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Meet Our People

Our team is the foundation of our success

For the team at Heath Lane, teaching early years is much more than a job. We care deeply about children’s happiness and success. Our classrooms are joyful places to be, where children are engaged and teachers give praise and encouragement. We listen to parents and families, and work together with them to help children achieve their full potential.

Find out more about the qualified, experienced leadership team at Heath Lane below.

Roots Leadership Team 


Hayley Yendell

Headteacher and Curriculum Lead, Roots Federation

With vision, commitment and care, Hayley takes a lead on the curriculum for Roots Nurseries, ensuring it sets all our children up for happiness and success. Hayley is a proficient leader with decades of experience leading early years settings. In 2001 she became deputy headteacher at a three-form primary school in Stevenage where she took on special responsibility for early years.

She then became an early years adviser at Herts for Learning, a company whose mission is to improve education across the county. In this role, Hayley gave consultation, training and support that improved outcomes for over 100 schools.

Hayley sits on a governing body of  Governor of South Hill primary School (Hemel ) and trustee of the Claxton Trust (Stevenage), and is a trustee at a multi-academy trust, where she shares her expertise with the wider community.

Gemma Williamson.jpg

Gemma Williamson 

Headteacher and SENCo, Roots Federation

Gemma is Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator for the Roots Nurseries, and takes a lead in the Federation’s business and strategic decisions.

In 2010 , she led the foundation stage at Laurence Haines primary school in Watford. In recognition of her impressive leadership, the local authority made her a Leading Teacher, a role that saw her help other schools across the county improve their early years provision.

Gemma took the headship at Muriel Green Nursery in 2017. That same year, she achieved the National Special Educational Needs

Co-ordinator Award. She began working as a consultant to the headteachers at Oxhey Early Years in 2021. Here, she had the vision to collaborate with Heath Lane Nursery to improve all three settings, a vision which eventually led to co-founding the Roots Federation.

Gemma sits on the governing bodies of two maintained primary schools in Hertfordshire, keeping her up to date with educational practice beyond early years. She also sits on two boards representing the voice of maintained nursery schools.

Vicki Wright - Senior Teacher 

Vicki has taught in nursery schools across the country for eighteen years. She worked in a large multicultural primary school in London, where she taught both nursery and reception classes. She then worked in a school in Chorleywood before moving to Heath Lane in 2016.

In her role as Senior Leader, she takes a lead on Heath Lane’s strategic operations, working closely with the classroom practitioners to maintain the quality of teaching. She also works with the Roots Federation headteachers, ensuring Heath Lane upholds the Federation’s long term visions and values.

Vicki is our Designated Safeguard Lead, and is responsible for new schemes like The Zones of Regulation and Talk for Writing.

“My favourite part of the job is watching children make progress across the year. I love seeing our children happy and engaged, learning and exploring through play. A quality early years education can have a huge impact on children’s futures. Put simply - this is one of the most important jobs in the world!” 

Suzie Pilgrim - Senior Teacher 

Suzie has been an early years teacher in Hertfordshire for thirteen years. She worked as an Early Years Lead in a three-form-entry school, taking the setting to an outstanding judgement before going on to be the Deputy Head of a large school. She’s an expert in phonics, the learning environment and the role of the adult in 'discover and do'. She also has a particular interest in early childhood brain development.


“I love introducing new initiatives, and measuring how much they help our children. It’s a joy to work alongside children in ‘discover and do’, and to be present for all the moments when children come alive with awe and wonder. I’m blessed to be part of such a wonderful, forward thinking team who are making a difference to children’s lives.”


Office Manager

Karen H
Learning Support Assistant

Karen R
Learning Support Assistant

Miss Whitlock
Teacher/Key person


Midday Supervisory Assistant



Teacher/Key Person

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Lead Learning 
Support Assistant

Key person


Office Administrator

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