Sue Cullingford – Pre-School Leader

I started at Stepping Stones in 2010, I have recently taken over the role of pre-school leader. I have two sons, both of whom attended Stepping Stones. I have a BA in Education Studies and an NVQ Level 3 in Management. I have an Early Years Professional Status Qualification.  I am a qualified First Aider and hold a Food Hygiene Certificate.  I am responsible for Special Education Needs (SENCO) at Stepping Stones.  When Nicky is absent I am responsible for her key Children and any Child Protection issues.

Tracy Short – Deputy Leader

I started at Stepping Stones in 2018 and hold a Btech National Diploma in Childhood studies and am a qualified first aider. I have worked in childcare for over 10 years. I will be manager of SENCO responsibilities also. I have two girls which one attended Stepping Stones before going on to Infant school.

Nicky Sparkes – Pre-School Assistant

I started at Stepping Stones in 2011 and have three girls.  I hold an Early Years Professional Status Qualification.  I am a qualified First Aider and hold a Food Hygiene Certificate.  I am responsible for Child Protection, Health & Safety and Active Play Promotion. I have recently started lecturing part-time at bath college for early years students.

Kirsty Barrow  – Pre-School Assistant

I started at Stepping Stones in 2015 and have a level 3 Childcare Qualification.  I am a qualified First Aider and have a Level 2 in Food Hygiene.  I am responsible for Behaviour management at Stepping Stones, and equal opportunities in the absence of Helen.  I have 2 children, boy and a girl, who both attended Stepping Stones.

Helen Bendle – Pre-School Assistant

I started at Stepping Stones in 2016. I have two children at Secondary School and a son at Oldfield Park Juniors. I have worked in Early Years since 2007 and hold a level 3 qualification. I am responsible for equal opportunities and in the absence of Kirsty, Behaviour Management. I have also taken on 1:1 support for additional needs in recent years and I am working towards a foundation level Theraplay certificate.


Stepping Stones Pre-School is Committee led, run by volunteers elected by parents at an Annual General Meeting. The Committee is a vital part of the Pre-School, responsible for the day-to-day running of the group and all members are actively involved.  They support the Pre-School Leader and Staff in providing a safe, caring and stimulating environment for our children.  The Committee also has a responsibility to communicate the wishes of parents to the Pre-School Leader.  All Offices are subject to DBS clearance (previously CRB check).

The members and roles for 2019-20 are:

Vanessa Locke – Chair

Vanessa is also the committee member responsible for staffing.

Emma Reynolds – Treasurer

Emma is also the committee member responsible for Child Protection

Valerie Pirlot – Secretary

Valerie also the committee member responsible for Registration and Quality.

Sue Cullingford – Staff Committee Member

Please feel free to ask a member of staff to introduce you to the Committee at any time. Parents are always welcome to contact any member of the Committee with any questions, suggestions or problems and are welcome to attend Committee and Fundraising Meetings. One of the main aims of the Committee is fundraising and any new ideas are always welcome.

Stepping Stones Pre-School is an affiliated member of the Pre-School Learning Alliance which provides further information about the importance and role of Pre-School Committees.

Parent Partnership

Parent/Carer Communications

We feel it is very important that Parents/Carers are well informed of our activities.  We write on our noticeboard daily with details of how the time has been spent.  Every term a News Letter is emailed (copies also available at Pre-School) with information about upcoming trips, visits, social and fundraising events for Parents/Carers and general news about developments at the Pre-School.  We also have a News Ticker on the homepage of the website that is updated regularly.

Parent/Carer Helpers

Parents/Carers are really valued by us and your support makes Stepping Stones better.  There is a helper rota on our notice board for Parents/Carers to sign up  to help at Pre-School.  We would be very grateful if you are available to sign up once a term to help out, you may find it really interesting to see how your child spends their time with us, who they play with and what they enjoy.  They will love having you here too!  If you have a special skill, interest, hobby or pet we would love to hear from you.

We also try to include Parents/Carers in any activities, trips and parties we have which is a great way of meeting other Parent/Carers and being involved within the Pre-School community.

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