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Our Staff



Co-Headteachers Sarah Cottle (Designated safeguarding lead for Child Protection)
Helen McHale (Designated safeguarding lead for Child Protection)
Assistant Headteacher Val Thomas (Designated safeguarding lead for Child Protection)
Pre-Nursery Deputies

Caroline White (Designated safeguarding lead for Child Protection)
Sue Ellis

Nursery Nurses/Early Years Practitioner

Caroline White
Sue Ellis
Lu Harrison
Izabela Ljungstrom
Khalisah Khan
Sam Donaldson

Lunch Club Assistant

Lu Harrison
Izabela Ljungstrom

Office Manager Liz Lofts
Finance Officer Sam Donaldson
Additional Resources Coordinator Karen Sorby

Find out more about our teaching staff... 

Helen McHale – Headteacher 

BA Ed (Hons) Early Years with Science Specialism, NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship)

Helen originally trained as a Registered General Nurse. She developed an interest in Early Years Education when her children were young and this led her to re-train as a teacher. Since qualifying in September 1999 she has worked exclusively in the Foundation Stage. She worked at Wessex Primary School as Nursery Team Leader for  5 ½ years before taking up a Deputy Head post at an LA Nursery School in Slough. After gaining her NPQH she became Headteacher of Maidenhead Nursery School in September 2009. Helen is also the Designated Person for Child Protection and the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator.  Helen is deeply committed to Early Years Education and is particularly passionate about maximising the children’s learning potential in the outdoor environment.

Sarah cottle - headteacher

BSc degree in Sociology
PGCE Primary
NPQH ( National Professional Qualification for Headship)

Sarah decided to train as a teacher after gaining her degree and went on to study for a PGCE. Most of her career has been spent in Infant and Primary schools in Hillingdon, Bucks and Berkshire. Sarah has taught all age ranges in the Primary years however fell in love with Early Years after having her own children. Sarah was appointed as Headteacher at Cookham Nursery School in 2010 after gaining her NPQH and later became Co – Headteacher for the Cookham, Maidenhead and The Lawns Federation in May 2012. Sarah is the designated person for safeguarding and SENco. Sarah loves developing the team to grow and be the best that they can be. She is very proud to be leading the Federation with her Co – Headteacher Helen McHale.

  VAL thomas - assistant headteacher

1st Class B’Ed (Hons) Primary Education, NNEB.

Val qualified as a Nursery Nurse in 1983 and then worked on the children’s ward at Wexham Park Hospital for a number of years. In 1992 she went on to qualify as a teacher graduating from Brighton University. Val enjoyed teaching in both KS1 and KS2 prior to specialising in the Early Years in 2000. She worked as a nursery teacher at Wessex Primary School for 12 years, and was the Foundation Stage Manager for 6 years. Val was excited to join the Cookham, Maidenhead and The Lawns Federation in 2012, spending a year as Assistant Headteacher at Maidenhead Nursery School. She then moved to The Lawns Nursery School in 2013, the nursery she attended as a four year old! As well as her role as Assistant Headteacher Val is a designated person for Child Protection. She provides support to other Early Years settings within the RBWM in her role as a Specialist Leader of Education. Val is passionate about Early Years education and outdoor learning. She works alongside the team to ensure that the children are free to learn through play in a stimulating, engaging, hands-on environment.

Caroline White - nursery nurse 

Caroline became interested in Early Years education after her own children attended The Lawns Nursery School and she realised how important learning through play is in a child's develpment.  She has enjoyed working at Stars and The Lawns Pre-Nursery since 2007 training as a Nursery Nurse in a nurturing, stimulation environment. 

 Sue Ellis - Nursery Nurse

Sue has worked in Early Years since 1998.  She joined Stars Pre-Nursery in 2005 and completed her training as a Nursery Nurse.  She also has experience in working with children with special educational needs.  Sue continues to enjoy working in a nurturing environment with the youngest children in The Lawns Pre-Nursery.

 Izabela Ljungstrom - Early years practitioner

Izabela, very early on decided that she wanted to work with young children and chose her education accordingly. Along with a Bachelor’s degree in language and literature in 2005 she obtained a second Bachelor’s degree in Education. Her degree has enabled her to be impactful over many years in her career within the child care profession and has also given her valuable insight into the many aspects of caring for children of different ages. She joined The Lawns Nursery Scool supporting the children at lunch time and in the classroom and applied her knowledge and passion for learning and fun into many more children. Putting the well-being of children has always been her number one priority. Also, her special interest lies in language development in young children.Finding opportunities for learning in everyday situations, and making them applicable and meaningful is something that she really enjoys doing.

 lu harrison - Early Years Practitioner

Lu has worked in Early Years for over 15 years as a Nanny and in early years settings. Having studied child psychology at university level in both England and her native France she has a particular interest in Special Education Needs. Both of Lu’s children have attended both The Lawns Pre-Nursery and the Lawns Nursery School, so she knows how important it is that children receive the best early education possible.