Staff

The staff at Annan are friendly, welcoming and dedicated to providing the very best for the children in their care.

The nurturing atmosphere created by close relationships with teaching staff mean that children feel happy, secure and confident. Staff respect and listen to children and this helps children learn to respect each other and the adults around them. Small class sizes allow our teaching staff to build wonderful relationships with the children. Teachers encourage children to take responsibility for their behaviour and their high expectations lead children towards positive self-esteem and self-discipline.

Teaching staff model respectful communication and we believe our strong emotional intelligence model means children learn without fear of adults and without the need for a rewards system. Teachers regularly celebrate the effort and work children do in class by positive acknowledgement.
All teachers are well qualified, and many have completed Froebel training and other post graduate courses.

Debby Hunter  Founder and School Principal

I love being Head of Annan School. I have enjoyed seeing the school grow and flourish since founding the school with my husband Mark Hunter in 2001. I started my early teaching career in London where I taught right across the primary age range. I have always loved working with young children and have taken several post-graduate courses in Early Years Education including the Froebel Certificate in Early Years Education and an MA in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Roehampton. I enjoy talking to parents and children and being part of all the creative learning which goes on around the school.

Mark Hunter  Founder and School Director

I completed my teacher training at Froebel College which is now part of the University of Roehampton. I have always believed deeply in Froebelian Education and know that it can make a difference to children’s learning. I am proud of Annan School and am pleased to have the opportunity to provide children with such a rich and inspiring curriculum. I love showing people around the school and spreading good practice more widely. I am delighted to have been recently offered a Fellowship of the Chartered College of Teaching. In this role I hope that I will be able to ensure that Froebelian principles remain at the forefront of national educational debate.

Alastair Leigh  Curriculum & KS2 Lead and Willow Class Teacher

I have been teaching primary age children for many years and consider it to be an absolute privilege to play a part in children’s early development. There are so many aspects of teaching at Annan School that I love. I am particularly passionate about developing children as writers and storytellers. Learning through a strong connection to nature is also close to my heart, but above all the freedom to create learning experiences that harness the natural enthusiasm, curiosity and joy in children is what makes Annan shine!

Amanda Lucy  Head of Infant House and Kindergarten Class Teacher

Early Years is my passion and my area of expertise for over 20 years! I truly believe that embedding a strong, enthusiastic love of learning and valuing children’s agency in the foundation years is of paramount importance for enabling children to be self-motivated, critically thinking lifelong learners. Having a genuine interest in the lives of the children you are teaching, a passion for teaching, an enthusiasm for learning oneself, warmth, openness and a sense of humour, form the basis of what I consider to be the making of an inspirational educator and are ingrained in my practice. The educational philosophy and pedagogy at Annan allow me to teach in this way.

Jeannette Atkins  Elder Class Teacher

I studied at Maria Grey College in West London and started teaching before the National Curriculum was introduced. My training and early career was very Froebelian and concentrated on child-centered approaches to education and teaching topics which were relevant to and exciting for the children. Throughout my career, teaching has undergone many changes and I longed to teach again without the constraints of the National Curriculum.

Emily Bright  Oak Tree Class Teacher

Since qualifying as a teacher in 2001 I have worked in a variety of roles in small primary schools in the local area as well as Forest School toddler groups and playschemes. I have a passion for outdoor learning and I have found the Froebelian Ethos at Annan school fully supports my creative approach to teaching.

Debbie Leahy  Sycamore Class Teacher

I have worked in childcare and education for many years and have always loved being a part of each child’s learning journey. I have taught across key stages, in a variety of settings and what I enjoy most about working at Annan is that the children are given the time and space necessary to make their learning meaningful and secure. There is also a real sense of community where every child is supported and nurtured to enable them to be the best person they can be.

Helen d’Ascoli   Forest School Teacher

I am a primary teacher with a passion for teaching outdoors, especially in woodland, which naturally led me to becoming a forest school leader. I have co-authored a book on forest school which follows the seasons and celebrates our deep connection to nature. This was inspired by teaching forest school at Annan and wanting to share our unique way of learning through nature. Froebel believed that through learning in nature children would ‘understand the true nature of all things, and the basis for an understanding of themselves and their unfolding place in the world’. This is the underlying principle of forest school at Annan.

Ania Ponitka   Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SendCo)

Since qualifying as a teacher in 2008, I have worked in a wide variety of roles in different educational settings and found my true passion for teaching once I delved into supporting children with SEND. I have been awarded The National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination PG Cert from University College London in 2018.  I believe that working with children is the most rewarding career. Friedrich Froebel said: “Children are like tiny flowers: They are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community of peers.” The ethos and values of the school allow me to develop person-centred provisions for our pupils in the most encouraging and fun ways possible.

Rest of the Team

Chantelle IvesTeaching Assistant
Sarah MontgomeryTeaching Assistant
Chryso ChellunTeaching Assistant
Nadine HuxleyTeaching Assistant
Sally CrouchTeaching Assistant
Dee WoodsTeaching Assistant
Paula FisherSchool Secretary
Alex ButlerGuitar teacher
Annie MurrayPiano teacher
Simon LaslettBursar
David CorbinMinibus Driver

“We were impressed by the approachability of staff, their willingness to listen and the seriousness taken to meet each child’s needs.” 

Parent