Somerville College was one of the the first Oxford colleges to offer child-care facilities, thanks to the foresight and originality of the Nobel prize-winning Chemist Dorothy Hodgkin. During her years at Somerville, Hodgkin saw for herself the clear need for women to have childcare provision in order to work unimpeded. Today, Somerville remains one of the few colleges to offer childcare to its academics and postgraduates.

Originally established as a work-place nursery for Somerville students and staff, the St. Paul’s Nursery today offers childcare provision for 16 children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years. Priority is given to members of Somerville – however, we are also open to families who are not connected to the College.

The aim of the Nursery is to promote a positive environment for learning through experimenting, investigating and by example. Children are encouraged to develop at their own pace and we try to build up each child’s confidence and self-esteem. As it is quite a small Nursery, we pride ourselves on our family environment.

St. Paul's Nursery Handbook

Learn more about St. Paul's Nursery


Opening Hours and Ofsted

The Nursery is open from 8.45 am – 5.15 pm, Monday-Friday. It closes for Good Friday, Easter Monday, the May Bank Holidays and for the College’s Christmas closure period.

St. Paul’s Nursery is registered with Ofsted. The last inspection was carried out in February 2019, with an Ofsted rating of Good. The Nursery is also registered to receive funding for the education and care of three- and four-year olds and employs six staff.

St. Paul’s Registration Form

St. Paul’s Nursery Application Form

Prospective parents are welcome to view the Nursery and its facilities by making an appointment. For further information, please email

Read the 2019 Ofsted Report

Read the 2015 Oftsed Report