The Dallington team is made up of a dedicated group of educators, absolutely passionate about encouraging the children in their care to be the best they can.

Proprietor

Abi Hercules

I have the privilege of being the Proprietor of our family-run school which was founded by my mum, with the support of my dad, in 1978. I was in my mum’s class back in 1978, for one year before going on to Francis Holland School, Clarence Gate for secondary education and then on to drama school (LAMDA). I was a jobbing actor for many years and am a musician and singer-songwriter.

I have been involved in our school on and off in one way or another for most of my life; I would paint the walls and organise classrooms as a summer job in the early years of the School’s life, was a Teaching Assistant (in all age groups) between acting jobs in the ’90s, have been the Music Teacher, an Early Years Teacher, resident Songwriter, the Administrator and Bursar – supporting my mum to run our school in every way. Suffice to say, this school runs through my veins!

I am immensely enthused and proud of my role as the guardian of Dallington and its core founding values. I am involved in every aspect of our school, working closely with my Head and our loyal, experienced, outstanding staff to ensure that our unique setting continues to remain at the forefront of progressive, holistic, child-centred and creative educational practice. The best interests of our children are at the centre of every choice we make and everything we say we do, we actually do! We are honest and open and always true to our founding values. That will never change.

Celebrating childhood, allowing our children to discover their passions and flourish in their own time…that’s what we do and we shall continue to do that, unwaveringly, with conviction and passion despite the ever-mounting educational pressures that surround us.

Head; Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

James Griffiths 

My role is Head, which includes a bit of everything. From welcoming our wonderful children and their families to school in the mornings to running assemblies linked to our core values, such as relationships and empathy, to riding a tricycle during a game of imaginative play with our youngest children in our fantastic playground.

My philosophy of learning is that all children (and adults) are naturally curious with the ability to learn continuously. Our role as educators is to provide the space, freedom and autonomy along with the right tools, both physical and emotionaL, to enable learning to flow. This often looks like we are grappling with something difficult or failing several times over, but always feeling safe and supported, knowing that if we are resilient and persevere, we will succeed.

I love Dallington for the strong sense that you belong to something unique and special. We are a small, close-knit family, rich in creativity and compassion. I love how we celebrate individuality and understand that our differences are our strengths.

I play social netball all year round for a mixed team and I also enjoy tennis in the summer. My weekends normally involve a meal out with friends or a visit to the cinema.

Deputy Head and English Coordinator 

Victoria Highfield-Lenartowicz

I’ve been at Dallington for 3 years, and I love the philosophy of teaching here: learning starts and ends with the children. Dallington is such a wholesome environment where creativity and love of learning can flourish without pressure or restraints. Teachers here are trusted to teach in ways they feel best suit their children. I want to instil a love of learning and especially a love of literature in the children I teach. I love those lightbulb moments when children suddenly get what you have been teaching them.

For relaxation I am an avid reader but luckily I have a train commute where I can get a lot of this done.

Reading is a form of escapism for me and helps me switch off and relax at the end of the day. It actually helps my job as English lead as I love Children’s literature and seeing which books will best suit each class.

Office Manager; DDSL

Caroline Jessop

I’ve been at Dallington for 3 years, and every day is different. You need to be open-minded, happy, thoughtful, caring and nurturing, and see everyone as an individual here, and I love the unique nature of Dallington: a truly independent, non-selective, family-run school.

Head of Marketing & Admissions

Philippa Ireton

I’m the Head of Admissions and Marketing and have been working in education for about 20 years. I fell into this world when my children were small and I met a maverick, visionary educator who introduced me to the idea that education could be so  much more than I ever experienced myself at school.

I love working with children and I was drawn to Dallington for its philosophy on education which is very much aligned with how I have come to believe that we all learn. Experiential learning is so important for true enjoyment and for curiosity to be sparked.

The best parts of my day are when I have interactions with the children: they never fail to amuse and impart such clear-eyed points of view.

In my spare time I love to cook and entertain: I also love the outdoors and frequently hike – and when I can – I ski. I  am a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction and I listen to music all the time.

SEND Coordinator

Tina Saedi

I am the SENCo.  Sometimes children need a little helping hand for a short or longer period of time and my role is to help facilitate this.  I work with children, teachers and parents to ensure that every child is getting the most out of their Dallington experience.

