Meet Our Team

​"Staff use their exemplary quality of teaching to build on children's interests and extend their learning continuously. For example, as children enthusiastically explore three-dimensional shapes, they notice that they look different to 'normal' shapes, comparing a cuboid to dice they use in games. Staff extend this even further, introducing complex shape names, such as 'rectangular prism', which children then use independently in their play." - Ofsted 2019

All our staff at The Acorns Nursery and Forest School meet the guidelines set by Ofsted and are constantly upgrading their qualifications. Janet Irwin, Ann Butcher and Christina Franks are also trained SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators.)

Janet Irwin

Janet qualified as a teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge, studied psychology at London University and has been teaching, and offering support and advice to parents ever since. Janet opened The Acorns in 1985 and still enjoys a hands-on role. She was awarded her Early Years Professional Status and MA in education from Brighton University.


Janet has a TEFL Certificate, a qualification for teaching English as a foreign language. She also holds certificates for Paediatric First Aid and Food and Hygiene. She has recently gained a Level 3 qualification in Forest School Leadership.



Janet has a passion for teaching and also for languages. Speaking fluent French, Janet is working on a language project for children. She is the author of the 'At home with French' and 'At Home with Spanish' activity books for children published by Oxford University Press and also the 'Minilingo' range of audio products.

Ann Butcher

Ann Butcher is Deputy Head of The Acorns Nursery and Forest School. She has an NVQ Level 4 in Early Years Care & Education together with her City and Guilds Teaching qualification.


She runs our Westmeston nursery and is responsible for all administration and forward planning. Ann is a natural with young children and loves being hands -on with them. She is an excellent horsewoman and has a love of nature and the outdoors.

Lindfield Setting

Christina Franks

Christina Franks is in charge of our Lindfield nursery.  She has a Higher National Certificate in Childcare and Early Years Education alongside an NNEB qualification. She also has a diploma in leadership and management. 


Christina has a natural empathy with young children and loves interacting, reading and singing with them.

Louise Reay

Louise Reay is a textile graduate and has recently completed her level 3 in childcare. 

Louise enjoys arts and crafts.

She has enjoyed overseeing projects with the children to support the Local Arts Festival. 

Tracy Voller

Tracy joined our team in November 2019.

She is a very experienced practitioner with a level 3 qualification in childcare.

Tracy enjoys small world play with the children and has enjoyed spending time outdoors in both Lindfield and Westmeston.

Hatty Matthews

Hatty, the most recent addition to our Acorns team, is a music graduate from Leeds. She has a background in both SEN music education and music therapy, and also experience in working in the sustainability sector. Hatty is passionate about using music as a tool of communication among the children. She has so far enjoyed bringing music sessions to both the Lindfield and Westmeston setting. Hatty will also be supporting in the marketing and digital communications side of the Nursery.

Jane Skelton

Jane Skelton is a wonderful potter who runs workshops for the children three times a term.

Westmeston Setting

Fiona Tubb 

Fiona Tubb joined our team in 2019.

She has a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and has PGCE qualified teacher status.


An experienced teacher with a passion for outdoor learning.

She is a keen sportsperson and plays hockey.

Hayley Spencer

Hayley Spencer joined our team in April 2019. She is studying for her Level 3 in Early Years Care and Education.

Hayley has a great love of the outdoors and enjoys woodland walks with the children. 

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