Our Staff

Jeff and Deirdre Mickleright

Trained, experienced staff

The owners and operators of Woodpeckers Private Nursery are Jeff and Deirdre Micklewright.

Our staff range in age and experience. Jeff is a trained teacher with many years experience in Primary Schools. In his last school he was Deputy Head before setting up the nursery with Deirdre. Deirdre also has experience in Primary school, as a teaching assistant, and with other staff has a level 4 qualification, as well as starting a Foundation degree.

Our staff have been chosen for their caring personalities and aptitude for working with children. Many of us have also had the experience of raising our own children, and even grandchildren.

Many staff have now completed NVQ level 3 training through West Suffolk College whilst working with us, and others are training at present.

Early Years Teachers

Two valued members of our staff; Emily Porter-Howe and Hannah Castle both hold degrees and are now qualified in the Early Years Professional Status. Their knowledge and training is a huge asset to Woodpeckers Nursery.

The Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) programme is a training programme set up to help practitioners become excellent graduate leaders in the Early Years sector. EYPS is the only professional graduate accreditation for the Early Years workforce, endorsed by government and increasingly recognised as the credential for leading practice in Early Years provision

Special educational needs coordinators

The role of the SENCo is crucial for early years settings in supporting early identification and intervention for children with special educational needs.

The SENCo is responsible for maintaining a setting's recording and documentation process with respect to special educational needs, liaising and working with the parents, securing training for workers and liaising with outside agencies with respect to a child's special educational needs.

We have two dedicated staff who are SENCo trained.

Health, safety & child protection

You can rely on Woodpeckers Nursery to provide day care and after school care in a safe environment.

All staff hold First Aid and Food Hygiene certificates, and undertake child protection training.

All staff and volunteers are checked through the Criminal Records Bureau with enhanced disclosures before being able to work at Woodpeckers.

Students also have a similar check through the college before training with us and are constantly supervised.

Key Practitioners

Every child at Woodpeckers is allocated a Key Practitioner.

Suffolk County Council supports the development of high quality early education in a variety of ways. This includes support, advice and guidance from the area educational teams and comprehensive training programme. A number of practitioners have been identified who have strengths in a particular area, these are called Key practitioners. We use elements of their good practice to share with colleagues.

The Key Practitioner meets the needs of each child in their care and responds sensitively to their feelings, ideas and behaviour. The Key Person will offer security, reassurance and continuity, and they will usually be the one to feed, change and soothe your child. They are in the best position to understand your child's individual needs and to share information with you about your child’s experiences in nursery.

The Key Practitioner will help each of their children to develop relationships with other members of staff and children. They will observe them in their play so that they can plan future opportunities and experiences that best meet their needs and interests.

  • Jeff

    Manager and Proprietor

    Jeff set up Woodpeckers Nursery, with his wife Deirdre in 2001. Jeff holds a teaching certificate and has 27 years experience in schools, the last 7 years as deputy head in a Primary School. Jeff has always loved children and wanted to teach, and has now spent a lifetime doing so. 

    In his spare time Jeff enjoys golf, gardening, time with family and his grandchildren and holidays when possible.  

  • Deirdre

    Manager and Proprietor

    Deirdre set up Woodpeckers, with her husband Jeff in 2001. Before this Deirdre worked in primary schools and has completed her level 3 and 4 in childcare. Deirdre began by setting up and leading the baby room at Woodpeckers, instilling a family, home from home feel to the environment.

    Deirdre enjoys spending time with her family and grandchildren. She loves days at the seaside and walks with her family dogs.

  • Emily

    Deputy Manager, Early Years Teacher and SENCo

    Lead Practitioner in our Butterflies Pre-School Room

    Emily has worked at Woodpeckers since 2010. Emily has previous experience nannying, and working as a TA within a specialist school for children with behavioural and learning difficulties. During her time there Emily completed a BA (Hons) Sociology and Psychology degree and went on to complete her Early years teacher status.

    Emily adds to the 'family' ethos of Woodpeckers by joining her Mother, Deirdre and step-father, Jeff in managing the Nursery. Emily joined the Woodpeckers team due to her passion for teaching. Emily has taken time instilling the principles of the EYFS curriculum through play and setting up a 'home from home' environment to nurture and support children in their development.

    In her spare time Emily enjoys days out and breaks with her husband and children, and fitness classes (when she finds the time!).

  • Lorraine

    Catering Manager

    Lorraine has worked at Woodpeckers since 2015. She enjoys making healthy meals for the children.

    Lorriane is married with two teenage boys and her hobbies include reading and hill walking.

  • Phillipa

    Senior Practitioner in Busy Bees Baby Room

    Phillipa started at Woodpeckers in May 2018, adding to the 'family' ethos of Woodpeckers by joining her mother, Deirdre, her father, Jeff and sister, Emily.

