eaten a food product at home, this can be added to the list of products eaten in nursery. This partnership approach, with regular communication is key to ensuring food is presented appropriately for ages and stages of development. For example, whether food should be served smooth, mashed or finely chopped.
How do you help to prepare children for school?
At all Bright Horizons nurseries we are proud to offer a unique and enriching Ready for School programme that gives every child the opportunity to gain a broad range of skills and become confident so that they can reach their full potential. Our unique play-based activities provide inspirational and engaging learning experiences, and all nurseries use the innovative and well established Boogie Mites programme to help children to develop the essential skills to support their learning of phonics and reading.
Our unique ‘Growing’ activities provide interesting ways for your child to learn about mathematics, reading and writing. They also provide hands on activities that encourage children to engage in art, gardening and cooking, helping to lay the foundations for future academic and creative achievements. Giving children a chance to learn skills across a wide variety of areas of learning , such as mindfulness, forest school and gardening helping them to learn about the world around them, manage their feelings and behaviours and become motivated, life-long learners.
Please speak to your nursery manager to find out further how we help to prepare your child for school.
What happens during a nursery tour?
Our personal tours have been especially designed to show you what we offer and to enable you to get a feel for the nursery and chat with our staff. During your tour, our nursery team will be on hand to answer any questions and to discuss your child’s individual care requirements. We want your child to feel comfortable right from the start.
If a personal tour isn’t possible, a virtual tour or ‘Meet the Team’ call is the next best thing. Click here for more information about our tour options or get in touch with our Parent Enquiry Team or your local nursery to find out more.
Many of our nurseries have a recorded virtual tour available on their individual website pages and social media pages. Here’s an example of a tour at Southborough Woodlands.
What are Open Days?
Open Days are fun, family events held at your local Bright Horizons nursery where you can experience our engaging and innovative activities. You’ll be able to get a feel for the setting and our age-specific rooms, and meet our team of friendly, caring and highly qualified nursery practitioners.
Open Days take place once a month, usually on a Saturday, but we do hold additional Open Evenings if you’d prefer to visit us during the week. On each day, we’re able to demonstrate the key themes and educational topics for that month, as well as seasonal fun to provide an engaging experience for the whole family. You’ll have the opportunity to ask lots of questions, meet other parents of similar aged children, and become familiar with the Bright Horizons family. We hope to see you on an Open Day very soon!