What our Staff say about the Company

What our staff say about working for Willow Cottage


We have passionate and dedicated staff some of which have been with us for over a decade.

“I have worked for Willow Cottage for 15 years working at two of our settings. Firstly as a practitioner then as a team leader now a supervisor/dep manager
No two days are the same so this makes coming to work interesting.
I love working with a great team of people. Things involve all the time and it is great being involved in the various changes.
I love seeing the children growing and developing and making relationships with them and their families”.
Julie (Supervisor/deputy Manager)

“Working at Willow Cottage is like being part of a jigsaw puzzle which, when all the pieces are put together, creates a beautiful picture.
I have the privilege of visiting all of our settings and the managers have each built teams of people who collaborate and support one another so that everyone’s gifts and talents can be used and a happy and creative atmosphere is achieved. Each person is valued individually whether they are a Team Leader, an apprentice, a cook or a practitioner. Our directors take a personal interest in the lives of their employees and share in our laughter and our tears and they can be seen doing the lowliest of jobs like cleaning out the drains or planting up the garden”.
Angela (Safer recruitment and admissions)

“I worked at Willow Cottage for 25 years and am now retired. I often pop in to see the children who all used to call me Grandma. My two daughters Julie and Valerie have now taken up this matriarchal position for the children who attend Willow! Extended families are an amazing institution and the children thrive on seeing this traditional form of living. I really enjoyed working in an extended family environment with staff from 17 to 81 as I was whn I retired”.
Beryl G (administration and accounts)

“No job has given me the variety that working with children has. I love being able to come to work, not knowing what to expect and trying to bring as much positivity into children’s lives as possible. One of the most rewarding aspects of this job, is having so many opportunities to smile, with both the children and with colleagues, who share the same passion. I think that working with children has taught me to never take things too seriously and to enjoy the little things in life as much as possible”.
Ben (Team Leader)

“Thank you so much for letting me be part of your amazing Willow Cottage family. I have loved it and with your support and dedication have learnt and grown into the practitioner I always wanted to be”
Nicola S

“I have worked at Willow Cottage for nearly four years, I moved up to Oxfordshire to live with my partner who is in the military, I found it extremely difficult being away from my family in Wales. Whilst at work I felt supported and cared for and it actually felt like we had our own Willow Cottage family. Even to this day we have good working relationships and I think that shows with the care we provide for the children.
I thoroughly love working with children and it is so rewarding to watch them grow and meet their milestones knowing that I’ve had a little part in helping them achieve it”.
Julie W (Supervisor/Deputy Manager)

“I enjoy working at Willow Cottage because as staff we are so cared for and appreciated. The children’s best interests are at the heart and soul of the company. This shows through the methods of observing, planning and care that are expected day to day in all areas. I love the Bletchingdon setting, the large outside space and countryside views make coming to work easy and enjoyable.
I enjoy working at Willow Cottage because:
The outside space at all nurseries is amazing.
The opportunities for training and career progression within the company.
The children are encouraged to learn in a range of different ways.
The team spirit within the nursery.
Being listened to by supervisors and management.
The range of resources we have for the children.
I enjoy working for Willow Cottage because I get the opportunity to grow and my team leader listens to me.
I enjoy working for Willow Cottage because I enjoy having the outdoor space and being able to go outside with the children in all weather.
I enjoy working at Willow Cottage because Claire and Sarah are amazing Team Leaders and I think deal with people in a very positive way”.
Sam H

I have now been working for Willow Cottage nurseries for 7 months. I was initially drawn to Willow Cottage as I liked the idea of working for a family run company. From the first day I joined I felt so welcomed and valued as a member of the team. staff genuinely do care for the children as if they were their own. The nurseries have a really homely family feel to them and are all in
lovely surrounding, making it a pleasure to work in.

I have been working at Willow Cottage for 11 years and they have flown by. It’s the longest time I’ve ever stayed at a job! I first looked into Willow Cottage when my
daughter worked here and she would come home, most evenings, saying what an amazing fun day she had had. She said all the staff were lovelyespecially Lorraine and Magda. She said it was such a special nursery – she had been to quite a few placements at college to compare it to!
Willow is special for me because my whole family at some time have worked here. Now three of us still do! Val and Neil have been good to us all! It has a special atmosphere at Willow, fun but calm, most of the time! I’ve made some good friends with colleagues and families.
I have also received lots of training and I’ve learnt so much from colleagues and also from Ruth my Manager. While I have been here I have qualified in both my NVQ level 2 and 3 in childcare, I have completed my Safeguarding and Prevent training and also Team Leader. Can I also just say I work in an amazing team, who help me every day, especially in searching for my glasses and folder.”

I had just moved to the area and posted my C.V out, Willow Cottage seemed to be warm & friendly when I was shown around Farmoor with Val & Julie.D. I have now worked at Willow for 10 Years and I love working for a nursery with high standards and a good reputation. I feel we all have the best intention for the children in our care and extend that to work very closely with our families. I believe we really do make a difference to family life!

Our apprentices say:

“At Willow Cottage, they gave me a chance to further my career because I loved children and love being able to play and act like a child but have responsibility and be able to make a difference to children’s lives and be a role model for them. Personally, I love this apprenticeship and it has showed me that I can do things that I never thought that I would achieve and I will always be grateful for that.”

“I started my apprenticeship at Willow Cottage in October 2016 and I am now half way through my course. I can easily say I have, and continue to, enjoy every minute of it. The staff were very welcoming and continue to be great. The children are fantastic, it is very rewarding to them new staff skills and see them put those skills into effect. I have found the coursework very enjoyable to complete and I feel I have learnt many new skills.”

“My experience as an apprentice has been exciting and fulfilling. I love the practical aspect and being hands on as well as the written work that gives me further knowledge. All these components combine to build my skills and experience”.

As Founding Director I wanted to put my testimony onto our new website to stand alongside those of my managers, practitioners, cooks and administration team who I feel privileged to work alongside as colleagues and dear friends. Together I know that we make a difference for each other and for the children and their parents that we serve.
I have loved working at Willow Cottage Nurseries for the last 34 years. Our first nursery originally started due to the lack of good quality nursery and playgroup provisions in the area where we lived in the West Midlands. Our three sons were all under 4 years old and I couldn’t find a nursery that was “special” and that provided an excellent “Second to Mum” childcare and an exciting pre-school education for them whilst away from their family home. So with a fellow teacher our first nursery was born to meet that need. I was by this time more and more immersed in and fascinated by nursery education and a child’s amazing learning potential and this has never changed!
I have been blessed with an amazing team of passionate teachers, practitioners, cooks and administration colleagues over the years and really enjoyed my involvement at the nurseries as they have grown. I love the team work, value the friendship of my longstanding staff (past and present) and I especially enjoy the creativity and excitement involved in new projects which improve our nursery provisions and move us into a new level nursery education. I love the fact that our three boys are now providing the third generation succession of a passionate family business in our local community..