Meet The Team
We are gradually moving back to inviting our new families into the building for visits and first settling in sessions, which will include meeting the lovely staff who will be looking after your child. We know you’ll understand that these visits will be guided by the Covid rules that are in place at the current time, and may involve us offering a ‘stay and play’ visit in our garden or within the nursery wherever possible. These opportunities are a great way for your child and yourself to get to know us a little better before your child’s start.
VICKI – MANAGER
I joined Castlegate in late 2007 after completing my NC in Childcare at Borders College. I started working in the baby room, then worked with toddlers and latterly moved into a senior role overseeing all the baby and toddler areas. From February 2020 I worked as Depute Manager, helping to guide Castlegate through the challenge of the pandemic, and during 2021 I started to manage Castlegate, alongside Christine. I’ve completed my SVQ4 and look to start my PDA Level 9 in Childhood Practice in the near future.
I love being outside and love to run, and over the years I’ve completed a number of runs for charity, including The Great North Run.
ABBIE – CLASSROOM MANAGER
After gaining experience from a young age through helping my Mum with the children she childminds, I decided after leaving school to go onto college to complete my NC Early Education and Childcare, during which I completed my placement at Castlegate. This then led on to me starting at Castlegate in 2015 and completing my SVQ Level 3, and I’m due to complete my SVQ4 by March 2022. From November 2021 I will be training for a new role within Castlegate, as Classroom Manager, where I will oversee all the age groups, ensuring consistency across the setting, that all the staff are well supported, and that the children continue to have high quality care and learning experiences.
I enjoy supporting the children as they grow and develop whilst in my care, and the relationships I build with them during their time at nursery.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.
RACHAEL – SENIOR PRACTITIONER
I joined Castlegate in March 2022 as a Senior Practitioner and will be working between the Owl and Fox classes. I have previously worked in a children’s home in South Africa, ran a local playgroup, worked in other nurseries, and also as a nanny.
I am passionate about child led learning and enjoy watching children develop at their own pace, and expanding their learning opportunities through their own interests. I also love outdoor play and the benefit it brings to children. The outdoor space is what drew me to Castlegate and I love that we are outdoors in all weathers.
There are always different trends within early years to ensure the best outcome for children and how we, as Practitioners, can support their learning. I enjoy expanding my own learning to support this and hope to start my SVQ level 4 after the Summer.
Im my spare time I enjoy spending time with friends, my partner and our two dogs exploring the countryside.
TAMARA – SENIOR PRACTITIONER
I am a Senior Practitioner at Castlegate, working with our Rabbit class from August 2020 and now leading the class. I live in Kelso and I and have worked at Castlegate since November 2017. My past experiences include working with children as a volunteer from the age of 14 in different holiday camps, working for Live Borders as a Play Coach, and babysitting.
I am interested in all the children’s developments throughout their time at Castlegate, and doing arts and crafts with them. I achieved my Level 3 SVQ in Social Services Children & Young People in 2019, which helped me to learn new things and to thrive in my role.
In my time away from work, I like to do things with my boyfriend and socialise with my friends, as well going riding at a local riding school.
JULIE – PRACTITIONER (LEAD FOR LOCAL FOREST SCHOOL & TRANSITIONS)
I work as a Practitioner in the Hedgehog class, originally starting with Castlegate in May 2000, and after a short break returning in February 2022.
I have a PDA in Early Education and Childcare and have a passion for Outdoor Learning. I am looking forward to developing this with more educational visits to our local woods.
I have 3 grown up children and 5 grandchildren, who also share my passion for outdoors. In my spare time I enjoy walking my 2 Westies (The Lakes are my second home!) and travelling to far flung places to experience different cultures.
AMY – PRACTITIONER
I joined the Castlegate team in April 2022 and I work as a Practitioner in the Hedgehog class. Previously to this, the majority of my career has been spent working as a nanny in Brighton, London and Australia.
I have a BA Honours in Youth and Community Development and also a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification, and have spent time teaching English in Spain and India.
