Our Staff Team & Key Person System

Staffing & Qualifications

Our Manager is Sarah Shanley holds an NQV Level 5 qualification & Rachael Small is our Deputy who holds an Early Years Professional Status. We are very proud of our professional staff team and consider ourselves to be fortunate to have a dedicated team who are all highly qualified. At woodlands almost all members of staff are of a Level 3 status, with 1 of them holding a BA honours in early years & 1 with a BA open degree. Together they have many years of experience in Early Years Learning establishments.

All staff are fully DBS checked and first aid qualified. Our staff attend regular training sessions in areas such as behaviour management, safeguarding, and risk assessment. All staff names, pictures and qualifications are displayed on the external display board with details of how the staff are deployed. The staff rota is also displayed in the main room again showing staff deployment.

Key Person System

Every Pre-school child has a designated ‘Key person’. Each Key person has special responsibilities for a small number of children and will form a close relationship with both the child and their parents. The Key person will get to know your child individually and will provide the extra reassurance which makes them feel safe and cared for . We value and recognise the importance of the relationship between staff, parents and the children working in partnership together to provide the very best environment for your child. The key person will tailor our curriculum to the unique needs of each child and this is shown in their Individual learning Plan (ILP). The ILP is a careful record of your child’s development and progress and which can be regularly reviewed in discussion with your Key person. It contains records of events and activities of your child’s day by written observations and photographs and can be seen at any time. A transition report is compiled from your childs ILP which is passed onto your childs next school, the ILP is yours to keep when your child leaves the Woodlands.

Bluebirds & Transitioning To School

Around the term after your child's fourth birthday they will be offered a place in our Bluebirds programme where children will come to a classroom hired in Clifton All Saints Academy. Here we provide extended learning opportunities and activities such as rhyming, phonics and early math skills. Although we provide more group activities, children are still able to learn through free play activities with a variety of toys and resources different from preschool. The programme is carefully planned by experienced practitioners who fully understand children's development and how to progress them to be school ready. We focus promoting skills that will help children transition into school such as being able to sit still and concentrate for extended periods of time, or to begin recognise their own name.

Children also have a book bag which is used to take home reading books. Our 'show and tell' time encourages children to bring in items that relate to letters and numbers children are learning each week. Children are also able to have lunch in the school hall, either a cooked meal or packed lunch. This helps children to familiarise themselves with the environment, routines and noises.

Bluebirds is a brilliant way of preparing children for the transition to school. We invite teachers into Bluebirds and Woodlands to meet their new students, and attend the school concerts and other events to let the children become prepared for school. Children become use to the school environment and begin to engage in learning that will continue into reception class.

Each year we invite parents in for a presentation on how to help their children to become school ready. Our Deputy, supported by the Bluebirds team discuss with parents the Central Beds 16 ticks 'Is your child ready to learn?', offering advice and ideas. This is always well turned out and parents have found the evening useful and informative, commenting that it has helped put their minds at ease and now know what to expect.


1) I did attend the school readiness talk and found it helpful. It was useful to know how able and independent my child should be by the time he begins school. The tips and hints from personal experience of the staff were great too.

2) I did attend and found the information interesting, knowing things that my child should be doing in order to be ready for school and have me a bit more of an idea of what’s to come.

3) Loved the Bluebirds program- shame it cannot be done for longer in the year as so beneficial but understand the effort and planning that goes in it to make it so successful

4) The Bluebirds program for ... has been brilliant. She can be quite shy in new situations and also get overwhelmed with large groups of children who are older than her, so we have been worried about how she would cope with starting school. We were very lucky that she got a place at Clifton as being at Bluebirds means that she is familiar with the school, has experienced school dinners which is a great idea, and also is happy that she knows what to expect - she can’t wait to start school in September and I genuinely feel that Bluebirds has had a big impact on that.



1) Dear all, my husband and I have really enjoyed reading both this report and the paper copy. It really made us smile. The report paints a picture of a very happy ... at preschool who is open to learning and really embracing the experience. We think he is coming on leaps and bounds in all aspects since starting with you guys and he talks so positively about preschool at home. Thank you for all your hard work with ... and supporting him so well with his potty training.

2) I think communication between staff and parents is outstanding. I feel so comfortable knowing I can contact the setting at anytime and will get a swift response if not immediately. I was so impressed at how well my son's key person knew him, always encouraging his development and continuously supporting him. The staff are always friendly and welcoming and management are always around to discuss anything if needs be.

3) I have been so impressed with all the staff even from our first visit they have been so warm and friendly. ... has built a lovely relationship with her keyworker but also with a lot of other staff members too. I was always comfortable leaving her in their care and feel like they genuinely care for all the children. She has made great progress in her year at woodlands, and always been happy to be there, so massive thank you to all staff.

4) Yes all methods were explained well and theobservation and development process is reinforced with evidence via e-mail/hard copy which is wonderful to read as a parent and is very reassuring. I didrespond to the focus week e-mail and found it a great way to communicatesignificant events happening at home in my child's life.


