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Meet the team

Linden Learning has a mission to bridge the gap between potential and performance.  We understand that you are the expert in yourself and our job is to help harness that expertise and put it to work to reach your goals. 

Tamsin Grimmer
Early Years Director
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Marlis Juerging-Coles
Early Years Director

Tamsin Grimmer is an experienced Early Years Consultant who has a keen interest in how young children learn and develop.  She has improved outcomes for children as an Early Years Consultant for two local authorities and worked as an Area SENCo, teacher, lecturer and childminder.  

Tamsin Grimmer is an experienced Early Years Consultant with a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education.   Tamsin believes that all children deserve practitioners who are inspiring, dynamic, reflective and passionate about their learning. When children have the very best start in their early years, they adopt positive dispositions and attitudes to learning. The main way that Tamsin assists with this is through inspiring and motivating those who teach them through delivering training and consultancy.  In addition, Tamsin has written several books aimed at educators. Tamsin's previous roles have included Early Years Consultant for two local authorities, Area SENco, teacher, Mentor for EYP and EYT, PGCE lecturer and outstanding childminder.

Ruth Mercer

Ruth has a lifetime career in early education and care. She has been a local authority adviser, a deputy head and then Head of a highly successful large nursery school and children's centre. As a leadership coach, Ruth has a particular interest in leadership development and a coaching approach to all aspects of early childhood development.  Her Masters specialised in integrated working with children and families and this brings a strong belief in promoting child voice. Ruth currently holds an associate tutor role for the Early Years Teacher Status as part of her work.
Ruth offers bespoke training and consultancy on a range of themes, including teaching and learning reviews, leadership and team development, supervision training, cultural capital, building self awareness and self confidence, and an introductory coaching and mentoring training for Local Authority organisations and within settings. She also offers individual coaching and mentoring for leaders and middle leaders in schools and settings. 

Marlis Juerging-Coles grew up as the child and grandchild of teachers and realised early on that a good practitioner can be the difference between a lifelong inspiration to learn or doubting one’s own talents and potential forever. Her professional journey started nearly two decades ago and has taken her through a wide variety of settings in the Early Years sector, working her way up to leadership positions, a BA(Hons) degree in Children’s Development and Learning, and Early Years Teacher Status (PGCE). 

Taking a couple of years out of ‘on-floor’ childcare allowed Marlis to pursue freelance work as an associate trainer and consultant in the early years sector. Today, she is back at the heart of the action as Management Lead of a Pre-School, as well as dedicating time to consultancy work and her soul-fire project ‘the Social Gift of Language’. Marlis writes and delivers training on many different topics, those closest to her heart are language development, leadership, and a loving pedagogy, starting with the child at the centre of everything.

As an immigrant in the UK, language development has long been an integral part of Marlis' journey. Experiencing first-hand the highs and lows that come with not being able to rely on a common language has heavily influenced her professional practice and has led her to dedicate much energy to helping others bridge language barriers through deep connection and the power of play. This in turn has emphasised the importance of a loving pedagogy at the centre of childcare, and her leadership and team building has been placed on a foundation of kindness, care and connection.

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Anne Kibuuka

Anne has over 25 years experience of working with the early years. She was the headteacher of a twice outstanding Nursery School and Children's Centre in an inner city area with high levels of deprivation. Anne also spent many years working in the field of special education and developed and lead an early years inclusion service which supported children in nursery and reception classes. Anne also lead a local authority autism strategy for children and young people aged 2 to 25.

Anne holds an advanced diploma in special educational needs, a masters degree in education, NPQH and a level 7 qualification in Executive Coaching and Mentoring. 

Anne is passionate supporting children, families and professionals in the Early Years where she believes excellent and holistic practice can make the most impact. Inclusion in all its aspects is at the heart of Anne’s work. 

Anne is also a qualified and experienced mindfulness facilitator and can offer a range of strategies and courses  to support practitioners and family well being.

Kate Bate
Early Years Expert Teacher and Consultant
Penny Cartwright Photo - as at January 2
Penny Cartwright
Early Years Consultant

Kate Bate has over two decades of experience working within education in many teaching and specialist roles. She trained as a primary school teacher and after many years in reception class, is currently working as an EYFS Nursery Lead Teacher and Early Years Expert Teacher for the Department for Education (DfE). Kate has also worked as a Specialist Dyslexia teacher for the British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action and the DfE on the pilot ‘Sound Check Project’. She has also contributed to a number of early years publications, webinars and blogs, and is currently completing an NPQLTD (National Professional Qualification for Leading Teacher Development).  


Kate is passionate about sharing effective practice with others and instilling the desire to create purposeful, engaging and exciting learning environments for every child to enjoy.

