Why Red Bus?

Some call us ‘the best-kept secret in Bristol’ - a hidden gem for parents in the know! But in reality we have been operating for over a decade and are well established in our local communities.

We are constantly self-reflecting and looking for ways to improve. We listen to feedback from our families, our staff, and follow changes in the Early Years world to make sure we’re consistently providing the best Early Years Education for the children in our care.

Outstanding Ofsted

Both Coombe Dingle and Downend have been graded as ‘Outstanding’ during inspections from OFSTED. Flax Bourton is awaiting an inspection and report.

“The enticing and exceptionally well-organised learning environment, inside and outside, encourages high levels of exploration, imagination and choice.” – Coombe Dingle

“The children are at the heart of everything in this remarkable nursery. They create extremely close bonds with staff, who offer excellent support and warmth. Staff implement a highly ambitious curriculum with passion that cultivates children, who are incredibly curious and excited to learn.” - Downend

Experienced Staff

People are the very heart of Red Bus. They are what make us outstanding!

We have a combination of

  • Early Years Qualified practitioners - up to Level 6 in Early Years Education
  • Assistant Practitioners - unqualified but with a wealth of experience and knowledge
  • And our trainees - who are just starting out in their Early Years career.

What unites them all is passion for what they do, who find joy in building relationships with children and helping them grow and develop. Who work with you as parents, openly and honestly, and uphold the values of Red Bus every day. 

Our staff are taken on a comprehensive training process that never truly stops -  covering essential courses such as First Aid and Child Protection as well as exploring their own interests, from Makaton to Music!

As a company we have over 350 years of cumulative experience in childcare - that's a lot of knowledge to share with our families! 

Families in Partnership

You are your child’s primary caregiver and first teacher. It is vital you feel respected, valued, and involved in your child's journey. By working in partnership not only do our practitioners understand their key children better but children feel more secure and confident in our environment and at home.

We form positive relationships with you before your child even has their first session with us. During your child’s ‘settling in’ sessions you are able to share your child's likes, dislikes, routine and needs with your new Key Person.

At the start of every session, we ask you to update us on how your child has been. In return, we promise a detailed report of your child’s time with us – through both handovers at pick-up time, and through the sharing app ParentZone. We also encourage parents to add their own photographs and observations to ParentZone too, adding to the record of your child’s journey!


You will be given the opportunity to have an in depth conversation about your child's development – both at Red Bus, and at home – and discuss ways to support your child to achieve certain targets.

We also love to have our parents and caregivers visit the setting! We have had dentists, doctors, greengrocers and more - we also welcome families to come in to celebrate any cultural events with the children! 

Safeguarding & Policies

All children have the right to feel safe at nursery, and the safeguarding of your child is the most important responsibility we have. We have a detailed Safeguarding and Child Protection policy, as well as regular training sessions to ensure all staff are confident in their roles and responsibilities.

Our settings use a fob security system. The front door is always locked, and can only be opened by a member of staff or parent with their fob. Only staff are able to open internal doors. We have rigorous security measures in place with regard to your child being collected. We train our staff in the importance of security, encouraging them to feel confident in noticing anything unusual and challenging anything they see. Our environments are deliberately designed open spaces so that everything happening within the setting is visible to others without detracting from a child’s privacy.

Everything we do is underpinned by considered, comprehensive policies and procedures. Our staff are trained to follow these policies from day one, and they are regularly reviewed and updated. Developed from years of experience, you can be assured that your child is safe and secure and has a stimulating journey at Red Bus.  

A full list of our policies can be found within each setting, and specific policies can be requested by contacting your nursery directly.

Our Awards

We hold the Bristol Standard, a nationally recognised framework that supports our journey of continuous improvement. Through self-evaluation and teamwork, we review our current strengths and plan targets for improvement across ten dimensions – with children at the heart of each action taken.

All our kitchens hold a 5* Food Hygiene rating, demonstrating best practice in cleanliness, food handling and safety checks in place. We also hold the Bristol Eating Better and Sugar Smart awards, designed to help schools meet the School Food Standards, increase the availability of healthy food and promote sustainability!

We hold a Level 5 RHS School Gardening award, through our efforts to provide children with opportunities to explore growing outdoors. Gardening has multiple benefits for children – improving physical and mental wellbeing, boosting confidence, and understanding our roles in building a sustainable future. We also hold the Green Tree Gold Award from the Woodland Trust, through various environmental projects such as tree planting and visiting local woodlands.

Your evidence shows that you are an inclusive setting and value all stakeholders in the process of celebrating and informing your values and aims. Throughout the submission we could see how you are committed to reflection and development with clarity and pace. Your values and aims are based on trust and strong relationships and is at heart of your setting. 

- Bristol Standard Confirmation Letter, Coombe Dingle, October 2022

  You should be extremely proud of what you are doing for children in South Gloucestershire and beyond. The word that sprang to mind throughout was simply 'excellent'.
You seem to have really thought about the environment and making sure it is exciting and inviting....You clearly try to consider it from a child's perspective, with displays at child height and interactive and clearly labelled resources that can be easily accessed. It must be a wonderful place for children to attend.

Bristol Standard Confirmation Letter, Downend, March 2023

Awards Food Hygiene Bristol Standard Sugar Smart