We want to sow the seeds to ensure each and every child has a lifetime love of learning!
Our aim is to develop children's confidence and curiosity in a happy, fun and nurturing environment. We offer a safe, happy and stimulating pre-school environment, in which children can learn through play and positively develop their social, emotional, physical and intellectual capabilities. Each child is valued and respected as an individual and we believe every child must have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

We understand that children learn best through doing activities they find interesting such as playing rhyming games, storytime, cooking, parading around in dressing up clothes, building castles and singing. We encourage children to ask questions about the world around them, for example, do birds play and what happens to snow when it melts?
The nursery has been running for over 50 years, we're based in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside, we have a fantastic garden and look out onto fields where we go to bug hunt, build dens and climb trees. Inside is a bright welcoming, creative space - from book corners to places to paint, make and cook. There's a maximum of twenty children in any session. Our team is a unique. We employ a highly qualified, nurturing and fun team made up of a Manager, Deputy Manager, Registrar and team of Nursery Assistant/Teaching Assistants who all hold current DBS checks and meet EYFS regulations and child to adult ratios. Our staff continue their professional development through regular supervision sessions which leads to focused training. We're overseen and managed by the Headteacher and Governors of Shiplake CE Primary School. We've been awarded 'Good' by Ofsted and we are waiting for a new inspection to be carried out. Parents are informed if there are any changes to the usual Nursery staff caring for the children. We work to the following ratios: For children aged 2yrs, at least one member of staff for every four children (at least one member of staff holds a full and relevant level 3 childcare qualification, at least half of all other staff hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification) For children aged 3yrs and over, at least one member of staff for every eight children (at least one member of staff holds a full and relevant level 3 childcare qualification, at least half of all other staff hold a full and relevant level 2 childcare qualification)

Our Staff

Holly Ackroyd

Manager, Shiplake Village Nursery

Holly is the mother of two 4 year old twin boys and an experienced early year's practitioner. She's spent over 10 years working with children in a nursery setting and as a nanny. Holly is a big fan of letting the children make as much mess as possible, but equally enjoys' tidy up time'. Holly holds a Foundation Degree in Early Years and a Level 3 Diploma. Holly has completed training in Generalist safeguarding, Designated Safeguarding Lead, Paediatric First Aid, Food Safety Level 2, FGM V3, Prevent Duty and Special Educational Needs Outside of Nursery, Holly is a keen runner, cyclist and reader.

Mel Villa

Deputy Manager

Mel is a hugely experienced practitioner of child led learning. She's played a big part in the lives of children past and present at Shiplake CE Primary School having worked there, mostly with Reception children as a Teaching Assistant for many years. Mel has recently become a grandparent and she and her partner have a total of five children between them. ( Like Holly, Mel is the mother of twin boys who still live at home with her). Mel has an NVQ level 3 in Early Years Care and Education and has completed training in Prevent Duty, Paediatric First Aid, Safeguarding and Children’s Play. Outside of work she's a big fan of upcycling furniture and escapes to visit family in Northern Italy when she is can.

Jessica Assem

Nursery Assistant (QTS)

Jessica joined us in February 2020 after moving here from the USA where she was a Qualified Teacher. Jessica is now working towards attaining her UK equivalent QTS qualification. Jessica is hugley experienced - working in both pre-schools and International schools around the world as well as being a qualified Ashtanga yoga teacher. Jessica is currently making yoga videos to share with both the Nursery and Shiplake Primary School, keeping us all connected during this current difficult time.

Jessica Turner

Nursery Assistant

Jessica has been with us for three years, she's the mother of three school aged children who all went to Shiplake Village Nursery. Jessica has the relevant training in: Safeguarding, FGM, Child Protection, Food Safety Level 2, Prevent Duty and Paediatric 1st aid. She's a big fan of messy play and arts and crafts. Outside of Nursery, Jess loves reading, being outside walking her dog and trying new things like paddle boarding.

Karen Hawkes


Karen has been Registrar since 2016 and also works as a Teaching Assistant at Shiplake CE Primary. She is mother to three school aged children who all attended Shiplake Village Nursery. Karen has completed training in Generalist Safeguarding and Paediatric first aid. When not at Nursery or School Karen enjoys walking her dog, practicing yoga or getting lost in a good book.

  • Ofsted, 2016
    Staff use effective methods, such as skilful questions, to help children think, solve problems, and develop good communication and language skills
    Ofsted, 2016
  • Ofsted, 2016
    Staff provide children with lots of praise and encouragement that help raise children's self-esteem and support their emotional well-being effectively
    Ofsted, 2016
  • Parent
    My son always tells me about the fun activities he's done while here, whether it's baking, digging in the nursery garden, hunting for bugs, or visiting the 'big school' once a week.

Preparing for school
Shiplake Village Nursery is managed by the governing body of Shiplake CofE Primary School. During the Wednesday morning session, the children go with the Nursery staff to Shiplake Primary School, which aids their transition to school when the time arrives. Here, they enjoy meeting the reception year teacher, taking part in activities within the classroom and school hall, and seeing some of the older children to gain a better understanding of the 'big school' experience.

The main focus is on familiarity. Closer to the time, at Nursery, the children will role play with the school uniforms and talk about how they feel about going to school. They will formally meet the reception teacher who will be taking them in September.