Welcome to Ladybird Nursery

Children reading indoorsLadybird Nursery is based at the Southend Hospital site, in Cardigan Avenue.

Here you will find all the information that you need to know about our nursery, from the care we provide to details about payment. Although priority goes to staff working at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust who need a full time place, the nursery is open to everyone.

Ladybird Nursery provides care for children between the ages of 0 and 5 years.

To request a waiting list/application form please email:



Opening Hours

The nursery is open between 6.45am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, 52 weeks per year excluding bank holidays.

The Nursery Management Team

Nursery Manager, Lynda Bartholomew

Call 01702 385330 or email lynda.bartholomew@nhs.net

Nursery Deputy Manager, Lauren Wilkin

Call 01702 385330

Finance Administrator, Nicola Williams

Call 01702 385330

Fees (from 1st September 2023

All fees are usually reviewed annually and all parents will be charged at the private rate unless proof of employer is provided.

Early session – 6.45am to 8am

Includes breakfast. This session can only be used when added on to a morning session.


MSEFT staff - £7.06

Other NHS - £8.10

Private - £8.89

Morning session – 8am to 12noon


MSEFT staff - £22.60

Other NHS - £25.88

Private - £28.44

Lunch - 12noon to 1pm

Includes meal at 12noon. This session can only be used when added to morning or afternoon sessions.


MSEFT staff - £5.65

Other NHS - £6.47

Private - £7.11

Afternoon session – 1pm to 4pm


MSEFT staff - £16.95

Other NHS - £19.41

Private - £21.33

Late session – 4pm to 6pm

Includes light tea at 4.15pm. This session can only be used when added to afternoon session.


MSEFT staff - £11.30

Other NHS - £12.94

Private - £14.22

Nursery places and areas

A nursery place

We encourage all parents who wish to enrol their children at Ladybird to visit the nursery and join our waiting list. Please contact the nursery office (mse.ladybird.nursery@nhs.net) for more information.

Once you are allocated a nursery place we will ask you to provide us with your child’s details. This information is held securely and confidentially at the nursery and will be used only by relevant childcare professionals who are involved in your child’s care.  We will also ask you to read and sign the nursery contract.

If you have any questions about the nursery or your child’s development, or need advice on family support or paying for childcare, please contact the nursery.

Children playing outside The nursery areas

Based on the curiosity approach to learning, our nusery playrooms are designed to be homely and calm areas full of natural resources which promote a sense of awe and wonder. We have three outdoor areas.

Each child has a designated key person and children take part in a range of activities to suit their individual developmental needs and interests.

The nursery consists of four play rooms and three garden areas.

Ducklings: (0-2 years)

Team Leader: Nicky Hills

Telephone: 01702 385330 ext 6347      

In our baby room we care for up to 9 babies. We promote a natural environment and activities include music and movement, treasure baskets, sensorial play and enjoying natural learning experiences.

We ask parents to provide their child’s nappies and milk until he/she is able to drink cow’s milk. We operate a safe sleep policy, and we share those details with you before your child starts in the nursery.

Jays: (1-2 years)

Team Leader: Katy Richards

Telephone: 01702 385330 ext 5587

The Jays’ room caters for up to 12 children between one and two years old. The area consists of two play areas, a cosy/sensory room and a toilet/nappy changing area.

Children enjoy and learn from an extensive range of experiences including sensory activities, home corner, books, music and movement, circle time, sand, water, paint and others. All activities are planned around the individual needs of the children.

Owls: (2 - 3 years)

Team Leader: Lauren Wilkin

Telephone: 01702 385330 ext 5586                                          

In our Owls area we care for up to 12 children between two and three years old. This area aims to promote children’s communication and language, independence and support them to make their own choices.

Children take part in a wide range of experiences, which include role play, construction, basic mark making and sensorial play. Circle time takes place every day which involves experiences like story time, puppets and singing. Children enjoy access to their designated outside areas for all-weather play.

Robins: (3-4 years)

Team Leader: Melanie Taylor

Telephone: 01702 385330 ext 5587       

In our Robins’ room we care for up to 22 children aged from three to four years. The children go out to play every day in our Forest Garden. Each child has a designated key person and children enjoy and learn from an extensive range of experiences including sensory activities, home corner, books, music and movement, circle time, sensory and paint etc. All activities are planned around the individual needs of the children. This area aims to promote children’s communication and language, independence and support them to make their own choices. Emphasis is placed on helping prepare children for the next stage in their learning, including supporting transitions to school. 

