Meet Our Staff
We’re proud of our teachers!
Abbey School is proud to employ teachers who are specialists in the field of primary or nursery education. Many members of staff have dedicated their teaching life to the development of educational programmes and curriculum subjects specifically designed to enrich the lives of young children.
Skills of developing self-confidence
Abbey teachers are aware that children succeed by gaining self-confidence and self-belief. Furthermore, once this can be firmly established in a young mind, the benefits to all areas of development and growth in academic success is measurable and beyond doubt. This is where the skills and knowledge of teachers dedicated to early education, coupled with informed and supportive parents, is of paramount importance to the early development of young children. This is also why our teachers achieve such truly remarkable successes for our pupils, in every field of development, whether academic or extra-curricular.
Policy for staff recruitment and training
Pupils attend Abbey School from birth to 11 years of age. In order that we can achieve our aim of providers of good quality education our staff are recruited with care from suitably qualified and experienced applicants. Members of Staff employed by Abbey School have relevant educational qualifications and receive appropriate and regular in-service training with regard to all advice from QCDA (Qualification and Curriculum Development Agency) and Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education), regarding the health and welfare of children, all National Curriculum requirements and best current educational practice. Many staff undergo upgrading and development of their qualifications to the mutual benefit of both themselves and our pupils.
Meet our Proprietor
Mrs Sylvia Greinig
CertHE, BA (Hons), PGDip, MA (Exon)
With a wealth of experience and a passion for education, Mrs Sylvia Greinig has been the Proprietor of Abbey School since 1979. Alongside her role as Headteacher, she served as a National Curriculum Moderator for KS1 and worked as an Ofsted Inspector of early years for six years. Mrs Greinig’s academic journey led her to Exeter University, where she had the privilege of studying with esteemed philosophers, Professor Matthew Lipman and Professor Ann Margaret Sharp, in the United States. Witnessing the development of thinking skills in young children has been a revelation for Mrs Greinig, who firmly believes in the importance of nurturing critical thinking abilities.
Beyond her dedication to education, Mrs Greinig has a strong passion for animals. Serving as a Trustee of Wild Planet for nearly 24 years, her involvement with wildlife conservation inspired her to pursue a Masters degree in Anthrozoology at Exeter University—an intriguing branch of Anthropology that captivated her and also informed her understanding of children and their learning.
In 2019, Mrs Greinig retired from the active role of Headteacher at Abbey School, but she continues to serve as the Proprietor providing insight and governance to the remarkable leadership team at Abbey. She entrusted the capable hands of Miss Fleur Greinig, who returned to her alma mater after completing her initial and Masters degrees. During her tenure of 15 years, Miss Fleur Greinig not only became a qualified teacher but also gained invaluable experience in running various departments of the school, ensuring the smooth functioning of Abbey School.
The primary focus of Abbey School remains steadfast in nurturing children’s ability to learn how to learn. Amidst our industrious and joyful primary school environment, we strive to instill this fundamental skill in all our pupils. While we cannot predict the future paths our students will choose, we are committed to equipping them with the necessary skills and confidence to tackle any challenges they may encounter along their journey.
To connect directly with our Proprietor, Mrs Sylvia Greinig, please address your correspondence to Abbey School, St Marychurch, Torquay, TQ1 4PR. Alternatively, you can reach out to our office through the Contact Us section. Mrs Greinig is always delighted to engage with parents and stakeholders, fostering a warm and welcoming community at Abbey School.
Meet our Management Team
BA (Hons), MSc
With a strong foundation in academia and a passion for empowering others, Miss Greinig is a respected leader at Abbey School. She holds a BA Honours degree in Geography and further pursued her education with an MSc in Policy Research from Bristol University.
Having been a dedicated educator at Abbey School for over a decade, Miss Greinig has taught a diverse range of subjects. Throughout her tenure, she has held various crucial roles, including Head of Safeguarding, Head of Health and Safety, Head of Pastoral Care, and, since September 2015, the Y6 form teacher. Her extensive experience and deep knowledge of Abbey School make her an invaluable asset to our community. Notably, she has introduced innovative initiatives such as a touch-typing program and the school’s traffic light behavior system, both of which have had a lasting positive impact on student development.
Recognized for her exceptional skills and dedication, Miss Greinig was honored as the national recipient of the First Aid Trainer of the Year award. Additionally, she has led groups of Abbey School children to achieve regional and national victories in first aid competitions, showcasing her commitment to fostering well-rounded excellence in our students.
At Abbey School, our ultimate goal is to cultivate happy and socially responsible individuals who contribute meaningfully to society. As Headteacher, Miss G is entrusted with the task of guiding our students in all aspects of their development, instilling in them the confidence to navigate any challenges that come their way. A testament to this commitment is the inclusion of all Year 6 students in a Civic Award program, akin to the junior version of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. This comprehensive approach, along with the myriad achievements and experiences gained in their final year of primary school, equips our students for a smooth transition to secondary education.
With her wisdom, kindness, and genuine love for children’s growth and development, Miss Greinig is a pillar of leadership at Abbey School. Under her guidance, our students flourish, building a strong foundation for their future success
Mrs Hunt’s journey at Abbey School began over 30 years ago when she joined as a young and passionate NNEB nursery nurse. Her initial enthusiasm and dedication to early childhood education led her to Abbey School upon her return from a transformative visit to Australia. Since then, she has become an integral part of our nursery, nurturing the development of countless children and guiding aspiring nursery nurses on their own career paths.
Over the years, