Childcare review

The University is committed to providing childcare services and is currently undertaking a review to see how best this can be done in the future.  It is hoped the review and any future activities will ensure that there is a consistent childcare provision for staff and students at the Exeter and Cornwall campuses and that high quality, accessible facilities are available.

June 2015 update


Following comprehensive research and consultation with students, staff and other parents/carers in the Falmouth and Penryn area, the Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus) Board have approved the development of a new nursery to be built at the Penryn Campus.

The Board agreed with the recommendation from the Childcare Review Steering Group at its January meeting that the most effective way of meeting future demand for childcare, is to build a new 54-place setting at the Penryn Campus, and retain the Woodlane Day Nursery in Falmouth.

The FX Plus Estates team will be working with preferred construction contractor Midas, to submit the planning application in addition to a new highly sustainable Sports Centre on campus. FX Plus will operate this new nursery facility alongside the Falmouth Woodlane Nursery.

This new childcare provision also boosts the Athena Swan gender equality agenda; supporting early career researchers through the provision of childcare facilities on campus.

The new facility will benefit students, staff and the local community from September 2016.

Parents/ carers who are interested in putting their child on a waiting list can contact Amanda Cooke, Day Nursery Manager at


As a result of the findings in the Childcare Review, a recommendation is to be made to Council to consider the development of a new Family Centre on the Streatham Campus. This will support the requirement for high quality, accessible childcare provision for staff and students at the Exeter campuses.

Council will consider this in July and a further update will be provided on the outcome of this discussion

February 2015 update

The childcare review has now been completed with a full report going to the Steering Groups for both campuses in December 2014. The Steering Groups have made recommendations based on the detail of the independent report. These have now been taken to the FX Plus Board (Cornwall) and VCEG (Exeter) for consideration. More information will be made available once the outcome of these meetings is confirmed.

September 2014 update

The childcare review is now underway across the Exeter and Cornwall Campuses. As part of this review, an online survey is now taking place for current users of the Exeter Family Centre and for those parents and carers who do not currently use these facilities but may wish to do so in the future. If you do not have current childcare needs but would like to comment on future facilities, please use our feedback form.  The survey is open until 29 September.

Cornwall Focus Groups

We will be running Focus Groups for those who use the Woodlane Nursery in Falmouth and the other parents and carers both in Penryn and Falmouth.

Places are limited, so please sign up to one of the groups below by emailing stating the group you wish to attend, where you are currently based and if you are a current user of Woodlane by Friday 10 October.

  • Wednesday 15 October, Penryn Campus, 13:00 – 14:00
  • Thursday 16 October, Penryn Campus, 13:00 – 14:00
  • Tuesday 21 October, Penryn Campus, 17:30 – 18:30
  • Wednesday 22 October, Penryn Campus, 17:30 – 18:30

We will be running a separate focus group in Truro, dates and times will be confirmed soon.

July 2014 update

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Michelle Hale to conduct the Childcare Review for the Exeter and Cornwall campuses. Michelle is employed as a Senior Project Manager in the Strategic Planning and Change team and for the last year has been working on the Cornwall campuses Strategy and vision. She has extensive project management experience and has worked on a number of high profile projects such as Grand Challenges and Exeter Science Park.

The review will now commence in August with the outline proposals presented in November 2014.

June 2014 update

Since February we have made every effort to procure the services of an independent Early Years consultant to undertake the initial phase of this review, but unfortunately, we have not yet succeeded in attracting a suitable candidate to deliver this highly specialised task.

We apologise for the inevitable delay and are conscious that this exercise is taking longer than was envisaged. We are proactively pursuing other options in order to ensure that the review is commissioned as soon as possible and will keep you informed of progress.

In the meantime, we reaffirm our commitment to this important review and to providing a sustainable model of childcare for the future that delivers high quality and best value for students, staff and our university partners.

Project Sponsors                                         

Phil Atwell, Acting Director of Campus Services, University of Exeter

Niamh Lamond, CEO, Falmouth Exeter Plus      

February 2014 update

We have just entered the recruitment phase, the process where we attempt to recruit an independent consultant who will lead the initial Childcare Review.  We hope to have this phase complete by the end of April, after which the actual project can commence.  Until now we have been focusing on:

  • Scoping the work that the consultant will do, and agreeing the appointment process;
  • Communicating our plans to the various stakeholders including family centre staff, carers, others with an interest in childcare, the Unions, Academic Staff Association, the Guild of Students;
  • Setting out the membership of the steering groups in Exeter and Cornwall, and holding the first meeting of these groups.

Steering groups

The steering group for Exeter includes: Phil Attwell (Chair); Gill Preston (Project Manager); Val Phillips (Family Centre); Phil Rees-Jones (Campus Services); Richard Brazier (Parent Representative); Ian Cook (Athena SWAN Exeter Representative); Emily Lygo (Joint Unions Representative).

The steering group for Cornwall includes: Niamh Lamond (Chair); Gill Preston (Project Manager); Lucy Cox (FXPlus); Amanda Cooke (Woodlane Nursery); Frankie Boyd (FXU VP Welfare); Hannah Partington (Widening Participation Officer); Nicole Steinkruger (HR); Andy Russell (Parent/Athena SWAN Cornwall Representative); Jennie Hosken (Parent/GMB Representative); Carol Kimberley (Cornwall County Early Years); Sahran Higgins (Truro Campus Representative).

The tight timeline about completion of the project by April has now been removed, so that we can ensure that the project is timely, comprehensive and not rushed.

Thank you for your patience, and our next communique will be to tell you how we have got on with our recruitment efforts.

Further information

  • Read the FAQs relating to the Childcare Review
  • Download the Childcare Review Business Case
  • Ask a question or add your comments using the online form.