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About Us

Astbury Lane Nursery is part of our group of six nurseries who all share the same vision, educational ethos and approach to working with children and families.

Our strong belief is that we can best meet the needs of parents, children and our team by listening to what they have to say about nursery. You will find many opportunities to tell us what you think and how we can improve right from the start. From the settling in process all the way through to the day your child leaves us, confident, happy and extremely well prepared to start school.

We listen to our team regularly too. Through staff forums, team building events, appraisals, awards and family events as well as having a culture of open dialogue and discussion. We know this promotes a positive attitude to work and ensures everyone shares our vision and helps each other to do the very best they can for all our children and families.

A sound understanding of what young children need to do well in their early years and beyond underpins how we make all decisions about the running of the nursery, from appointing senior managers and teachers to deciding what resources to buy or how best to share information about children’s well-being and development.

Julie Lightley, Owner/Director

Early Years Teacher, BA (Hons) Early Years Studies, currently studying MA Education (Early Years)

My role is very much about facilitating our teams to deliver the best in early years care and education. Working closely with Emma Jones, we are constantly on-hand to support Emma Mainwaring and her team. Being in regular contact and visiting nursery often means I know the many fantastic opportunities Emma provides for our children and can see the close relationships she’s developed with our families at Astbury Lane.

Emma Jones, Operations Director

Early Years Teacher, Post Gradute Certificate of Education, currently studying MA Education (Early Years)

Working closely with Julie, we ensure that Emma has everything she needs to deliver first class childcare in a beautiful learning environment with an outstanding team of practitioners. My teaching and leadership experience means I can provide mentoring and guidance to support Emma to continue to meet all the requirements of her role.

Kate Smithers, Nursery Manager

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

I have over 12 years’ experience working within the early years sector both in New Zealand and the UK and a Degree in Early Childhood Studies. I am the proud Manager of Astbury Lane and love working alongside Lucy ensuring all children, families, and the team feel very much part of the Astbury Lane family. Having been a Nursery Manager for 6 years I am very passionate about ensuring the highest level of care is given to children at all times and making sure the learning environment and adult interactions enable children to enjoy learning.

Lucy Boulton, Assistant Manager

BA (Hons) Childhood and Family Studies, PGCE, QTS

I have a BA (Hons) in Childhood and Family Studies and a PGCE with QTS and Early Years Specialism. I have worked within many nurseries over the past 6 years and am passionate about providing the foundations needed for children to thrive. I am proud to be the Assistant Manager at Astbury Lane and love working alongside Kate and the team to ensure we provide outstanding care and gain strong relationships with all families.

Sharron, Baby Room Supervisor

NNEB Diploma

I have over 20 years experience, working in a variety of settings with children of varying ages and abilities. Much of this time has been spent working with babies and children under the age of 2 years. I have been a baby room supervisor leading a team of four staff and being a good role model for students demonstrating best practice.

I consider myself to be a caring and enthusiastic and I aim to provide all of our babies with a variety of fun and stimulating learning experiences which enables them to learn and develop confidence both indoors and outdoors.

I have attended various training courses over the years and in December 2016 I became a certified infant massage instructor facilitating infant massage to both individuals and small groups of parents, focusing on bonding, attachment and nurturing touch.

Rebecca Blackhurst, Early Years Teacher

BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies

I am the Early Years Teacher for Astbury Lane. My role presents me with endless rewards as I see our children develop and grow. I have a passion for outdoor learning and you will usually find me in the forest area finding bugs with the children or making exotic mud pies. As I have gained experience in childcare, and through my studies, I have developed my knowledge for early years with a focus on Pre-school. This has helped me to tune in to the needs of the children and support the team in planning the best experiences that enable our children to have fun but also engage in lots of learning.

Jacqui, Nursery Practitioner

Level 4 NVQ in Children’s Care, Learning and Development

I have 26 years of experience working in Early Years. Recently I have been lucky enough to work at our two Ofsted outstanding sister nurseries in Alsager (Townhouse) and am now pleased to be part of the team at Astbury Lane. I am very enthusiastic and passionate about my role working with babies to support, nurture and care for them and to build strong and trusting relationships with all of our parents.

Jenny, Nursery Practitioner

Level 4 NVQ in Children’s Care, Learning and Development

I became part of the team at Astbury Lane in April 2016. I have worked in childcare for over 10 years. Recently working with the Townhouse team in Alsager within pre-school I have enjoyed steadily progressing and gaining knowledge from the mentoring systems in place to support my professional development.
Over the years working in childcare I have experience of working with all ages in early years. I especially enjoy working with pre-school. Personally I am very passionate about providing rich learning experiences through play, supporting children to be confident and capable learners.

Lauren, Nursery Practitioner

Level 3 NVQ in Children’s Care, Learning and Development

I am a happy, bubbly Level 3 childcare practitioner with four years experience focused on 0-2’s and 2-3’s. During my career I have gained lots of experience supporting children with additional needs. I am very passionate about supporting children, encouraging them to be the best they can be in a fun and stimulating environment. I look forward to forming lots of strong relationships with all the families I meet.

Claire, Nursery Cook

I joined the team at Astbury Lane in October 2016, having worked in catering for over eight years. I have always been interested in creating dishes from fresh and natural ingredients containing high nutritional values. I am looking forward to working alongside the company’s Meals and Nutrition Co-ordinator, Wendy, to develop my skills and share ideas. I will be focusing on supporting the children in the understanding of healthy eating, and as part of my role I will be involving the children in activities to enable them to gain a better understanding of foods and where they are sourced from.