Frequently asked questions

AMBASSADORS
Spread the word and we'll give you free childcare in exchange - take some flyers, write your name on them and go out about your daily life. We'll credit you one free childcare hour for every member you introduce. Talk to parents at baby and toddler groups, at dinner parties, in the bus queue - if you use us you'll know how good Officrèche is and word of mouth is our best marketing...
Are meals for the children provided by the nursery?
Snacks and babywipes are provided by the nursery - but meals and nappies must be brought in by the parents.
Can I cancel my sessions if my child is unwell or our plans change, without incurring a charge?
As long as you cancel your booking up to 48 hours before the start of the session the hours will be credited back to your Officrèche account.
Can I get a financial refund for my unused hours if my child no longer attends Officrèche?
Our policy is not to refund cash for childcare hours purchased. We hope that ex Officreche members might come back for some Brighton shopping or with a younger sibling - leftover hours can always be used for such eventualities.
Can I pop downstairs and see my child at any time?
Yes – particularly if you are breastfeeding! Although the nursery staff do have discretion over what is disrupting to a child’s settling and routine.
Can I use Officrèche for flexible childcare alone without paying for the use of the office space?
Yes - this works out between £7 and £8.50/hour depending on whether you use 'pay as you go' or a subscription for your hours. These hours must be booked online and be paid for in advance.
Can I use Officrèche less flexibly if I want regular nursery hours for my child/children each week with no office facilities?
Officrèche's vision is to enable parents to balance their work and family life and feel good about it. If regular nursery hours per week for their children is what is needed then we'll do our very best to provide this - please give us a call to discuss the options.
Do the parent-carers form part of the childcare ratios?
On the whole we do not rely on the parent-carers to fulfill our Ofsted childcare ratio requirements – apart from over the lunch period. The parent-carers will only be allowed to volunteer when they have passed a CRB check and an induction course run by our nursery management team. Even then, they will only care for children under the eyes of the qualified nursery staff. For practical reasons parent-carers will be assigned to a separate room from their own children.
Do you accept childcare vouchers?
Yes we do. Please contact the management team to let us know the name of your childcare voucher provider. If we're not registered with them yet, we will do so as soon as possible.
Does Officrèche provide Early Years Free Entitlement?
Officrèche can offer the EYFE in three ways: • Fixed – free 3 hour sessions with an option to extend at an additional cost • Flexible – with a top up fee. • A combination of fixed and flexible
How does the nursery handle settling a child in?
Our strategy varies according to individual needs. Parents are asked to come in and spend at least a couple of hour-long sessions with their child in the nursery space before leaving them to go to the office space.
How many children are you registered for?
We are registered with Ofsted for 36 children at any one time. The baby room has a capacity of 8 children, the Green Room 10 and the Yellow Room 16. However, because of our flexible nature, it is rare that we are up to full capacity in every room.
How many staff are there at the nursery?
10 - the manager, deputy manager and 8 Early Years Practitioners. The manager or deputy manager are in the setting during all opening hours, including the lunch period. There are three EY practitioners based in the Yellow room (ages 2.5-4) and a one to one support worker, two in the Green Room (18 months to 2.5 years) and two in the Baby (age 0-18 months) as well parent-carers and students.
How secure is the nursery?
All doors are manned by nursery staff – any non-member visitors will be accompanied by nursery staff or escorted by members through to the office space.
Is the nursery Ofsted registered and does it follow the EYFS?
Yes – we were rated 'Outstanding' by Osfted 2011-12, presently we are rated Good. Our registration reference is EY425867 - and our staff are extremely well qualified. We have three level 3 level three staff, we are helping two towards this level and the other five are Level 5 or above or working towards it or a degree. http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/EY425867.
Is there a routine for the children despite the flexibility of the childcare hours offered?
Our nursery staff are particularly focused on providing structure and consistency for the children no matter when they arrive. Each childcare room has a sleeping area to accommodate children’s differing routines and there are rolling snacks on offer.
What are your opening hours?
08.00 – 18.00 Monday to Friday. We’re not open on bank holidays.
Are there private spaces available for a phone call or meeting?
Yes - there are window seats and plenty of nooks and crannies to tuck yourself away for a private conversation – and the meeting room is available for hire for £10/hour.
Can I bring visitors into Officrèche for a meeting?
Non-member visitors can be invited to use the meeting room by a member but their children cannot be accommodated in the nursery unless there are particular arrangements in place. All visitors must be escorted through the premises by members or staff.
Can I use Officrèche for co-working alone, without the use of the nursery for childcare?
We do rent out rooms/desks depending on our membership capacity - call us to discuss your requirements.
Do I have to work in the office space to use the nursery space?
