Scotland Frequently Asked Questions

Got A Question?

We've put together a selection of our most popular questions and answers below.

Bright Horizons FAQs

You can browse details of nurseries in your area by clicking here. You are also welcome to speak with our Parent Enquiry team on 0330 433 2460, or to email us at parentenquiry@brighthorizons.com.

Opening and closing times will be specific to each nursery. You can ask the Nursery Manager at your chosen setting or look at our nursery webpages to find out when your nursery operates. Our nurseries are closed between Christmas and New Year as well as Bank/public holidays and inset days.

Our personal tours have been especially designed 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 you and your child to feel comfortable right from the start.

Yes! Bright Horizons Open Days take place four times a year. Open Days are fun, family events 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 friendly, caring nursery practitioners.

On an Open Day, we’re able to demonstrate some of the things the children will be learning over their time at the nursery, 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!

Check out our current Open Days, Fun Days and other events at Bright Horizons

If a personal tour isn’t possible, a virtual tour or a call with the nursery’s Manager is the next best thing. 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.

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.

Some of our nurseries have immediate availability while others have waiting lists – the length of these will vary. For the most up to date information please speak with the Nursery Manager of your chosen setting, or contact our Parent Enquiry Team who will be happy to help: 0800 085 4074 or contact us

We understand the importance of early identification and intervention. We place a great value on the role our educators play in monitoring children’s development, and identifying when a child may need additional support. This early identification allows support to be put in place, enabling every child in our nurseries to reach their full potential.

All of our nurseries have a designated ASN Co (Additional Support Coordinator) who will oversee additional support for any child with a developmental difference. We work with the child’s parents/carers and any specialist workers who support them, to ensure that their needs are best met.

All of our practitioners undertake regular training around supporting children with additional needs.

Discover more at Bright Horizons here

Firstly, we would recommend booking a personal tour of the nursery or nurseries you are interested in if you haven’t done so already. Visiting the nursery means you can meet our team, talk through your requirements in person and really appreciate what we have to offer your family. You will also be able to ask the nursery manager about availability and how to register.

Our nurseries fill up quickly, so if you would like to book a place with us, we recommend you do that as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment. If you are expecting a new baby, or are planning to move house, we suggest you start looking for a place sooner, rather than later. In larger towns and cities, you may find two or three local Bright Horizons nurseries, so do look at all of your nearby options, particularly if your first choice is full.

Click here to download our brochure

The team in your chosen nursery will work with you to design a period of ‘settling in’ to suit your child’s needs. An important part of settling is the opportunity for you and your child to develop relationships with your Key Person, and this will involve your child coming into the nursery for short periods of time, in advance of your actual start date. Over time, your Key Person will work with you to meet your child’s individual needs, learning about their special likes and dislikes, as well as any medical and/or dietary requirements.

Your child’s Key Person, and buddy Key Person, will be your first point of contact when your child starts at nursery, and they will be able to keep you fully informed about the progress your child is making. You will receive an update at the end of each settling-in day, to let you know what activities your child has taken part in, what they have enjoyed and how they are settling. This update will be available through the Bright Horizons Family App.

Here’s a link to view Settling into Bright Horizons family

Fees & finance

Yes, we charge a non-refundable registration fee when you complete and return the registration forms to the nursery. The registration fee is an administrative charge to (a) reserve your child’s place at the nursery (if applicable) or (b) place your child on the nursery’s waiting list (if a place is not immediately available). Paying the registration fee and being placed on a waiting list does not guarantee that the nursery will be able to offer your child a place or accommodate your requested booking pattern. No registration fee is payable for a fully funded place.

Yes, you will be charged your normal fees if your child is ill or on holiday.

We don’t provide childcare on an hourly basis. Our Terms and Conditions detail our requirement for children to attend nursery for a minimum of 2 full days a week, since we believe this pattern supports 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.

Bright Horizons offers funding in all of our nurseries in Scotland. We offer up to 1140 hours per year, depending on eligibility. Please speak to the Nursery Manager for an informal chat about your options.

To find out more look at our Childcare Funding Options

Download our funding guides here

Education

Our Bright Beginnings Curriculum for 0-3 years is designed to provide a rich learning experience that encompasses not only academic skills but also emotional wellbeing, creativity, and social development.

Curriculum for Excellence 3 – 18yrs places learners at the heart of education. At its centre are four fundamental capacities. These capacities reflect and recognise the lifelong nature of education and learning. The four capacities are aimed at helping children and young people to become, successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. It also proposes that expectations for learning within the curriculum areas is gathered under the following headings:

  • Expressive Arts
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Religious and Moral Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Technologies

We prioritise emotional wellbeing, recognising that it is foundational to a child's growth. In our nurseries, children are helped to recognise and manage their feelings, develop resilience, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Through mindfulness, self-expression, problem-solving, and critical thinking activities, we foster emotional intelligence alongside cognitive development.

Our curriculum reflects the way children naturally learn. For example, the five areas of learning (Feelings and Friendships, Thinking Creatively, Technical and Life Skills, Sharing Thoughts and Ideas, Learning About My World) seamlessly interlink, so that as children explore one idea or topic, they also make valuable discoveries in many others. This approach promotes a deeper understanding of the world and encourages a love for learning.

