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Meet the Staff

'One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is a vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.' Carl Jung

The New Forest Small School is very fortunate to have an outstanding team of both full time and specialist teachers at our school.

Senior Leaders

Nicholas Alp - Co-Founder, Director and Proprietor

Nicholas and Alison founded and developed the New Forest Small School in 1994. Building on a basis of respect and creating a truly child-centred education, Nick and Ali have dedicated the last 30 years to providing the best possible education to our children, where they can learn and grow as whole individuals.


Nick has a 1st Class Honours Degree in European Cultural History. He also holds a Diploma in the Montessori Method of Education with the St. Nicholas Montessori College. He has taught at alternative schools in the U.S. and in Scotland. His passions are music, football, astronomy, science, art, photography, film, history, philosophy and of course, education.


Ali was a qualified Montessori Directress trained with the St Nicholas Montessori College. She taught at schools in Scotland and London since 1990. Her passions were education, vegan ethics and nutrition, the natural world, alternative medicine, arts, crafts and dancing. Sadly, Alison passed in June 2020, but her memory and inspiration live on through the school and everyone who ever met her.

All three of our children attended the school from 3 to 16. Our eldest, Greta now teaches at the school, and our twins, Jude and Asha are currently at university.

Alex James – Headteacher and Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Alex is the Headteacher. He has worked at the school since 2010. He cares deeply about the potential offered by alternative education, particularly in terms of personal, social and environmental transformation.


Alex lives in Lyndhurst with his wife Clair and their children Mala and Ilya (who both attend the Small School). He is also proud step-parent to George and Emily, who both attended the school. 


In his spare time Alex enjoys being in nature, playing tennis, cooking and meditation. 

Lorraine Brown - Deputy Headteacher, English & History Teacher and Pastoral Lead

Lorraine supports children in school with their pastoral needs. She teaches English Language to all pupils from Middle Primary to Middle Secondary. She also teaches English Literature and History in the Lower Secondary. Lorraine started teaching in The London Borough of Redbridge, with a degree in Education from Birmingham University, in the 1980s. She became Head of Lower School English in a secondary school but then transferred to primary teaching to widen her experience of different age groups and approaches to learning.  She is particularly dedicated to the ideas around metacognition and her teaching reflects her commitment to the importance of an individual’s awareness of self and how one’s attitudes towards self can affect motivation in learning. She is also a fully trained counsellor accredited through BACAP with The National Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling.

She believes that ‘Life’ can be a journey of continued excitement and joy if one is prepared to look outwards with interest and enquiry about the world we live in.

Karolina Hudson – Head of Kindergarten & SENCo

Karolina is Head of Kindergarten and is also one of our yoga teachers.  She is also the school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).  Karolina is a qualified teacher with a Masters Degree in English & Literature.


She is a busy mum of 3 children, 2 of which have attended NFSS.  She is passionate about child led learning and teaching and she loves working with the youngest members of our school community. 


Her hobbies include healthy eating, travelling, diving and yoga. Karolina also travels widely with her family; 2019 brought a jungle expedition and diving in Malaysia and she has just spent the summer holidays travelling around Europe by train.

Caroline Bright – School Administrator, Exams and Finance Officer

Caroline runs the school reception office and is the School Administrator, Exams and Finance Officer. She enjoys her very busy and demanding role. Caroline deals with all aspects of administration for the school. She also supports teachers, children, parents & any visitors.

Caroline’s daughter Amelia started at the school when she was just 3 yrs old and left in the Summer of 2015 aged 15 after sitting 9 GCSE exams, having achieved excellent results. Amelia has completed her undergraduate degree in Modern History at Kent University.

The Kindergarten Team


Julie Sloane - Kindergarten Teacher

Julie teaches in our Kindergarten and is a qualified Montessori educator.

She views Kindergarten as an extended family for all of the children that attend the setting and enjoys observing the journey to independence for each child that is fully supported within the beautiful space at the school.

