A new purpose-built nursery at the University of St Andrews has been hailed as a key milestone in efforts towards making the university community a more open and diverse place.
The new Roseangle House Nursery, which is situated on the East Sands, offers 44 full-time and part-time places for children of staff, students and local residents, and was given its official opening on Wednesday morning.
Plans for the facility were first revealed by Professor Sally Mapstone at her installation address back in November, and the university principal and vice-chancellor stressed the institution’s first proper nursery was “just a start” – pledging to offer places to children of parents outside the university when it is in a position to do so.
Professor Mapstone said: “During my installation address I set the university the challenge of becoming more clearly inclusive.
“I said that inclusivity is central to how we are, and to how we attract the best and brightest to us, whether students or staff, and to how we keep them here in St Andrews.
“For staff and students with young families, relocating to St Andrews often means moving away from existing support networks.
“That can be a real concern for parents. I was struck by the fact that the university had no nursery facilities of its own readily available.
“As a university, we want parents to be confident about joining us, whether to take up a place as a student or staff member or to further their careers, so we need to ensure that excellent childcare is available.
“The opening of the university nursery is a hugely important milestone on our journey towards becoming a more open and diverse community.”
Professor Mapstone went on to reveal that the university is considering a further nursery in the future.
Ben Stuart, director of residential and business services, said the new nursery will provide a “complete package” on the East Sands with one of the highest scoring providers of childcare.
He added: “Over the past year, we have been working to open the nursery and chose to work with an established partner.
“The nursery will provide care for 44 children from birth to five-years-old Monday to Friday and breakfast, lunch and dinner are all provided by my catering team as part of the cost.”