Alongside Bright Beginnings 0-3 Curriculum and Curriculum for Excellence 3-18 years, Realising the Ambition Scotland’s national practice guidance for Early Years is implemented in all settings. The aims of this guidance is

  • To help ensure that Scotland is the best place in the world to grow up.
  • The child’s voice and best interests should be at the centre.
  • To support practitioners understanding in children’s learning using a mixture of responsive planning and intentional promotion.
  • To develop the confidence, skills and abilities of all practitioners working with babies, young children and families from pre-birth to the early primary stages.
  • To support improvement in the quality of provision by promoting discussion and self-evaluation.
  • To make clear links between theory, practice and policy.

Read more on our curriculum here

Care Inspectorate carries out regular inspections on Scottish schools and nurseries. Please refer to our nursery web pages to see their latest report.

As well as the settling-in sessions, we also assign all children a Key Person who will keep you fully informed about your child’s progress. 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 Family app.

Our rooms are all designed to be age specific.

At Bright Horizons, we follow the guidelines for ratios as set by Ofsted.

0-2 years: 1 adult to 3 children

2-3 years: 1 adult to 5 children

3+ years: 1 adult to 8 children

A Day in the Life at Bright Horizons

Your child’s Key Person will complete observations, to show your child’s progress. You will always be able to discuss these with your child’s Key Person and the observations will also be available through the Bright Horizons Family App.

View our Parent Guides to Early Childhood Development:

Take a glimpse into your child’s day here

We work very closely with our families, and we endeavour to match your family life as closely as possible in the nursery setting, to support a smooth transition from home.

Read more on How to smooth transitions and changing routines here

We ask parents to bring in at least two changes of clothes. In winter your child will need a coat, gloves and possibly a hat.

If your child is going on a trip, they may also need waterproof clothing and wellies – or sun hats. We will always let you know in advance. The nursery team will keep you updated with everything your child will need.

Certainly, we will align with your home routine and provide guidance on successful, collaborative toilet training for your child.

If you need any tips on toilet training, read our piece on A guide to Potty Training

Please speak with your child’s Key Person or your Nursery Manager in the first instance. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this conversation, you can contact our complaint team on ukcomplaints@brighthorizons.com or make a formal complaint to Care Inspectorate.

Safety in our nurseries

In some locations, we may use CCTV technology at the entrances for the security/safety of our parents, children, staff and nursery premises. We do not allow this to be viewed remotely.

We will ask you to complete some required documentation prior to the nursery administering any medication to your child. Your child’s attendance at nursery whilst on medication is at our sole discretion. We record the administration of all medication and will ask you to sign a form to acknowledge that you 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.

Our Bright Horizons Family App helps you stay connected with real-time updates of your child’s nursery life. Our App will give you peace of mind that your child is safe and well and keeps everyone connected – making it even easier for you to communicate with us, and for us to communicate with you.

Read more about the Family App here

At Bright Horizons, your child's safety and well-being are our top priority. That's why we invest in ensuring our colleagues are highly trained and equipped to nurture and educate every child. Here's how:

  • Safety First: Every staff member undergoes background checks and mandatory Paediatric First Aid training, so you know your child is always in safe hands.
  • Nurturing Expertise: We believe in continuous learning, so our dedicated team receives regular professional development to stay updated on the latest Early Years education practices.
  • Strong Leadership: Our team leaders are equipped with the skills and knowledge to guide their teams through dedicated leadership development programs, ensuring consistent quality care throughout the nursery and across our other services.
  • Investing in the Best: We offer a range of qualifications, from apprenticeships to Early Years teaching degrees, so your child benefits from the highest level of care and education.
  • Committed to Excellence: We understand that choosing a nursery is a big decision. That's why we're committed to providing the best possible experience for both you and your child.
  • 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.

Rest assured, your child will be greeted by a team of passionate, qualified professionals who are dedicated to making their nursery experience safe, stimulating, and full of fun.

Yes. When you sign up to join our nursery, you will have a chance to opt into the nursery’s social media and other platform sites. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your Nursery Manager.

Food

At all Bright Horizons nurseries, we give children the opportunity to have breakfast, two snacks, 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 two-course meal is offered at lunch and tea. The children have access to fresh drinking water throughout the day.

Our nurseries offer every child freshly prepared food from our carefully designed 15-day menu cycle. Where facilities allow, meals are prepared from scratch by our trained kitchen teams. These menus are nutritionally planned following the Eat Better, Start Better, Setting the Table and First Steps Nutrition Trust for Children guidance, balancing food groups, appropriate portion sizes, and salt and sugar intake. Children will enjoy a variety of tastes and textures, with menus that balance carbohydrates, colourful vegetables, proteins, pulses and fresh fruit throughout the week.

Our menus 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!

Find out more about our menus

We work closely with families to understand any religious or cultural diets and adjust our menus where possible. 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, vegetarian, vegan, and allergies. Please contact your local nursery to discuss your specific dietary requirements.

Here's a link to view an example of a nursery set menus

Before your child starts at the nursery, you will need to share with us information about their allergies and how these are managed at home. These details will need to be updated regularly, so the nursery always has the correct information to keep your child safe. 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 all of the necessary information available to secure your child’s safety.

Allergy information is shared with nursery and kitchen staff in several ways. Documents are held and displayed in the child’s room with a photo of your child and their allergy details. These documents are also used in the nursery kitchen, so that the chef can prepare individualised meals as necessary. Labels are printed from our Family Management system and put onto the plate/bowl, to highlight where a meal is different to the main meal being served. In addition, individual place settings with children’s photographs and allergen details are set out on the table before all meals and snacks commence. Each chef/kitchen keeps a record of all allergens and food product details.

Here's a link to some information on Individual preferences and Flexibility


Have another question? If you can't find the answer below and you still need help, please speak to your local nursery or contact us.