Outdoor play

The Early Years Foundation Stage states that children must go outdoors every day. Research shows that that the health and wellbeing of children is enhanced through experiencing high quality outdoor play. Our children have access to self-contained outdoor play areas every day, providing them with the freedom to play and learn in a safe, exciting and stimulating environment.

Intent, Our day at Ladybird Nursery

At Ladybird Nursery we focus on the individual needs and interests of all our children.  We follow the curiosity approach to learning and create an environment based on children's interests which promotes awe and wonder, and so that each child is able to develop at their own rate. We understand that, when children know what to expect, how to behave and follow a simple but familiar rhythm during their time with us, it creates a secure environment.

Children playing out doorsWe encourage and enable children to develop, explore, learn and create in a way that is right for them. Getting to know each child individually is a priority for our nursery nurses and carers and playing with them ensures every child is fully engaged in an activity. Focusing on learning through play, we gently encourage children to extend their skills and expertise. Each child is allocated a Key Person who ensures their individual needs are met.

We understand how important outdoor play is for children’s health and wellbeing, and we have three outdoor areas that give children to access a wide range of activities on a daily basis, regardless of the weather!


We always encourage information sharing between our nursery nurses and carers and our parents/carers. We appreciate that dropping-off time is an important time for sharing any additional information about our children to help us plan their day appropriately. This might include how well a child has slept, whether they are unsettled for any reason or have a new toy they are particularly excited about. 

Mid-morning snack

During the morning we serve milk or water and a healthy snack and we make every effort to ensure this is a sociable time for the children, understanding how important this aspect of their social development is. We encourage children's independence and, when they are ready, they help by pouring their own drinks, helping set the table and buttering their own bread or crackers. 

Water is available throughout the day.


Lunch is served around 11.45-12noon. Here at Ladybird we feel it is important to eat in a sociable and enjoyable environment, and our practitioners sit with the children at meal times and eat with them when possible.

Sleep time

Sleep is a very important aspect of young children's routines and a lot of thought goes into ensuring children get the sleep they need, depending on their age. 
We work closely with parents/carers to establish a sleep pattern that fits in, as much as possible, with how you manage your child’s sleep at home. We operate a safe sleep policy that we discuss with parents before your child starts in the nursery. 

There is a designated sleep room in our Jays’ room providing the dark and quiet space that younger children need. Generally, children in our Jays’ and Owls’ rooms tend to sleep once a day, usually after lunch, but we will always be flexible depending on your child’s needs.

Children have their own rest beds and bedding and can sleep when they need to, remaining supervised at all times. Children are free to bring in a special blanket or cuddly toy to comfort them at sleep time.

Afternoon Snack

We serve a light, healthy snack mid-afternoon, in a similar way to the morning.


We serve a light tea at approximately 4pm for children that are staying with us in the afternoon.  This could consist of sandwiches or pittas or, in the winter, macaroni cheese.


We will provide any information about your child’s day, and our nursery staff will pass on important messages and art-work to take home.

The settling-in period

When offered a nursery place, all children are required to have a settling-in period.

We place a great emphasis on this important stage in your child’s time at the nursery and will do our utmost to make this time  as easy as possible for you and your child. 

We fully appreciate that this can be a difficult time so we actively encourage you to make the most of the settling in period to share information, so that you and your child can get to know the staff and familiarise yourself with the environment. We suggest you allow at least a two-week period for settling in. This does not apply to children who require last-minute emergency care in the nursery.

The early years foundation stage (EYFS)

Working together, enabling each child to reach their full potential

The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) sets out the learning and development stages for children as they grow from birth to five years. For those working in the early years - whether in a nursery, pre-school, a childminder or in a reception class in school - the EYFS outlines what they need to do to support your child.

The Early Years of Foundation Learning logo The seven areas of learning are

  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Literacy
  • Communication and language
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

Tapestry Online Learning Journal

We will share a secure online learning account login with you which, during your child’s time at nursery, will be filled with observations, photos and your child’s next step plan linked to their EYFS. We encourage parents to contribute to their children’s online journal. Visit the journal at https://tapestryjournal.com.