No, we are close enough to the station for you to pop to London or into town for a meeting. And we do have subscriptions available for parents who only want childcare. However, we encourage using the office floors so as to benefit from networking and proximity to your child.
Do I need to pay extra for internet access, printing, scanning etc.?
No - the internet access (wifi and Ethernet), printer (wifi and plugin), scanner and fax are all included in your subscription costs. However, if you are going to use reams of paper to print the first draft of your novel, please bring some in.
Do you have computers available for members to use?
No – we will have a station available if you have to do some printing desperately, but on the whole we expect members to bring their own laptops/Macs.
Is the office space secure?
Only members, nursery staff and their visitors will be in the office space. There are secure lockers big enough for a laptop should you want to pop to a café for lunch.
Is there a café providing lunch in the office space?
No - there are two kitchen areas equipped with fridges, microwaves, washing up facilities – and a Nespresso machine with an honesty box! You are welcome to bring in your own lunch and eat it in the office space. There are also many cafes just minutes away at Seven Dials.
Will I have the same desk every time I use the office space?
There 2 shared tables, 1 desk, a sofa and an easy chair available for 'hot desking', if you have a favourite one, get in and bag it early!
Will there be IT help available?
There are written step-by-step instructions for connecting to WiFi and wireless printer. There are also Ethernet cables available as a back up. The director or the office manager will be in the space daily to help with IT issues- and the other members are also very helpful!
Can I become a parent-carer when I am using Pay As You Go or buying bundles of hours?
No, you can only become a parent-carer when you have an Officrèche or a Flexi-Crèche subscription. We invest a lot of time and energy in training our parent-carers, we want to make sure you are just as committed to our community.
Can I bring more than one child in when I am volunteering as a parent-carer?
Parents-carers can bring more than one child when volunteering but they will only be able to bank hours for one - the other(s) one must use hours from the membership allowance or pay for extra.
Can I look after my own child when I volunteer as a parent-carer?
Parent-carers will be scheduled in to volunteer in a different room to their children.
How do I become a parent-carer?
Parent-carer members can only volunteer in the nursery when they have passed a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check and they have completed a short induction course run by the nursery management staff. This is why it costs more than a simple membership. They then must adhere to the membership criteria – if they break these three times, then they will revert to being a simple member.
Once I am registered as an Officrèche parent-carer can I volunteer whenever I like?
No, volunteer hours are limited - those eligible will be informed of available slots each week.
What are the benefits of being a parent-carer?
For every hour you and your child spend in the nursery with you as a parent-carer, you earn time for yourself and your child to use later. You’ll know your child’s nursery inside out – and you’ll also become part of our team with your photo and bio on the Meet the Team page of our website.
Can I take a subscription holiday?
No, you must pay monthly for your subscription to remain valid – however, your unused hours will remain available for 90 days.
Can I use Officrèche without a subscription, on an hourly rate?
Yes – we do offer pay as you go options for co-working and childcare and flexible childcare alone. However, we encourage continuity and routine to create a caring relationship between the staff and children, so we recommend buying a subscription as soon as you can make a commitment.
Can more than one parent use the office space?
Yes - Each child's subscription can be shared between 2 adult members, whether they are 2 parents, a parent and a grandparent, a parent and an aunt. However - only one adult member can be working in the office space and one child in the nursery space at one time.
How do pay as you go payments work?
Charges will be taken from your credit card online when you checkout the hours in your basket. Your hours will be available as soon as you have completed payment.
How do subscription payments work?
Your initial monthly subscription charge will be debited when you check out your basket, which could be several weeks before the subsription starts, followed by automatic payments each month on the date your subscription started – if your subscription started on the 28th-31st of a month further charges will be debited on 28th. Please note you will not receive any hours until the subscription start date. The subscription payment will come from the same card details you initially inputted. You must have an active, paid subscription at all times to book and use your weekly allocation.
Since I get my subscription hours every week – does that mean that in the longer months I will get more hours for my money?
Technically yes – since Officrèche runs on a weekly basis some months may have five Mondays and therefore you would get five sets of hours that month.
What date will my subscription payment be taken from my bank account?
Your first subscription payment will be taken on the day you buy the subscription, further monthly payments will be taken on the date the subscription starts though obviously not the first month as this will already have been taken. PLEASE NOTE: You will not receive any subscription hours until the subscription start date.
What happens if I buy a 3 month subscription, then have a 3 month gap before I want to buy another?
Officrèche or Flexicrèche membership can work with or without a subscription so you can still remain a member when your subscription expires and use pay as you go hours as required. However, a parent-carer membership may need to be renewed if a CRB check goes out of date.
What if I am late to drop off or pick up my child?