I enjoy the outdoors and love that Castlegate has great outdoor spaces for the children. I enjoy watching children grow and develop and their personalities shine through. I am looking forward to planning outdoor activities and engaging with the children in Hedgehog class.
In my spare time I enjoy hiking and running and I am currently training for the London Marathon. I also enjoy cooking, travelling and spending time with family and friends.
CLAIRE – PRACTITIONER
I moved to the Borders in 2007 from Brighton, where I have achieved some great experiences and qualifications in my places of work. I went to Borders College and gained my Level 2 Child Health and Social Care, and I also have my SVQ3 in Social Services in Adult Care from my role as a health care worker before I started at Castlegate.
I have always been a caregiver and love to help, and to see the person or child with a smile on their face. Coming to Castlegate is a career change for me and I am looking forward to furthering my career as a practitioner within in such a warm and welcoming nursery.
I have 2 grown up children and 2 step children. I help friends with babysitting and help my friends children to swim. In my free time I love the outdoors, walking, swimming (I’m also a qualified Level 2 swim teacher) and keeping fit. I also love spending time with family and friends and my dog and doing charity events including the Great North Run.
ELLE – PRACTITIONER
I was born in North Yorkshire and grew up surrounded by the stunning coastline and North Yorkshire Moors. This may be where I developed my love of the outdoors! I have lived and worked in various areas around the UK, including Berkshire, Humberside and for the last 20 years, Barnard Castle, where I brought my two sons up, again, being outside as much as possible.
I retrained at New College, Durham and gained my CACHE level 3 as a Teaching Assistant. I then went on to work at The Education Village, Darlington. This is where I developed my love of Early Years work, in particular, the Reggio Emilia approach, which I believe is one of the best foundations we can give to our children.
I moved to the Scottish Borders and I’m enjoying growing more familiar with it, having spent many years visiting the rest of Scotland, in particular Sutherland and the North Coast. I love getting creative with fabric, including Harris Tweed and wool, I also enjoy watercolour painting and landscape photography. Our labrador puppy takes up a lot of time but I love finding new walks to take him on and introducing him to new experiences.
EMMA – PRACTITIONER
During my Nursery Nurse training I completed a placement at Castlegate, and when I completed my SNNEB qualification in 1995, at age 18, my first job was as a Nursery Nurse at Castlegate! I’ve worked as a play leader at Border Women’s Aid with babies to sixteen year olds, and I was also a play assistant in the children’s ward at the BGH before having my family. I returned to Castlegate as a Practitioner in the toddler room and after school club for 3 years back in 2014, until I left to care for my Mum.
I’m really happy to be back as a Practitioner at Castlegate, and it’s great being part of the Castlegate family again! I’m currently working across the different age groups. I love doing arts and crafts with the children, and playing a part in their development is very rewarding. Watching them form friendships, and seeing them develop and flourish as they progress through the nursery is so lovely!
In my spare time I enjoy family time – I have 2 grown up sons and my daughter is at High School – beach walks, baking, catching up with friends and taking care of our 2 dogs, 2 cats and 6 chickens.
EMMA – PRACTITIONER
I work in the Hedgehogs Room and I joined Castlegate in February 2014. I have an SVQ 3 in Childcare.
Previously I have worked at nurseries in Sweden and I have a BA in Early Years Education from a Swedish University. Children’s development and learning is one of the areas I find most interesting along with children’s speech and language development.
In 2013, I moved from Sweden to the UK and I live with my husband and two daughters, 2 dogs and quails. I enjoy spending time with my family and explore our lovely surroundings.
JACKIE – PRACTITIONER
I joined Castlegate in November 2021, following my Modern Apprenticeship with Scottish Borders Council and completion of my SVQ 3 Social Services Children & Young People Level 7. This gave me the perfect opportunity to gain my qualification and experience at the same time. At Castlegate I’m based in the Hedgehog class, working with the 3-4 year olds.