All meals provided are age and stage appropriate for your child. Drinking water is available throughout the day and milk and water are provided at snack times. Children are encouraged to bring their own special water cups from home to use in nursery. 

These cups should contain water only.  Research shows that fruit juices and squashes are high in sugar and are bad for children’s health and teeth.

Preparing your child for nursery

Children in coats outside Clothes

We encourage all parents to dress their children in play clothes as most of their time will be spent enjoying messy and sensorial activities such as painting, gloop, water-play, play dough, sand, mud, gardening and similar activities. 

Emergency cover

Emergency cover is available if required and if our staff ratios can accommodate this.

Working together

It is important for both you and your child that you feel confident about the level of care at the Ladybird Nursery. Children are very sensitive to their parents’ feelings and any uncertainties you feel will be noticed by your child and may make it more difficult for you to leave them. 

Part of building-up confidence in the nursery is getting to know the staff so that you can show your child that you have absolute confidence in our staff’s abilities to look after them during the day.

Please feel free to ask lots of questions to familiarise yourself with our routines and let us know about any concerns or worries you may have. The first few weeks, when a child is settling in, are of crucial importance to their happiness in the nursery, and extra care taken before and during this period will minimise difficulties later on. 

Please talk to your key worker about anything that may make it easier for them to meet your child’s needs. For example, your child’s particular likes or dislikes, any ‘family words’, your child’s special comforter and so on. Please mention anything you feel may be relevant. 

Infection prevention and control

Ladybird Nursery maintains high standards of health, hygiene and safety and the co-operation of parents is always essential but is even more important at this time to ensure the health and safety of our children, families and staff.

To ensure the health and safety of our staff, children and their families we have introduced a number of safeguarding measures. We also rely on parents and their families to support us in keeping our nursery safe by following the government and nursery guidelines associated with Covid-19.



Childhood illnesses

  • All children who have suffered one bout of sickness or diarrhoea are excluded from the nursery for a minimum of 48 hours after the last bout
  • Please do not bring your child to the nursery if they are unwell 
  • If your child is unwell while at the nursery, we will contact parents who are expected to arrange collection as soon as possible to protect the other children in our care.

Our rules

Promoting positive behaviour

We promote good manners and behaviour and encourage each child to have a sense of respect for other children and adults in their environment. Staff are positive role models and encourage children to take responsibility for their actions and consequences. Please see our promoting positive behaviour policy for more information.


Please understand that if a child arrives with an injury sustained outside of the nursery it is our duty to ask you about it and record it and to ask you to sign the incident record sheet.

It's our legal duty under the Children Act 1989 to inform Social Services if we suspect a child is being abused in any way, or is at risk.

Mobile phones

Staff are not permitted to bring their phones into any of the childcare areas. Visitors, including parents/carers are not permitted to use mobile phones or cameras in the nursery or the garden areas. If visitors need to make or receive a call on their personal phones, they should go outside the building to do so.


We take complaints very seriously. If you wish to make a complaint please speak with your key person or the manager in the first instance. We have a complaints policy which is available.   

Equal Opportunities Policy

At Ladybird Nursery we treat our families and children equally and respect them as individuals regardless of gender, race or religious background. All staff are encouraged to act as good role models and to have a mutual respect for each other. Their aim is to work together as a team for the benefit of our families and children.

No-smoking policy

Ladybird Nursery is a smoke-free environment. Please ensure that there is no smoking in any areas around the nursery. All visitors are required to follow this policy.

Collecting children

Children can exit the nursery with people whose photographs are attached to their application form. Security is crucial in the nursery and we want you and your child to be safe at all times. We also operate a password system ONLY in an emergency.           


Information about children is confidential and is only discussed with parents and carers. Parents and carers have access to their children’s development records. Ofsted and other childcare and healthcare professionals may also gain access to children’s files if they require them.

Free Early Learning Entitlement for children aged three and over

From the start of the school term after your child’s third birthday they will be entitled to receive universal funding for free nursery care for up to 570 hours per year. We also offer the extended hours (an additional 570 hours per year) for children whose parents meet the relevant criteria. The minimum number of funded hours to be taken per day is one and the maximum number of hours to be taken per day is ten.