Children learn best when they believe in themselves.  I am a firm believer in the power of a growth mindset: I can’t do it…yet!

What I love about Dallington is that we are a close community here and we can really tailor the learning experience to the individuals.

My hobbies have been hijacked by my two young daughters: apparently my favourite things to do these days are finger painting and making garden mud soup ;-)

Year 5&6 Teacher; Mathematics, Science & Computing lead

Sam Mills (Milko)

I’ve been working at Dallington for about 5 years, and it is my mission to make life at school as exciting and enjoyable as possible. Dallington has such a unique and laid-back atmosphere compared to all other schools I’ve worked in, and staff are trusted to do their job. Children are extremely happy here. I want the children to have a real sense of curiosity about the world, and to keep asking questions.

My favourite subject is science, and my interests lie in computer games, science and travelling. I think educational games can be a fantastic teaching tool. I try to relate most of our discussions in the classroom to some kind of scientific thinking.

Year 3&4 Teacher; Humanities lead

Robert Schweier

I was immediately attracted to work at Dallington by the open, welcoming and friendly atmosphere of the school community.The ethos of Dallington School is very similar to Sunnyhill School in south London where I worked for 16 years: another child-centred and creative school curriculum that nurtures the talents of the children.

In my spare time you can find me in our garden (thanks to my parents I have inherited a serious addiction to plants!) and thanks to my upbringing in ‘Heidiland’ – the Bavarian alps – I love anything to do with the outdoors such as hiking, skiing and swimming.

The UK has been my home for 21 years, five of which I spent in beautiful South Wales where I fell in love with the friendliness and unique humour of the Welsh people.

Home now is in Clapham where I live with my partner and our cat, Momo, who is sitting on my lap as I write this! I feel lucky and excited to be part of the amazing Dallington School community and look forward to the future and our journey together.

EYFS Coordinator and Nursery Teacher

Eileen Fletcher

I’m the Early Years Coordinator and teacher.

My Philosophy of Education is that four guiding principles shape practice in early years settings:

1.- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

2.- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

3.- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and / or carers.

4.- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

I have chosen to be an educator at Dallington School as Mogg Hercules was an advocate for a developmental child-centred education that valued childhood and the rights of the child and nurtured creativity and life-long learning in a community based on celebrating childhood and growing lovely adults.

I don’t have much spare time but I enjoy life in all its wondrous complexity and continue to be curious and active.

Year 1 & 2 Teacher

Barney Russel

I’ve been working at Dallington for 8 years, and it’s a delightfully friendly and welcoming school: something I had been looking for in a school for many years before I started here. I want the children to have a sense of enjoyment in coming to school, and feel a sense of pride in their work and a growing confidence in their abilities. I am committed to children’s education and wellbeing. I specialise in the Early Years as I think it is a wonderful opportunity to show children how much fun can be had in learning through play.

I enjoy reading as often as possible and have a great collection of children’s books. I play guitar fairly well and have other musical instruments (melodica, autoharp, tenor saxophone, clarinet, stylophone, Omnichord) that I have used extensively with this age group.

Performing Arts Teacher

Natasha Picard

Hello to you all! I’m so excited to be embarking on a new creative adventure with the wonderful children and families of Dallington. We’ll be singing, jamming, exploring and experimenting together, as we develop music and performance skills. One of my favourite class mottos, learned from a great jazz musician is, “Mistakes are cool”… and I love the fact that expressive arts are about taking risks and being open to the unexpected. When I’m not teaching, you’ll find me doodling at the piano, flicking through picture books in the Tate Modern shop, fantasizing over my next sewing project, or experimenting with new recipes in my home chocolate laboratory (Guess who gets to eat the mistakes?!).

French Teacher

Ramzi Benhajsalam

I have been working as a French teacher at Dallington for almost four years. My teaching philosophy revolves around making learning fun and engaging fro children. During French lessons, I try my best to surprise them with something new every day, using a variety of teaching aids, such as games, recordings, and theatre games.

At Dallington children have the freedom to ask questions in a safe environment, which I believe is essential for their learning. I love working at Dallington because it is a small school where everyone knows each other. It feels like a family and the environment is very conducive to learning.

In my free time I enjoy reading, especially science fiction, but only in French!. I am also an avid traveller and enjoy exploring different cultures and trying new cuisines.

