Pre Prep Staff Clayesmore

Charlotte Townsend, Head of Pre-Prep & Nursery

I chose Clayesmore Pre-Prep for my children before it chose me. I wanted them to be part of a school that believes in the whole individual, where everyone has something valuable to offer, and this is exactly what Clayesmore does so well. It is a school where nurture, well-being and understanding form the heart of everything and, since joining the staff five years ago, I see more of these attributes every day.

School days should be magical ones and this is particularly important in the younger years. These are times when there should be no pressure, days should happy, memorable and life boosting in every way possible.

It is up to us, the teaching staff, to ensure that every moment a child spends in school should be of benefit to them, be it academically, creatively, socially or in relation to their health and wellbeing. Children need to be given wide-ranging opportunities to develop their learning and their understanding of the world and Clayesmore offers many.

After a varied career working with Renaissance frescoes as an Art Conservator, then as a Public Relations consultant, I came into teaching late but it has been by far my greatest move. I specialised in the Early Years and Key Stage One for my PGCE and, as an eternal learner myself, I am now completing my Masters in Professional Learning at Bath Spa University, which helps me to keep abreast of innovation and to dig deeper into the realms of education.

I want to share my enthusiasm and be an inspiration, making sure that those children who are educated under my guidance have the best possible start and gain a true and long lasting love of learning.


Shaula Maitland, Year 2 Form Teacher

After working in a variety of schools before Clayesmore, I truly appreciate what a special place it is. When I first visited the school, I was overwhelmed by the warm, welcoming community and the happiness shown by the children. Now every morning when opening the classroom, with the beautiful view of the Main House, I feel inspired for the day ahead. The children are a delight to teach and no day is ever the same.

As a teacher, the best moments are celebrating achievements in all forms; not only academic, but seeing each child grow as an individual. I feel honoured to watch this journey and truly enjoy all of the magical moments along the way.  

I joined Clayesmore Nursery two years ago and am now embarking on a new adventure in Year 2. Most of my previous teaching experience has been in this year group, so I feel very confident and enthusiastic about the year ahead. I am passionate about providing an exciting and engaging curriculum, where each child is supported to reach their potential. 

I have just moved to a little cottage in Mere and am enjoying the new challenge of home improvements. I love crafting, especially sewing, felting and jewellery making; skills I love to share with the children. I also enjoy the countryside, going on walks with my energetic spaniel Maisey and fishing local lakes in the summer. Exploring different cultures and travelling the world are a huge passion of mine and I often draw on these experiences when teaching. I am always busy looking for another hobby or joining a workshop to learn something new.


Jo Morgan, Classroom Assistant

Some 18 years ago, I was given a tour of Clayesmore as a prospective parent, which seemed a natural progression as the wife of an OC. It was immediately clear from the warmth of the staff and the pupils, coupled with the happy and purposeful atmosphere, that it was the perfect school to which to entrust the care and education of my young children.

Having worked previously as a Learning Support Assistant in a primary school with children with specific learning difficulties, I was delighted to be offered a position at Clayesmore Pre-Prep 13 years ago. I began in Nursery and then settled as Classroom Assistant in Year 2.  I consider my work to be a huge privilege; supporting young children across such a broad curriculum and watching them learn, create and perform with growing confidence and a sense of fun is truly rewarding.

It is wonderful to see so many of our Pre-Prep children make the most of the wealth of opportunities given by Clayesmore, and I am fortunate enough to see them all grow and shine as they progress through the school. Whether through academic achievement, on stage, in concerts, through art exhibitions or on the sports field, I feel a huge sense of pride in feeling I was a very small part of the very beginnings of it all.


Polly Todd, After School Club Manager and Classroom Assistant

I am NVQ3-qualified in supporting teaching and learning in schools and have been a Classroom Assistant at Clayesmore for nine years. Working throughout the Pre-Prep and Prep has given me an opportunity to interact with all ages of children. When the opportunity arose to run the After School Club, I jumped at the chance. Having done it before in another school, I knew it would be right up my street.

I love all things creative and am never happier than when I am indulging in arts and crafts and supporting the children to have a go too. I am a huge fan of stories and will be using any opportunity in my new role to share these with the children. I believe there is nothing better than being able to wind down at the end of a long day, in a comfy beanbag being read to. The children are my top priority and I hope that I can bring them plenty of fun and laughter, and that they will feel relaxed in a friendly and safe environment.

Robyn Howell, Nursery Manager

Supporting children in their Early Years and providing them with open-ended, exciting learning opportunities is a great passion of mine. I feel very lucky to do what I love every single day and watch each child develop and grow.

I first came across Clayesmore Nursery and Pre-Prep on a college placement when I was completing my Level 3 diploma in childcare. I knew straight away what a truly special place it was. When, after finishing college and working in a baby room for two years, the opportunity came up to work at Clayesmore Nursery I jumped at the chance. I have now worked within the Nursery and Pre-Prep department for over five years and have just taken on the role of Nursery Manager.

I am a trained children’s yoga instructor, and to extend my knowledge further I am currently completing a degree in Early Childhood Studies.


Helen Martin, Deputy Nursery Manager

They say ”time flies when you’re having fun.” I can definitely vouch for this! Having been fortunate to set up the Nursery in September 1993, I love my role as Deputy Nursery Manager and feel privileged to work in such a wonderful setting.

I truly believe that providing fun, exciting opportunities is so fundamental to Early Years education, and that’s why there is never two days the same in the Nursery. My role with the children is always varied and can consist of playing games, reading stories, helping in the swimming pool, dressing up as Baby Bear and acting out the Goldilocks story, or performing a dance routine to ‘Let’s get ready to Rumble’. Along with this there is always the need for those important cuddles and laughter. A Parent recently told me that her child couldn’t remember my name and referred to me as ”Nursery Mummy.” I think this says it all, as to why I love my job.


Claire Pitts, Classroom Assistant

Hello I’m Mrs Pitts, or Mrs Pips, as the younger children sometimes call me (which I much prefer!). I have been working as a classroom assistant at Clayesmore Pre-Prep for the past seven years, in Reception and Year 1 classes, and as a one-to-one classroom assistant, too. I am currently Level 3 trained and this year am excited to be working towards my Higher Level Teaching Assistant status.

I have lived in the local area all my life and grew up just down the road in Fontmell Magna. I now live in Shaftesbury with my husband, two teenage children and my Cockapoo Dexter. In my spare time I enjoy walking, Jazzercise, home decorating, knitting and watching crime dramas.

I started out my working life as a physiotherapist but decided to take a career break when my children were small, and never went back. My journey into education started when I became a part-time ‘dinner lady’ at my children’s primary school. Later I was asked to cover teaching assistant sick leave, eventually becoming a one-to-one assistant, as well as supporting children who had English as a second language. It was following this that I was offered a job at Clayesmore and I have never looked back. Both my children have since joined Clayesmore too, as I could see the amazing opportunities that the school could provide for them. My daughter has just left after completing her A Levels and my son, who has been here since Year 7, is now starting in Year 12.

I really enjoy working with young children, it’s fascinating, unpredictable, never dull, very amusing, often frustrating, totally exhausting, but above all else incredibly rewarding. It is a privilege to see them experience new things and grow as little individuals, and their thirst for knowledge and boundless energy is infectious. My job is amazing; during a typical working day I get to draw and paint, make up stories, dress up, sing and dance, and explore in the woods. I am a big child at heart so what could be more perfect?