About Us

The Saplings is situated in Martlesham Heath, Ipswich. Formerly St Michael's Pre-School registered as a playgroup in 1993, The Saplings moved into our own spacious premises in July 2011. This has enabled us to offer a range of children's clubs alongside our Pre-School Play Sessions: Breakfast Club, After School Club and Holiday Club. We are open Monday to Friday: 7.30 - 6pm.


The Saplings has a team of experienced and enthusiastic staff led by our manager, Rachel Lockwood.  

The Saplings welcomes fathers, mothers, other relations and carers including child-minders and nannies; people from all cultural, ethnic, religious and social groups and people of all abilities.


As we are a registered charity, we do rely on donations and fundraising. The Saplings also has a dedicated voluntary committee of Parents and a Board of Trustees who provide support to the staff, provide feedback and co-ordinate fundraising.


We are regularly inspected by Ofsted to assess the quality of the Pre-School's provision and we currently have a Good Ofsted Rating. A copy of our latest report is available on the Ofsted website

Our Policies and a copy of The Saplings Prospectus are available to view in the Key Information section of our website.

The Saplings Mission

At The Saplings Pre-School we believe that each individual child should have the opportunity to develop in a safe, inspiring, fun and friendly environment. We aim to provide a happy, warm and supporting environment where children can grow in confidence and independence and learn through play. We appreciate that each child is unique with varying aptitudes and interests and we seek to engage with every child. We aim to provide for parents / carers an affordable, high-quality provision where they can communicate with staff and be assured that their child is safe and well-cared for.

Our setting is committed to safeguarding and promoting the health, safety and welfare of all our children who attend The Saplings. All children have the right to protection.

The Saplings Management Team

Rachel has been with The Saplings since May 2000 and has the following qualifications:
National BTEC Certificate in Nursery Nursing - Level 3, Roles and Responsibilities Level 4, NVQ Level 5 Children's Care Learning & Development
Other certificates and training include:Safeguarding Children, Paediatric First Aid, Food Safety CAF Part 1 & 2, Autism Awareness, Leadership Skills, Maths Outdoors, Coaching in Practice, Prevent Duty General Awareness Training.


Amy Sparrow

Deputy Manager

Amy has been with The Saplings since August 2013 and has the following qualifications:
Level 3/4 Diploma in Childcare, Learning & Development and in August 2015 achieved her Level 5, she is also SENDCO trained.
Other certificates and training include: Safeguarding Children, Paediatric First Aid, Hearing Impairment, Enabling Inclusion, Twos's are Special, Manual Handling.


Rachel Lockwood


Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Lisa Hardwicke

Deputy Manager

Lisa has been with the Saplings since April 2016 and has the following qualifications:
BTEC National Diploma in childhood studies ( Nursery nursing ) level 3, CACHE level 4 NEW in Children's care, learning and development.
Other certificates and training include - level 2 food safety, Paediatric first aid, Safeguarding children, Makaton level 1 and 2, Working together for positive behaviour, level 2 Health and safety in the workplace for childcare practitioners, Work with babies and young children to promote their development and learning, Twos are special, Channel General Awareness module, Including everyone, Observation and assessment level 4 and Working in partnership with parents.