Sports Teacher and Forest School lead

Shane Murphy

My role at Dallington is PE/Sports Coordinator and as a qualified teacher, I sometimes find myself in class covering other teachers. I enjoy working outdoors and love to see children develop their gross motor skills as well as being given the opportunity to develop leadership and social skills.

I love working at Dallington because there is a great sense of togetherness and community. Additionally, I love how the parents of Dallington children are so supportive of what we do and how they continue to help promote and undertake ideas to help progress the school.

In my spare time, I like to visit my nephews, travel abroad and keep fit.

Pastoral Support Mentor; DDSL

Michelle Thomson

I’ve been at Dallington for 12 years, and I love the approach to children’s learning here. I want them to become self confident and grow into well-rounded individuals. You need a lot of empathy and a sense of humour to work at Dallington.

In my free time I love listening to music and trying different cuisines from around the world.

Teaching Assistant 

Janet Pearson 

I’ve been working at Dallington for nearly 20 years. You need flexibility, creativity and above all, enjoy working with children to get the most out working at Dallington. It has a great ethos and we respect the children and give them a voice. I learn something new every day from them and am constantly inspired by their honesty, truthfulness and innocence.

In my free time I love to sew, weave and knit.

Teaching Assistant 

Paula Butler

I’ve been at Dallington for at least 35 years, and what makes it unique is the people who work here. I love working with children and watching them develop in all areas. You need lots of patience, tolerance and understanding, and this helps to instil honesty and happiness in them.

My interests lie in Art and Music and I love to share my knowledge and ideas in these subjects with the children.

Teaching Assistant 

Rabia Khanom

Teaching Assistant 

Sue Kennard

I’ve been an Early years educator and TA for many years.

My educational philosophy is that I believe children should be allowed to make choices and let their curiosity direct their own learning, and that they should be allowed the opportunity to practise skills in a safe and caring environment.

I love Dallington because of the community feeling, the creativity of our children and supportive parents.
In my spare time I like to spend time with my grandchildren and extended family, and going on holiday.

Teaching Assistant 

Wendy McNally

I have  been working at Dallington for many years; I trained as an early years practitioner but  have also worked with other year groups across the school.

I believe all children will learn if they are happy and secure; Dallington gives them the opportunities to express themselves, to celebrate who they are as unique individuals.

What I love about Dallington is the lovely family environment here.

My spare time is taken up with socialising, family time and lots of Rest and Recreation.

Lunchtime Assistant

Frankie Dunford

Lunchtime Assistant

Kim Luck

I’m a lunchtime assistant as well as helping  with the after school clubs.

My philosophy of learning is that all children are unique and have something special that they can bring to their own education. I believe they need to have a stimulating, educational environment,  where they can grow – physically,  mentally, emotionally and socially. It is my desire to create this type of atmosphere where children can meet their full potential,  and help to give them confidence in what they want to do and achieve.

I love Dallington and being with the children and interacting with them.  They are my motivation in getting up each morning! The parents are also supportive at Dallington and they appreciate the work and care that we provide for their children.

I don’t get much spare time because of care commitments to my elderly father,  but when I can, my father and I go out on day trips together.  I also like home decorating; painting & wallpapering. My father has trained me well and now I’m the DIY person at home!

Lunchtime Assistant

Linda McBrien

My educational philosophy is that I believe children should be allowed to make choices and let their curiosity direct their own learning, and that they should be allowed the opportunity to practise skills in a safe and caring environment.

I love Dallington because of the community feeling, the creativity of our children and supportive parents.
In my spare time I like to spend time with my grandchildren and extended family, and going on holiday.

Lunchtime Assistant

Coulla Pavli

I’m a lunchtime assistant and I believe in teaching children with love, patience and kindness.

I love being with children, and I love the way that Dallington is run: we all work as a team.

My hobbies include cooking, walking, dancing and learning new things.

Lunchtime Assistant

Gillian Higham

I’ve been working at Dallington for about 15 years, and what makes it unique are the children. I love working with children and hope that I help to instil good manners in them. You need to be understanding and above all listen to them, and then they give you their best.

Lunchtime Assistant

Toni Dunford

Lunchtime Assistant

Carter Spencer-O´Brien

School Caretaker

Che Luke