E Lines (Reception Class Teacher, Clifton All Saints academy

“The Woodlands preschool has fully prepared the children in our provision for school life. The staff within the setting were proactive and forthcoming in developing positive transition systems with myself and the rest of the EYFS team. The children visited the setting on various occasions for a variety of reasons. The first visit the children make is to watch the Christmas performance. This is a short visit to simply introduce the idea of 'school' to them. Bluebird's session begin in the spring term for the oldest children and as the year progresses further the remainder of the children attend the sessions. Bluebirds greatly enhance the children's ability to settle into school life. The children are given slightly more structure to their morning and this helps them respond to adult led activities better in school. The staff from both settings work together to arrange a timetable of visits in the summer term. The children greatly benefit from these sessions as they are able to familiarise themselves with the setting and the staff. The EYPP funding has been used well to support those children with their phonics. As a result of the work done in Woodlands and Robins the reading results increased from 72% to 80% of children achieving age related to expectations. In summary the strong links between the two settings ensure that the children are school ready.”

L Needham (Early Years Team Leader and Reception Teacher Raynsford Lower School) 

Testimonial: “We have been collaborating with Woodlands now for the past year.  We have shared ideas about organisation of the pre-school, done some work shadowing, observed and advised on each other's settings and shared best practice with regards to planning.  We feel we have an excellent working relationship which is transparent and reciprocal.  We have benefited from the local pre-school network forum meetings (of which Woodlands is a member), where we have also been able to discuss poignant topics affecting not only us, but all other local pre-schools”. 

E Butterworth (Speech Therapist) 

“I have worked with Woodlands Preschool for the past couple of years, helping to support some of the children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). The staff have always been so welcoming and accommodating, and are always keen to do their best to support the children and their individual needs. I enjoy working with the staff at Woodlands as they have such a creative and child-centred approach to everything they do. They take on board any advice given and often go above and beyond so that the right support can be put in place. They make time to access and organise staff training so that they are able to maintain and develop their knowledge and skills in the area of speech and language.  Woodlands provides a very nurturing and enabling environment for children with SLCN, and I feel very lucky that I get to work with them.”

Special Educational Needs, Looked After Children & Early Years Pupil Premium (eypp)

At Woodlands our aim is to provide a rich, varied environment supporting all children’s learning and development. We offer a secure, safe,happy, child friendly environment where everyone is welcome and included.

We encourage children to take their first steps maximising each individual child’s abilities and talents within the Early Years Foundation Stage.

We see each parent/carer and professional as partners in our team.We promote equal opportunities, removing all barriers for all children,parents, carers and staff. We will not discriminate on the basis of gender,race, culture or disability.

We believe every child is unique and deserves the best possible start in life. We support all children to fulfill their potential enabling them to make a smooth transition to future educational settings.

We do this by:

Providing an accessible building including ramps for wheelchair access and an accessible toilet. We have a hearing loop installed for children and parents with hearing impairments.

All toys and activities are easily accessible at a child friendly level. We provide a visual time table to assist children with the routine in session.

To support children with Englis has an additional language we provide bi lingual books, toys and games in their home culture. We have voice boxes with recorded phrases in their home language and we additionally provide posters in multiple languages. We have safety surfaces both in and outside our setting.

;Our staff team are qualified to a high level & we have three staff specialising in SEND. All staff recently cooperated & worked towards achieving the communication friendly award, We feel passionate about improving all children’s language & literacy skills.We pride ourselves on an outstanding reputation of supporting children with additional needs, working hard to nurture & develop our relationships with SEND families. Staff are always willing to take on additional training as required.

We welcome all families to our setting & encourage everyone to call us to arrange a visit. Thank you.  

The Committee

Woodlands is a charity run preschool overseen by a management committee of volunteer parents. On the committee are the Chair person, the Treasurer, and the Secretary, supported by general committee members. The preschool manager, deputy and finance manager work closely with the committee and meet termly to discuss a variety of subjects including registers, staffing, safeguarding training and other topics that may arise.

All committee members are DBS checked and officially associated with Woodlands via Ofsted. They have all completed online safeguarding training.

;Our annual AGM (annual general meeting) is held each year in October, all parents are invited to attend. Reports are read from the committee members and management. This is an opportunity for current committee members to step down and new members to be nominated.

;If you have any queries or would like to contact the committee directly please email woodlandscommittee@hotmail.com

Times, Prices, Funding And Vouchers

Breakfast club - 8.00am - 9.00am

Early morning drop off - 8.30/8.45am - 9.00am

Preschool morning session - 9.00am - 12.00pm

Preschool afternoon session - 12.10pm - 3.10pm

Afterschool Club - 3.10pm - 4.30/5.00/5.30pm

Please see our Preschool Prospectus in Documents for more information on Woodlands inlcluding prices, funding, childcare vouchers and much more!


Useful contact numbers & emails

Woodlands Preschool - 01462 811486 thewoodlands1@btconnect.com

Woodlands Preschool committee - woodlandscommittee@hotmail.com

All Saints Academy - 01462 628444 school@cliftonallsaintsacademy.co.uk

Shefford & District Children's Center - 0300 300 8112 info@shefforddistrictcc.org.uk