Where it all began…

The Dolphin Pre School and Nursery has been created in what was ‘The Dolphin School’ and opened in August 2011. Whilst retaining its friendly family ethos and child focus it proves to be an exciting, modern progression for the building whilst continuing to offer child care and education.


Located in Raddenstile Lane, The Dolphin is perfectly placed in the centre of everything Exmouth has to offer. Just a short walk to the seafront, with its miles of golden sandy beaches or a quick step to the town centre for a trip to the well-resourced library. The nursery is also very well placed for the local health centre and Hospital should there ever be a need.
Owner Mellissa Bartlett has many years of child care experience, and recently gained her foundation degree in Teaching and Learning with Worcester University. This sits alongside her Level 3 qualification in Children’s care, Learning and Development. Having been a child minder for a number of years, when ‘The Dolphin’ came up for sale it was the perfect premises to enable Mellissa and family to expand. Firmly believing that in order for every child to flourish, they need to be given opportunities to learn, experience and grow in a thriving caring spacious environment. The Dolphin was a very friendly ‘family’ school and this continues at the nursery.
We are registered with Ofsted to care for 58 children ranging in age for 3 months to 5 years. We are open 51 weeks of the year from 7.30 to 18.00, closing for Christmas/New Year and Bank Holidays. We offer hours to suit your needs, charged at either an hourly rate or a full time rate (based on 40 hours). We accept most child care vouchers and offer the Government Early Years Funding for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.


Our aims

Our aim is...
to do our very best at all times in everything we do
to do our utmost to provide the highest possible standards in early childhood care and education, and aim to support the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum
to provide a safe, secure happy environment for the children as well as for staff and families
to ensure equal access to all facilities and activities for all staff, parents and children irrespective of background or additional needs by observing our Equality policy
to provide a supportive and progressive environment where training and personal development needs may be met

How we operate

We have a number of policies and procedures relevant to the safe and successful running of the nursery. A full copy is given to parents once a child starts settling into nursery life. At the same time we produce a parent contract which we ask parents to sign. The contract sets out what we require from parents to support the operation of the nursery.

As part of our registration with OFSTED we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. This exists to support all professionals working within child care. When a child is registered with us, we send out a parents guide, which explains the different parts of it. The framework is also the legislation on which OFSTED inspect us and rate our performance.

In 2014 the framework was revised to make it clearer and easier to use, with more focus on things that matter most. The new framework also has a greater emphasis on the parents/carers role in helping their child develop. To support this we have an ‘About me Book’ which goes home each week. Each Child is allocated a “Key Person” who is responsible for documenting their development and will track each child through the different stages of the framework. This key person will also add photos and observations to the About me Book and any other important śinformation for you. We encourage parents to also use this book not only for notes to your key person but also to add pictures and short notes about the child’s time away from nursery.


We have a notice board in the main hallway which has details and information for parents and also a notice board near the entrance to each of our 3 rooms. We have regular parents’ evenings where parents are offered the chance to chat to members of the team without the normal day to day pressures. We offer a questionnaire which we ask parents to fill in so we can continue to improve our setting.