Julie is a qualified veterinary nurse and is interested in all aspects of animal welfare and behaviour.

She shares her home with her partner, 2 daughters (both of whom attend the school) and a menagerie of pet! When she’s not studying, Julie loves spending time with her family and is often at Calshot beach, walking in the New Forest or sailing in the Solent and beyond!

Mariangela Clemente Wilks - Kindy Assistant & Yoga Teacher

Mariangela is a teaching assistant in the kindergarten. She has been working as a yoga and mindfulness teacher for children for the past 10 years; her passion is to help the children to find a balance on all levels. She loves being among the children and seeing how they discover a little bit of the world in every single thing they do, and being able to provide guidance through fun activities within a safe environment.


Mariangela is a qualified children’s yoga and mindfulness teacher and has a degree in Information Technology and Data Processing. She has two teenage children of her own, and her hobbies include going on long walks in the New Forest, dancing, travelling (she has just spent the summer travelling with her family around her native Brazil), as well as yoga, meditation and mindfulness. She moved down from London to be near the forest and the sea, which she and all her family love.

Mariangela is currently training to become the school's Emotional Learning Support Assistant (ELSA).

Courtney Gray - Kindy Assistant

Courtney is one of our classroom assistants in Kindergarten. She joined in 2021, after completing her BA hons degree in Music and touring with a band. She has now moved from her career in performing to her new passion of working in Early Years. You will often find her singing with the children and interacting with them through discovery and play. 


Courtney has always loved to be in and around nature. She’s grown up in Southampton, been a scout for over 10 years and is very happy to be at a school that’s centred in the New Forest. Sewing and crafting in general are big passions of Courtney’s and it’s how she likes to spend her time when she is not at school.  

School Teachers

Jean Haddock – Geography 

Jean teaches Geography in our Upper Primary, Secondary and GCSE classes.  Jean has many years of experience in teaching Geography and has travelled extensively throughout the world. She is also a knowledgeable History, Psychology and English Literature teacher.

Jean is passionate in ensuring every child achieves to the maximum of their ability in any subject she teaches because all children have valuable and transferable skills, whilst the holistic approach of each child is explored and considered, as teaching should not be approached in isolation.   


Geography is another passion and wishes to share her deep seated enthusiasm for such a wide and all encompassing subject that affects all our lives.  She is involved in her children's lives and currently 4 grandchildren who live nearby and helping to care for her mother of 91.  Other interests are varying pedagogies, protecting the local area and the planet; being a member of Greenpeace, History, walking the dogs, upcycling, reading, travelling, music and action packed films.

Jerardo Santos – Maths and Science

Jerry is the Maths/Science teacher and the Form Tutor for GCSE class. He also teaches Maths & Science in the Secondary and Upper Primary classes. He has Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and has been teaching in the UK for more than 20 years.

He has also earned The Complete SEN Diploma (Levels 2, 3, and 4) from New Skills Academy, aside from being an AQA Science Examiner GCSE since 2010.

Michael Melrose – Lower Primary Class Teacher

Mike is the class teacher for Lower Primary. He has a Master of Education and a Honours degree in Photography. Mike is an experienced primary and International Baccalaureate teacher who has a passion for teaching and collaborative learning.  


Mike has recently returned to his home in Ringwood with his wife Yineth and French bulldog Paris, after having spent a number of years teaching internationally in Colombia. He is passionate about helping children to develop into inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.  He is also a keen photographer, home cook and sportsman. 

Maria Higuera-Amey - Spanish Teacher

Maria is originally from Venezuela in South America and she is very passionate about languages and cultures. She studied Education at Brighton University  and since then she has been teaching Spanish to all ages and levels in Colleges, Schools as well as tutoring. Having English as her second language Maria can identify herself with students and the challenges they can face learning an additional language.


She really enjoys teaching children, being part of their learning process and their curiosity of discovering new things enriches her teacher’s career. In her spare time Maria enjoys walks in the forest specially when it is warm, family times, dancing and keeping active.

