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From little acorns…

Univ North will support students, staff, and academics for generations to come. A central aspect of this is providing childcare and family support.

Since the earliest days of planning for a new Univ community in North Oxford, the Univ North Working Party was keen to include a nursery on the site. Four years down the line, while details and ideas have changed, the vision remains much the same: providing wrap-around services and facilities for the whole community.

To ensure that this key aspect of the development was supported and fulfilled, a small working party of College staff and Old Members was assembled:

• Angela Unsworth MBE, Domestic Bursar and Chair
• Revd Dr Andrew Gregory, Chaplain andWelfareFellow
• Caroline Marriage (1991, English), Old Member
• Dr Ian Owen(1971,Physics),Old Member
• Professor Jacob Rowbottom, Stowell Tutorial Fellow in Law
• Dr Ben Jackson, Leslie Mitchell Tutorial Fellow in History and Development Advisor
• Dr Polly Jones, Schrecker-Barbour Tutorial Fellow in Slavonic and East European Studies
• Professor Sophocles Mavroeidism, Tutorial Fellow in Economics
• Jo Mason, Head of Childcare Services, University of Oxford

Univ North NurseryTogether they scoped the required facilities and worked through the proposed designs, contributing to a vision of Univ’s needs now and into the future. The final plans informed the Univ North Working Party and Governing Body on early years provision and championed the inclusion of these most vital of facilities within the heart of the new development. The nursery will provide space for 54 children, from the age of six months until primary school.

Designing a nursery is much like any architectural design: a balance of functionality and aesthetics. The new nursery building will be in keeping with the other site buildings, accessible and eco- friendly. It will also provide all the facilities needed to offer a fun, safe, and exciting space for the children. There will be a beautiful outdoor garden space, first-rate cooking and learning facilities.

If staff, students, and academics are supported in their personal lives, they will be able to focus on and excel in their professional lives. Univ North will provide services and support that are second to none, and one of these most vital of services is childcare.

Find our more about the complete project on our dedicated Univ North page.


“When we set out on the journey to Univ North we had one uniting vision; to create a community worthy of the name, which would complement the main site yet offer something that we couldn’t on the High. There are many defining features of our proposed Univ North which live up to the vision, but none more so than the nursery. I, and we, are indebted to the Old Members on our nursery group who have so helped shape our thoughts into reality.”
Angela Unsworth MBE, Domestic Bursar and Fellow

“The family friendly environment and the people of Univ provided the most wonderful backdrop to our studies while living at Staverton. It was the most memorable time as we obtained two DPhils and a Staverton Thesis baby. Staverton was our second home.”
Professor Chien-Jung Lo (2003, Physics), Professor in the Department of Physics, National Central University, Taiwan and Dr Ming-Hua Chang (2004, Physics)

“Oxford provides more nursery places for the children of staff and students than most Russell Group Universities, however, demand is great. High quality Early Years is a vital part of providing a solid foundation for childhood development and the new nursery will be a welcome addition to the childcare provision at the University.”
Jo Mason, Head of Childcare Services for the University

“The Univ North nursery is an exciting prospect and will be a much-needed new pillar of the College community. It will also help the College to attract and support graduate students, early career researchers and visiting fellows who have families and find access to childcare a serious barrier to pursuing their research at Univ.”
Dr Ben Jackson, Leslie Mitchell Tutorial Fellow in Modern History

“Univ’s new nursery will bring real, lasting benefit to the College and wider community. With its cutting-edge design and beautiful location in leafy North Oxford, Univ nursery will be one of the most exciting additions to the city’s childcare provision in many years.”
Dr Polly Jones, Schrecker-Barbour Tutorial Fellow in Slavonic and East European Studies

This feature was adapted from one first published in Issue 12 of The Martlet; read the full magazine here or explore our back catalogue of Martlets below:

Published: 3 June 2021

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