    Phillipa's prior experience with children comes from previously helping at the nursery for our baby sessions and from babysitting her niece and nephew, as well as other children. Phillipa previously studied Graphic Design at University and decided to use her degree within the nursery and through being creative with the children.

    In her spare time, Phillipa enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as going shopping.

  • Andrea Adams - Nursery Practitioner


    Senior Practitioner in the Busy Bees Baby Room

    Andrea has worked at Woodpeckers since 2013 and is based in our Curious Caterpillar Room. Andrea trained in another Private nursery where she completed her NVQ level 2 and 3 in childcare and development. At Woodpeckers Andrea has continued with her professional development completing her SENCo qualification.

    Andrea has always enjoyed looking after her nieces and nephews and comes from a big family. Andrea finds her role at Woodpeckers very rewarding when seeing a child reach their personal goals and being part of their learning experiences. Andrea likes helping children in collaboration with parents.The recognition from parents gives her role real worth.  

    In her spare time Andrea enjoys spending time with her animals and going to horse shows. Andrea has just become a Mummy and looks forward to lots of fun family time with her son.


  • Sophie

    Nursery Practitioner in Busy Bees Baby Room.

    Sophie has worked at Woodpeckers since 2013 and began as a student and now holds her level 2 quaification.

    Sophie loves being around children as she comes from a big family and does babysitting for families in her spare time. 

    Sophie enjoys baking and spending time with her family. 

  • Jessica

    Apprentice in Busy Bees Jessica started at Woodpeckers in 2021 and is incredibly passionate about working with our babies. Jessica has recently undertaken Makaton training specifically for this age group and she encorporates signing into our daily routine.

  • Genna

    Nursery Practitioner in the Busy Bees Room.



  • Zoe

    Lead Practitioner in Curious Caterpillars


    Zoe started at Woodpeckers in August 2019 and holds a level three qualification in childcare. Zoe has previously worked as an elf at Lapland UK, as well as a children's entertainer. Zoe has also worked at several different nurseries which has enabled her to gain lots of valuable childcare experience.

    Zoe decided to work with children because from a young age she has been inspired by her parents who are foster carers. Zoe has seen first hand the impact that they have had towards changing children's lives and putting a smile on their faces. This has motivated Zoe to want to work with children, so that she too can have the same affect on children's lives.

    In her spare time Zoe loves to dance, especially ballet and tap. She also loves spending time with her family and friends and walking her dog Cody.

  • Sarah

    Lead Practitioner in the Curious Caterpillars Room

    Sarah has worked at Woodpeckers since 2005. She holds a level 3 in childcare and education and also completed playworker training when running our afterschool and holiday club.

    Sarah pursued a career in childcare due to the caring and friendly atmosphere. Sarah enjoys fitness and has recently completed her first 10k event. Sarah enjoys running and is now training for a half marathon. In her spare time Sarah enjoys reading books, cycling and running. 

  • Marie

    Senior Practitioner in Curious Caterpillars

    Marie started at Woodpeckers in January 2020, having previously worked here for 12 years, before leaving to have her son. Marie holds a level three qualification in childcare.

    Marie's mum Tina (Senior Practitioner in Bright Butterflies) has worked in childcare for many years and this encouraged Marie to pursue a career in childcare too. Marie loves to provide a happy, caring and stimulating environment and watch children learn, grow and develop. 


  • Daniel

    Nursery Practitioner in Curious Caterpillars. Daniel started with us in 2019 as a work placement student and qualified as a level three practitioner in 2020.

  • Carol

    Senior Practitioner in the Bright Butterflies Preschool Room

    Carol has worked with us at Woodpeckers since 2004. She has an NVQ 2 and has completed a diploma in level 3 childcare. Carol works in childcare because she enjoys working with children and supporting them in their learning and development. 

    In her spare time Carol enjoys gardening and zumba.

  • Tia

    Nursery practitioner in Bright Butterflies Room

    Tia has worked at Woodpeckers since September 2018. Tia has alsways wanted to work with children and undertook a work placement with us prior to starting here as an apprentice. This then led to Tia qualifying as a level 3 practitioner and joining our team of staff.

    In her spare time, Tia enjoys reading, puzzles and days out with family.

  • Pat

    Nursery Practitioner in the Bright Butterflies Preschool Room

    Pat started at Woodpeckers in 2017. Pat initially helped in our kitchen preparing the children's meals but her desire to work directly with children, led to her being given the opportunity to work in our pre-school room. Pat finds it incredibly rewarding working with children and helping them learn. 

    In her spare time, Pat enjoys taking her three dogs for a walk and she also likes cross-stitch.

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