The manager will subtract your subscription hours accordingly since this has an impact on childcare ratios during busy times. Officrèche will allow reasonable leeway either way without penalty.
What if I want more hours of childcare each week?
You can buy more hours on an adhoc basis or take advantage of our bundle of hours deals.
What is the joining fee used for?
The joining fee is a one off contribution to the running costs of our website. The online booking system is bespoke and our developers have been amazing at tweaking it in response to the feedback created by the needs of our families. When we designed it over 5 years ago, very few people had smartphones and nowadays they are ubiquitous so you can imagine we have had to make quite a few changes.......
When can I start using my hours?
If you are buying Pay As You Go hours then they are available as soon as you have paid for them. Subscription hours will become available from the start date of the subscription. If you need to use us immediately but also want a subscription please use a combination of Pay As You Go initially and then subscription hours.
Will my deposit be returned?
Deposits are returnable at the end of a subscription as long as the membership rules have been adhered to. If you are starting a new subscription we will use the same deposit for the new subscription.
Early Years Funding Entitlement
As part of the Government’s commitment to improve early years education, the Local Education Authority (LEA) provides funding for three and four year olds if they attend an Ofsted-registered setting which is eligible to claim the Early Years Funding Entitlement (EYFE) on behalf of the parent. The EYFE covers the LEA school year of 38 weeks however the LEA sets the number of weeks in each term and the amount of funding per session.
EYFE Administration
You will need to complete a Parent Declaration Form, which the nursery will provide. It is mandatory that we receive this form with a copy of the child’s birth certificate on time, so that any adjustments can be made for any children who attend other settings, or who do not wish to receive funding.
EYFE funded hours at Officrèche are from 10am to 1pm or 3pm to 6pm every weekday during term times
If you want to shift your EYFE into a more flexible pattern, please contact us
If my child attends another setting, can I still claim with Officrèche?
Yes, but you need to confirm this on your Parent Declaration Form by telling us the number of sessions you wish to claim from Officrèche and from the other setting, to a maximum of 15 hours a week.
My child will be off during the headcount week, will this affect the funding?
Yes it may affect the claim. If you are away on holiday or your child is off sick we will still make a claim for you but funding is not guaranteed. The LEA requires us to send copies of our registers to prove the children’s attendance at nursery, so it is advisable that you try to ensure that your child attends fully for the week of the headcount.
Should I need to declare this to the Inland Revenue if I claim working family/child tax credits?
It is our understanding that you do need to declare EYFE if you are in receipt of the childcare element of working family/ child tax credits but you should get further clarification from the Inland Revenue. You can contact them on 0845 300 3900 (textphone 0845 300 3909). They are open from 8am – 8pm, seven days a week or online at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk.
The LEA has told me my sessions are free
The ‘free entitlement’ relates to the EYFE funding. The LEA pays for 3 hours per session for a maximum of 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. Officrèche provides a full day care service. This means that sessions are longer and we are open more than the 38 weeks per year. Therefore the cost to you is the nursery fees minus the EYFE funding.
What happens if I do not return my Parent Declaration Form?
If you fail to return your form and proof of your child’s date of birth, the EYFE will be withheld until we receive them. If they are not received by the headcount date, funding will not be claimed for your child.
What happens if my child starts nursery after the headcount date?
Your child must be attending the nursery on the headcount date to qualify for EYFE. This means they must be on our register on that day.
What if I do not want to claim EYFE?
We understand that some parents may not wish to claim EYFE as it can complicate claims with working family tax credit. We do still require you to complete the form and to state that you do not wish to claim. Please make this clear on the form. It is also desirable for you to send a letter to confirm this.
When is my child entitled to Local Education Authority funding?
Your child is normally entitled to the EYFE from the term after their 3rd birthday. For example, if a child becomes 3 years old in February, EYFE starts in the Summer Term.
Why do I need to sign a Parent Declaration Form every term?
Both Officrèche and the LEA require you to sign a parent declaration form for each term you claim. A new form must be completed to enable us to complete the head count form accurately and to allow you the correct amount. The LEA can audit us at any time to ensure that we are awarding you in the correct manner and we need to provide them with documentary evidence. Please be aware that the form is a legal document and that anyone knowingly making a false declaration may be committing an offence and could be liable to prosecution. The information contained on the form is protected under the Data Protection Act.
Why do you need a copy of my child’s birth certificate or passport?
We need to confirm your child’s date of birth falls within the dates of eligibility set by the LEA. This can be a birth certificate or passport. We also need to retain a copy of this for audit purposes.
Why does LEA want us to claim EYFE in hours?
LEAs collect the children’s time in hours rather than sessions. At Officrèche you can claim for 15 hours over a maximum of five sessions with no more 6 hours being claimed within one day.
How do I make a booking?