About Us - Rosemary Nursery School

Rosemary Nursery School is the oldest nursery school in Bristol and one of fewer than 400 nursery schools in England.

Nursery schools are special because they are inspected in the same way as primary schools and have to meet many of the same standards; for example, having a qualified head teacher, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCO) and other teachers. 

At Rosemary, practitioners who work alongside teachers are also very experienced and highly qualified; several have Masters’ level qualifications in their specialist areas.

National research has proven that nursery schools provide the most effective pre-school education and we are proud of our history and traditions as well as our plans for the future.

Rosemary Nursery School was founded by the Quakers’ Society of Friends. Then, as now, they wanted to work for social justice and the Nursery developed after several years of more informal after school clubs, creches and classes for parents. A suffragist called Mabel Tothill who was also Bristol’s first woman councillor, ran these classes at her home on Rosemary Street and that is where the Nursery got its name.

When Rosemary Street was knocked down, the Nursery moved to Haviland House. When it first opened here, it won an architectural award. The plan was for all housing estates to have a nursery at their centre. What a pity this was not achieved. We are still glad of our unique location in the heart of the community and we ask all visitors to respect our neighbours’ homes.

You are welcome to pick up a booklet that tells you about our history from our Reception office.