Penny Cartwright is an experienced Early Years Consultant and trainer. She was a teacher in nursery and reception in three local authorities before becoming an early years advisor in the London Borough of Lewisham. Penny believes passionately that young children deserve the highest quality teaching and learning, with a stimulating learning environment, which supports children to become confident, independent learners and motivated to learn. She has a proven track record of working with leaders and practitioners in schools, settings and childminders to improve outcomes for children.

Penny Cartwright has specialised in early years for many years. She studied at Goldsmiths’ College, has a degree in early childhood education and has many years’ experience working as a teacher and as an Early Years Consultant and trainer for a local authority and independently. She was the Strategic lead for the Every Child a Talker project and is particularly interested in how we support children’s communication and language skills which is fundamental to all other areas of learning. Penny is one of the authors of ‘A Place to Learn – Developing a stimulating learning environment’.

Annie Davy 
Consultant / Coach
Sonia Mainstone-Cotton
Early Years Consultant

Annie is a highly experienced leadership coach, mentor, trainer and facilitator. She is a catalyst for innovative projects spanning education, community and social enterprise, with a strong track record of incubating successful community projects, social enterprise and transforming environments. Key work skills: facilitation of peer to peer action learning sets,  a deep understanding of early childhood development and organisational resilience.  Annie is a passionate advocate of connecting to nature for better health and well-being.  Her most recent book for early years practitioners "A Sense of Place  - mindful practice outdoors"  was published by Bloomsbury in 2019.

Annie's career spans teaching, inspection, writing,  lecturing and management. She has held  successful leadership roles including  12 years heading up an award winning service of 300 staff, head of community education centre, interim headteacher of a nursery school and children's centre and founder of three thriving charitable social enterprises in her home town of Oxford.    She believes that supporting leaders' resilience is essential for a team, setting or organisation to flourish. She is passionate about her family, human development, Nature and creating great spaces for work and life. 

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Ruth Moyler 
Early Years Consultant

Ruth Moyler is an Artist-Teacher-Maker who is passionate about playful approaches to learning, and has encouraged high quality creative practice in schools arising from real experiences. Ruth believes in the vital importance of experiential learning and has developed innovative multi -sensory approaches to Early Year practice. A major strand has been developing oracy through complex play using  ‘Interplaylands.’ Her work is original and emphasises ‘screen-free ‘hands-on interaction with real objects. During the Pandemic, Ruth developed personalised Interplaylands for families with SEND children, and now offers therapeutic play training for practitioners with this tool.  .Ruth also offers bespoke training to schools and organisations as a ‘Courageous Creativity Consultant’, developing playful approaches to Literacy . Typically the taught element will be followed by a practical session in small groups, where the inspirational re-claimed materials are provided for a 3d making session. The experiential  learning  offers many opportunities for future development as Ruth enables adults to use their own creative play skills  to develop  story-telling ideas , which can then lead to high quality writing   This approach  has been well received as a whole schools INSET ( eg Bolney Primary School )

​During her career, Ruth has worked as an Early Years teacher, an EYFSCo, a Deputy Head, a Senior Leader of Education, a Guest University Lecturer and as a ‘Creativity and Innovation Consultant’ within a Southwark Academy Trust.

Take a look at Ruth's YouTube channel.  Where,  as ‘Mrs Magic Moyler’ she has been making 5 minute crafting videos as a means of promoting playful interactions between children and their parents .  Also find out more about Interplaylands :

Sonia Mainstone-Cotton is a freelance nurture consultant working with 3 and 4 year old children who have social, emotional and mental health needs, an essential element of this role is in supporting the children’s and staff wellbeing. Sonia is also a specialist leader of education with her local teaching school. Sonia delivers training across the country to schools and early years settings as a freelance trainer, her specialisms are around children’s wellbeing, supporting children with social, emotional and mental health needs, listening to children and supporting staff wellbeing.


Sonia has worked in early years for 30 years, she has a BA honours in Early childhood studies and an MA in Early years education, Sonia has worked as a trainer in early years, working across the country for the last 15 years, this includes guest lecturing on MA and BA courses and as a key note speaker at several early years conferences.  Sonia is the author of 7 books and regularly writes for education magazines. Most of Sonia’s writing career has focused on supporting wellbeing for staff and children.

Dawn Rigby 
Early Years Consultant

Over the last 2 decades, Dawn has been immersed in all facets of the Early years sector. Dawn originally trained as a Montessori teacher, and has Early Years Teacher Status, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a Masters Degree from the University of Roehampton.


A key principle of her practice is that all those working with children need a good level of understanding of knowledge and theory and an outstanding practitioner needs to be able to demonstrate this knowledge by putting it into practice.


In the last few years Dawn has been working on ways to develop playful interactions to enable strong emotional connections between adults and children.


She feels very passionately that adults need to engage with children as play partners, supporting, extending and respecting their play, valuing those play choices.


Dawn firmly believes in the child’s right to play and is an advocate for a play curriculum in early years especially through In the moment planning.

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