Meet The Team

Miss Hannah Atkinson – BA Hons, Head of Nursery (from September 2022)

I started teaching in Nurseries in Sheffield when I was 18; I then went on to teach abroad in Nepal and returned to the UK to gain my PGCE with QTS at the University of Buckingham.

I joined St James eight years ago as a Teaching Assistant. I was delighted to then be appointed as a Reception Class Teacher, and subsequently Head of Early Years. Since the Nursery opened in 2019, I have built up a strong relationship with the staff and children. I have also seen first-hand what a wonderful environment it is, and I look forward to applying my extensive knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to the day-to-day running of the Nursery when I join formally as Head in September 2022. I love working at St James – its ethos is truly unique and underpins everything the children and teachers do. It is a wonderful happy place filled with joy and smiles. I see every child as an individual and will ensure that each child flourishes within our school environment to achieve their very best potential.


Miss Emma Rutter – BEd (Primary) Acting Head of Nursery, Certificate in Montessori 0 -6 years and 6 – 11 years 

St James is incredibly warm and welcoming, and I am struck by the positive energy and creativity of the teaching body and staff. I feel extremely privileged to work at a school with such a strong and all-encompassing ethos and I am delighted to take up the mantel as Head of Nursery in the Summer Term with Miss Atkinson’s oversight as Head of Early Years.

Teaching is and has always been both a calling and a passion of mine, due to the dynamic, encouraging, and inspiring teachers who taught me as a child.

I have over 15 years’ experience which commenced at an Early Childhood Centre in Canberra, Australia where I nurtured children from six weeks to five years of age. Following this, I taught at a local school in Canberra for three years working in Kindergarten and Year 1. I then moved to London, where I taught Reception, mathematics and history to Years 4, 5 and 6. After this, I transferred to an Independent Montessori School in North London. Throughout my six years there, I taught Reception and Years 1 & 2, whilst also being Head of Reception and Head of Lower School. I have studied Montessori philosophy and curriculum and incorporate it into my teaching practises.


Leila Gard- BA, Nursery Teacher

I have a great passion and love of teaching. This year I will celebrate my fourth year as a teacher, having previously taught at an English kindergarten in Seoul, South Korea and as a primary school French teacher in Brisbane, Australia. 

I believe in a warm, creative approach to teaching that encourages curiosity, builds on individual interests, and supports student wellbeing.  St James does all of this, so I felt very fortunate to begin teaching at St James Nursery in September 2021, and I am looking forward to the terms ahead.