The funding received does not cover the cost of children’s meals, so once free entitlement is granted you will be charged for all meals even if your child does not consume them. 

If you do not wish your child to have nursery meals you can bring your child’s packed lunch/tea in. However, please ensure that you give at least 4 weeks’ advance written notice to the nursery to ensure that meals are not ordered.

Tax-Free Childcare

The nursery has signed up to the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. Visit https://www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare to find out how to apply for funding. 

Please contact the nursery office for more information.

Ladybird Nursery Terms and Conditions 

1.    A fee of £60 is required to secure your place for the agreed start date as per the starter’s statement. If you have siblings starting at the same time you will be charged a reduced rate of £30 for the second child. Please note that this fee is non-refundable. The first month’s fees must be paid before the agreed start date. 

2.    A copy of your child’s birth certificate is required for their file. Please bear in mind that we do not issue nursery fee invoices, however a statement will be provided when you start to inform you of your nursery fees.

3.    Payment for contracted sessions must be made to the nursery in advance and are payable for 52 weeks of the year . This includes when your child is sick, on holiday and during bank holidays. 

4.    To assist with continuity of care, children must attend the Nursery for at least two four-hour morning or afternoon sessions per week. These sessions must be over two separate days. Four weeks written notice is required for all nursery session bookings, changes to contracted hours or termination of contract. 

5.    Additional sessions may be booked if available and these need to be paid for by cheque/debit card on the same day. 

6.    This contract will apply for 52 weeks of the year. Ladybird Nursery is unable to accommodate term time only contracts.

7.    Monthly fees are calculated by dividing the weekly cost by 7, multiplying the weekly cost by 52 and dividing by 12.  This averages the cost over the year, taking into account 4 and 5 week months. Fees are usually reviewed on an annual basis and at least 4 weeks advance noticed will be given.

8.    All fees must be paid one month in advance. Employees who are contracted to work for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust will receive the subsidised rate.

9.    Parents working for other NHS organisations including IPP will receive a discount to the private rate. Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust staff, NHS students and parents working for non NHS organisations will be charged at the private rate.

10.    Payment including childcare vouchers must be received by the 10th of the month.  To avoid incurring a late payment fee, all fees must be paid in advance and never in arrears. All fees are rounded up to the nearest penny.   We do not offer any refunds.

11.    All Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust employees must have their Nursery fees deducted from their salary. Please speak to the Finance Administrators to arrange this. Any changes to nursery fees will automatically be deducted from salaries. Parents will receive a statement detailing any changes.

12.    Other parents are required to pay their Nursery fees by debit card. Please note that the Nursery only takes cash up to the value of £10. 
Payments by card can be taken over the phone or in person in the office.  

13.    The fees are inclusive of meals for contracted users, excluding those in receipt of universal and/or extended government funding, but exclude nappies and formula milk/baby food. 

14.    For children who receive free early learning entitlement from the government and require meals the following charges will apply:

Mid and South Essex  NHS Foundation Trust
Breakfast £0.70
Lunch £1.95
Light snack £0.90

Other NHS (including South East Essex PCT and students)
Breakfast £0.90
Lunch £2.20
Light snack £1.10

Private or Bank
Breakfast £1.00
Lunch £2.30
Light snack £1.20

(Prices are usually reviewed annually. Parents are notified by letter of any changes to prices).

15.    Parents/Carers who bring their child/children in earlier or collect later than the hours they have been booked for will be charged at double the standard hourly rate. (Minimum charge one hour). An additional £10 will be issued for all un-notified late collections.

16.    If arrears occur, 10% (minimum £10 charge) will be added on the 10th of the month on a weekly basis. Failure to pay fees on time will affect your nursery place. The parent/carer will be given seven days notice to pay their fees. Failure to meet this deadline will result in a final letter stating if the outstanding fees are not paid within 7 days your contract will be terminated as of the 8th day. The outstanding fees will then be passed onto our Finance Department for recovery. Please note that in the event a parent has 3 occurrences of the above in a twelve month period, your nursery contract will be terminated. 

17.    The terms & conditions also apply to childcare vouchers, which must also be paid to the Nursery by the 10th of the month.

18.    The nursery reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions from time to time. Parents will be given four weeks’ notice.

19.    This agreement may be terminated by either party by giving 4 weeks’ notice in writing.