Prior to this I worked with my husband in his woodworking business, and prior to that I worked in accounts, having gained my HND in Accounting when I left school.
When I’m not working I enjoy following my football team, Dundee United, and I’m an avid reader. I spend many a Saturday afternoon at Woodside Park watching my nephew play football for Kelso 2005s. I love spending time with my husband, and socialising with family and friends.
MEGAN – PRACTITIONER
I started my position as a Practitioner at Castlegate in October 2019, and I returned to work in February 2022 after maternity leave to work in the Rabbit room. I completed my HNC Early Education and Childcare at Borders College in 2015, and while studying I came to Castlegate on placement, working with the 3 and 4 year olds.
I really enjoy working at Castlegate, especially watching the children grow and develop in all areas.
In my free time I like to spend time with my family.
PATSY – PRACTITIONER
I joined Castlegate in March 2022 as a Practitioner in the Fox classroom. I previously worked as a health care support worker which was a very rewarding job and I enjoyed my time doing this. When a job came up at Castlegate I felt it was the right time for a change, and I have always been passionate about working with children and their development after spending time bringing up my two children.
I am looking forward to starting my SVQ3 in Childcare over the next few months. I love being outdoors and being creative and doing art projects, which I am looking forward to being able to do more of with the children.
ZOE – PRACTITIONER
I joined Castlegate in June 2021 after passing my HNC Childhood Practice course and SVQ Level 3 at Borders College. I live in Jedburgh and after a very tough year of online college due to Covid 19, I was looking to develop on my experience of working with children, as well as make a difference to their learning. I thought the caring environment at Castlegate would be perfect for me.
I am interested in outdoor play and love watching the children get involved with messy activities and the smiles it brings to their faces. I am also interested in child development – I learned about this as a student and and want to continue learning about it in practice.
In my spare time I enjoy going out for dinner with my friends.
LOUISE – SUPPLY PRACTITIONER
I started working as a Supply Practitioner in January 2022, working with the youngest children at Castlegate. I have always loved working in childcare, and I am keen to learn and exercise new approaches for Early Learning.
I have worked in a few different childcare settings, both in Scotland and abroad, and have qualified to an SVQ3 Level 3 in Childcare.
I have two children of my own and when I’m not at work I am very family and friend orientated, and enjoy outdoor activities.
MAISIE – SUPPORT WORKER & ENHANCED CLEANING
Maisie provides enhanced cleaning at the end of every day, and will also be working as a Support Worker from April – September 2022 – more information to follow
MARY – SUPPLY SUPPORT WORKER
I started working at Castlegate in October 2021 as supply Support Worker with the youngest children. I’ve always loved caring for people and I started my career caring for the elderly, which I enjoyed, but after having my own children I realised my focus was more in childcare.
I love arts & crafts and also being outdoors. It’s so nice to see the joy it brings the children and I’m enjoying being part of that at Castlegate.
In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family & friends and looking after my 2 cats and dog. I also enjoy taking my dog for walks.
SEONAID – SUPPLY COOK / SUPPLY PRACTITIONER
I went to college to train to be a Nursery Nurse after encouragement from a fantastic friend and mentor called Isabel, who ran Fogo Nursery where my children attended. Once I’d qualified I decided to take the huge step of setting up Castlegate, at a time where options for childcare locally were very limited. We’ve now had the pleasure of supporting thousands of children to make important steps in their learning journeys, and hope there will be many many more in the future.
I have so many happy memories of experiences I’ve had through Castlegate, one of these being a trip to visit nurseries in Hungary as part of my Professional Development Award course. Their naturalistic, child centred approaches and love of outdoors really influenced my practice, then and still now.
In late 2021 Castlegate changed ownership, and Christine and I look forward to Castlegate continuing to flourish under the new owners who share our ethos. I will continue to provide supply cover as needed, in particular in the kitchen when Sue is on holiday, which I really enjoy. In my free time I like to walk our lively family dog on the beaches at North Berwick, where I’d also happily spend hours hunting for my favourite shells – tiny little cowries. I’m also known for making scones for all occasions!
