Meet the Team

Nursery Owner/Manager-Rachel Knights is the Owner/Manager of Appletree Early Years Ltd. Rachel is a trained primary school teacher who taught in primary schools for over 10 years before opening Appletree. Rachel has a BEd honours degree and gained Early Years Professional Status in 2008.  As well as running the operational side of the nursery Rachel also advises the team of practitioners as they plan for the children’s learning and development. Rachel has a daily presence within the nursery, spending time with the children, getting to know parents and  leading the staff, ensuring that the provision is of the highest quality. Rachel has 3 children and lives in Calne with her husband, Jon who also takes an active role in the running of the Nursery alongside his own consultancy business.

Deputy Manager-Julie Frewin has been working alongside Rachel since the nursery opened back in 2005. Julie is a very experienced practitioner who also has a level 4 management qualification.  She is the setting’s SENCo, and in this capacity supports the staff in idenifying and planning to meet the needs of all the children.  Julie is married with two children and lives in Calne.

 Blossoms Room Leader-Shirley Hegerty has worked at Appletree since 2006.  She has a level 4 childcare qualification and many years experience of working in settings. Shirley leads the pre-school team in the nursery.  Shirley’s caring nature helps to make the children feel settled and happy in pre-school and many children still come back to see her long after they have left the setting!  Shirley is married and lives in Calne. She has 3 children and one grandchild.

Blossom Nursery Nurse – Louise Jefferies has a level 3 qualification and has worked at the nursery since 2008 when she took on a maternity leave post. Louise is very creative and enjoys making displays of the childrens work.  She lives in Chippenham with her partner.


Blossoms Nursery Nurse – Josie Waters started working at Appletree in 2008.  She holds a level 3 qualification.  Josie has a lovely quiet, calm nature and is very popular with the children.  Josie lives in Devizes.


Blossom Nursery Nurse – Lisa King came to Appletree as an apprentice.  She achieved her level 2 and then 3 qualifications in record time.  Lisa often works the tea time session.  She has a lovely way of engaging with the children and a real sense of fun.

Buds Room Leader -Denise Claxton came to the nursery in 2012.  She is currently studying for her foundation degree in early years with the Open University.  Denise leads the toddler room team. Denise’s calm and child centred approach really benefits the children in her room as they learn to play and share with each other. Denise is married and has 3 children.  She lives in Bradenstock.


 Buds Nursery Nurse – Sue Kew has worked in the setting since 2008. She has always worked with the toddler age group. Sue loves to cook with the children and has a laugh that can be heard throughout the nursery!  Sue holds a level 3 qualifiaction and lives in Calne with her husband and two children.


Buds Nursery Nurse – Carol Thorne joined the team in 2012.  She has many years experience working in settings and holds a level 4 qualifiaction. Carol lives in Lyneham with her husband. she has two grown up sons.

Pips Room Leader-Sam Bullock has worked as the baby room leader since the new building opened in 2007.  Sam has a level 3 qualification and many years experience of caring for the youngest children. She leads the baby room team. Sam has a natural affinity with babies and she is highly regarded by the parents who leave their little bundles in her care.  Sam is married with a young daughter and two step children. She lives in Calne.


Pips Nursery Nurse – Kayleigh Tayler has worked at Appletree since 2007 when the baby room first opened.  She has a level 3 qualification and cares for the babies alongside Sam, Laura and Leisa. She often starts work at 8am so is one of the first faces our babies see in the morning. Kayleigh lives in Devizes with her husband and young son.


Pips Nursery Nurse – Laura Belcher has worked at Appletree since 2006.  She has worked with all age groups but now cares for the babies. Laura has, over the years built up very good relationships with parents at the nursery. She has a level 3 qualification. Laura has two young children and lives in Calne with her husband and two tiny dogs.


Pips Nursery Nurse – Leisa Cox started working at Appletree in 2007. She has a level 3 childcare qualification.  She looks after the babies and is also one of the first faces you will see in the morning at breakfast time. Leisa has 2 children and another on the way.
She lives in Calne with her husband.

Pips Nursery Nurse – Michelle Horne came to Appletree as a parent and then took up a vacancy we had in the baby room.  Michelle is currently on maternity leave with her twin boys. She has 2 other children and lives near Devizes with her husband.