Rosie Poytress - Middle Primary Class Teacher and Upper Primary Maths Teacher

Rosie is our Middle Primary class teacher and teaches Maths in Upper Primary.  Rosie is a qualified teacher with a honours degree in Exercise and Sport Science, Post Graduate Teaching Certificate in PE/Maths and Masters in Education (with a focus on education within an adolescent mental health facility). She has many years experience as a teacher across a range of subjects, including PE, Maths and Enrichment. She has spent most of her teaching with Secondary and upper primary aged children. She has a passion for outdoor learning and active learning opportunities.


In her spare time Rosie is an experienced diver and dive instructor. She loves wild swimming and tries to maintain this throughout the year, even when it’s cold. She has a wealth of sports instructing qualifications in diverse sports including swimming, gymnastics and trampolining.


Rosie likes getting to know each child and what sparks their passion and love of learning. She believes that we can all learn from each other (even teachers) and their individual experiences. 


Rosie lives in Romsey and is a mum to 2 children. She spends most of her spare time adventuring with them, mainly on the beach and in the forest. 

Sarah Collins – Music

Sarah set up the music department and GCSE Music course in 2010 – when she arrived with her daughter Ella, who took her GCSEs at the school in 2015. She studied at The City University, London (with instrumental lessons at The Guildhall School) and at Sussex University, for her MA in Composition. An accomplished pianist, she also loves singing, and as well as teaching across the whole school. She has recently started the New Forest Small School Choir – for all pupils from Upper Primary upwards as well as parents and staff. She writes music for the summer performances and organises the Christmas celebration concert. She also has another identity as DJ Random and DJs at Glastonbury and many other places.

Kate Burgin – Art

Kate teaches Art & Design in the Upper Primary and Secondary classes to GCSE. She has a Certificate of Education and a 1st Class Degree in Three Dimensional Ceramic Design. Kate has almost 20 years experience teaching Art and has taught in several local colleges. She enjoys spending time with her girls, cooking, swimming, walking and visiting galleries.

Greta Alp - History, Psychology and PSHE/RSE Teacher and Deputy Desingated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL).

Greta teaches History, Psychology, and English Literature in Secondary, as well as PSHE across the school. Greta attended the school for her own education and so has grown with its ethos from the very beginning. She has a degree in Creative Writing and the Philosophy of Education and has worked with children of all ages for 9 years. Greta has a particular passion for History and believes in the importance of children understanding the history of the world to better make sense of their current one! Greta is also a keen writer and in her limited free time (when her toddler allows it!) she writes novels. 

Graham Moores – P.E.

Graham is Head of PE at our school. He has a passion for sport especially football, have represented the County in football and played to a semi-professional level. He has completed UEFA B Coaching Licence, Youth Coaching Modules and is a qualified First Aider for sports injuries. He has managed and coached numerous football teams, but particularly within women’s and girl’s football.  His 2 claims to fame are coaching Fay White (previous Arsenal and England’s Ladies Captain) and putting his signature to the inauguration document of the Women’s National Football League. He has coached football and PE in various schools throughout the region and county, and is currently Chairman & Treasurer and founding member of the New Forest Girls Football League. He is also a Chartered Management Accountant and holds a degree in Accounting and Finance, managing his own Accountancy business.

Other Staff

Amelia Payne

Amelia works as a classroom assistant across several of the secondary years. She started attending the school at the age of three and left at 15 after sitting her GCSEs. She recently returned to work at the school after completing her undergraduate degree in History and her masters degree in Modern History both at The University of Kent. Outside of work she enjoys live music, art and history (obviously!). 

Sarah Lumber

Sarah is a 1:1 Learning Support Assistant for a pupil in GCSE class.  She is currently running an individual programme  for her student.  

Veronika Westerman

Veronika is an experienced LSA who works with Upper Primary class. 

Sally Rowe

Sally works as an LSA in Secondary Class as well as running a business outside of school teaching  cookery skills to children and adults.


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