JADE – CLEANER
I’m the cleaner at Castlegate and I started in September 2021. This is my first time working in a nursery setting and so far it’s been a wonderful experience – the staff and children make it such a great workplace.
This is my first job for quite some time as I was lucky enough to be able to take time off to bring my kids up.
JILL – CLEANER
Jill provides enhanced cleaning at the end of every day – more information to follow
SARAH – HOUSEKEEPER (DAY TIME)
I was thrilled to join the Castlegate team in April 2021, as the Housekeeper. In my position I enjoy preparing and serving the daily healthy snacks to the children, and assisting Sue the cook with lunches. It’s fantastic to work with the children and to see them develop and grow in confidence.
I was raised in Jedburgh and after leaving school I attended Napier University in Edinburgh, gaining my HND in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management. After completing my studies I worked at Walt Disney World in Florida for a year before travelling around the world.
I have 3 grown up children who I raised while working as a childminder, then progressed to a Teaching Assistant role at Berwick Middle School. In the past I volunteered as a Guide Leader for 6 years. My hobbies include cycling and walking, and I enjoy gardening, cooking and sewing.
SELINA – ADMINISTRATOR & RECEPTIONIST
I work in the office which I thoroughly enjoy, and I have built a good relationship with the parents, children and staff during my time at Castlegate. Part of my role which I really enjoy is when the children come into the office and huddle around my computer to look at pictures/videos of what they have been learning in class, it is nice to have a wee chat to them.
Apart from the general day to day tasks in the office, I also like to help out in class covering lunches and also serving the lunch on occasions! I studied at Borders College and completed my SVQ 1 & 2 in Administration. Upon finishing my course, I got my first office job at Oregon as a Receptionist and I was there for 9 years. I then worked at Elite Education for 3 years as an Administrator.
I have 2 children, Kyle and Jack, who are both at school now. I love spending time outdoors with my family going to different parks, the beach and the bike track which of course is a favourite. We also enjoy family holidays and making memories. I also go to the gym twice a week to keep fit!
SUE – COOK
I started my catering career studying for a Diploma at Westminster College in London many years ago. Having worked in catering in schools and restaurants, I then trained in nursing and have worked in nursing and social care for most of my career, which has given me a good insight into how important food and nutrition is as part of our daily needs, and in keeping us healthy and vigorous to take on the day’s activities.
I love working proactively in planning the lunch menu and providing healthy, interesting and nutritionally balanced meals for all the children, who give me a daily thank you after lunch and frequently a cheerful smile at the lunch table which makes my day! I am very lucky to work in such a wonderful and enthusiastic environment with great children and a dedicated team.
I have two daughters, one of which attended Castlegate over ten years ago! Working at Castlegate gives me a good work life balance with time to ferry my family around to various clubs and activities, and I also enjoy picture framing as a hobby and walking three rescue greyhounds with my family.
CHRISTINE – CONSULTANCY & SUPPORT SERVICES
I joined my Mum in running Castlegate in 2008, moving into early education from working at LGBT Youth Scotland who I proudly started out with as a full time volunteer when I left university. I’ve always been passionate about ensuring Castlegate remained a sustainable business moving forward, so built stronger business practices including leading digital developments over the years. You’ll also sometimes find me lobbying at local and national level for all things early learning and childcare – I believe in fairness for all providers and the children and families who use early years services, and often this means speaking up to achieve this.
In late 2021 Castlegate changed ownership, and Seonaid and I are looking forward to seeing Castlegate continue to flourish under the new owners, who share our ethos and understand the importance of Castlegate in the local community. I’m currently still in Castlegate on a regular basis, providing consultancy and support services.
Outside of work I love a quiet life – growing (a lot of ) plants inside and outside, running, and swimming outdoors. I’ve enjoyed travel in the past, including taking a five month sabbatical from work in 2014 to complete the research for my MEd in Childhood Practice in Kathmandu, Nepal.