Apple Orchard Pre-School

Apple Orchard is a popular,  well established split site Pre-School situated in Ilminster town centre.

We cater for children aged 2 to 4 years old. We first opened for children over 30 years ago, where we were known as Sunny Ile and Cygnets.

We are at the heart of our local community and  part of Herne View Church of England Primary School.


Silver Street Campus


Ditton Street Campus

Daily life in pre-school

At Apple Orchard Pre-School we pride ourselves on our understanding of the things that really matter to parents when it comes to childcare. Through the utilisation of our many child care policies and procedures, free settling in sessions for your child, an effective key person system and a key focus on working in partnership with parents at every step, we aim to ensure that your child receives a start second to none.

Our setting believes that care and education are equally important in the experience which we offer children. The routines and activities that make up the day in the setting are provided in ways that:

  •  Help each child to feel that she/he is a valued member of the setting;
  •  Ensure the safety of each child;
  •  Help children to gain from the social experience of being part of a group; and
  •  Provide children with opportunities to learn and help them to value learning.

We offer a safe, nurturing environment in which each individual child is recognised, valued and supported to achieve their potential through meaningful play experiences. Our free-flowing space from indoors to outdoors ensures those children who learn best through active movement can thrive too. Our environment supports the children’s problem-solving skills and nurturing their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.  Outdoor activities contribute to children’s health, their physical development and their knowledge of the world around them. The children have the opportunity and are encouraged, to take part in outdoor child-chosen and adult-led activities, as well as those provided in the indoor playroom

We provide a varied and interactive Curriculum that concentrates on In the Moment Planning which supports development and encourages independence to help children prepare for school. This we achieve through a wide range of equipment and resources, where children’s interests are developed.

Opening times

Apple Orchard Pre-School session charges are based on an Hourly rate of £4.60 per hour.  This will increase in September 2023 to £4.80

Silver Street Campus

Morning Session-8.50am – (11.35am 2.75hrs @ £4.60 per hr = £12.65)

Lunch Club- 11.35am – 12.35pm (1 hr @ £4.60 per hour = £4.60)

Afternoon Session- 12.35pm – (3.20pm 2.75 hrs @ £4.60 per hour = £12.65)

Whole Day -8.50am – 3.20pm (6.5 hrs @ £4.60 per hour = £29.90)

Ditton Street Campus

Morning Session -9am – 11.45am (2.75hrs @ £4.60 per hr = £12.65)

Lunch Club- 11.45am – 12.45pm (1 hr @ £4.60 per hour = £4.60)

Afternoon Session -12.45pm – 3.30pm (2.75 hrs @ £4.60 per hour = £12.65)

Whole Day -9am – 3.30pm (2.5 hrs @ £4.60 per hour =£29.90)

Snack is charged at £5 per term for all children attending the pre-schools.  This will be included in your invoice.

Our Staff

Our staff are childcare professionals holding a variety of recognised childcare qualifications. All our staff ensure that they are dedicated childcare professionals and meet the criteria as expected, hold valid enhanced CRB’s and all are First aid trained

We offer many training opportunities for all staff to ensure they are up to date with all current practices and legislation. All staff must go through a very in-depth induction to ensure all policies and procedures are being adhered to at all times.

Pre-School Leaders and Designated Safeguarding Leads

Cheryl Herrick – Silver Street Campus

Natalie Tucker – Ditton Street Campus

Deputy Pre-School Leaders and SENco’s

Di Dawe – Silver Street Campus (Also Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead)

Sophie Saunders – Ditton Street Campus

Deputy Designated Safegaurding Lead

Naomi Wills – Ditton Street Campus


Alison Horgan

Debbie Cleal

Jo Matthews

Laura Griffin

Sarah Masterman

Kelly Reeves

Pre-School Administrator

Helen Lancaster

Transition to School  

We endeavour to ensure that the transition for your child to the next stage of their education is as smooth as possible. Apple Orchard is part of Herne View Church of England Primary SchoolMost of our children transfer to our Primary School. ​We have excellent relationships with the teachers in the school. The teachers work closely with us to ensure that the curriculum especially in Literacy is a big part of your child’s learning.The children make visits to ‘big school’ during the Summer Term. The Head Teacher, the Reception teachers and Teaching Assistants also come to visit us at Pre-School.  For children who move on to other schools, which are further afield, we will work with staff at these schools to ensure that they are well informed about the child 

 Safeguarding and Promoting Children’s Welfare 

As a Safeguarding setting, the Pre-Schools are committed to ensuring that all the children in our care are safe and happy. This means that we will do everything we can to ensure we provide a safe environment and minimize risk. The staff as well as parents/carers, has a duty to be aware that abuse does occur. We will take appropriate action on any concerns about the welfare of a child.  ​Our Child protection Policy is based on the Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. We also follow the information provided by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board. It is also linked to key commitments of the Early Years Alliance Safeguarding Children Policy. We also have a ‘Whistleblowing Policy’. Please see our Child protection policies for further details  Cheryl Herrick  and Natalie Tucker are the designated members of staff for Safeguarding Children. In their absence the Deputy Designated Person is Di Dawe. and Naomi Wills.

The Community as a Resource 

In order to provide a rich and varied experience for your child, we visit nearby places such as the local shops, the church, the park, the library and the fire station.  Appropriate staffing ratios will be always maintained. Children will wear high-visibility jackets and will hold the ‘walking-rope’ when they are near the roadside We also encourage visitors and volunteers to the Pre-School. We have enjoyed pet visits, musical performances, science and math’s workshops and talks from professionals in different occupations.  ​​

SEN Provision

We aim to provide every child with access to a broad and balanced education. This includes the National Curriculum in line with the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.  Staff members seek to identify the needs of pupils with SEND as early as possible. This is most effectively done by gathering information from parents, education, health and care services and early year’s settings prior to the child’s entry into the school.  We monitor the progress of all pupils in order to aid the identification of pupils with SEND. Continuous monitoring of those pupils with SEND by their keyperson will help to ensure that they are able to reach their full potential. Make appropriate provision to overcome all barriers to learning and ensure pupils with SEND have full access to the Curriculum.

We work with parents to gain a better understanding of their child, and involve them in all stages of their child’s education. We also work with and in support of outside agencies when the pupils’ needs cannot be met by the preschool alone.

Responsibility for the coordination of SEND provision The person responsible for overseeing the provision for children with SEND is Miss Claire Oaten, (Headteacher).  Mrs Abby Coe oversees the Preschool provision. The person co-ordinating the day-to-day provision of education for pupils with SEND is Mrs Diane Dawe and Miss Sophie Saunders (SENCo’s).

Somerset Local offer –

Pre-School Fees and Early Years Funding  

As a registered provider under the government’s Early Years Funding Scheme we receive funding for eligible 3 and 4 year olds.

Please visit ​ further information​

Contact Us

Apple Orchard Pre-School
Herne View Church of England Primary School
Silver Street and Ditton Street Campus
Telephone 01460 52686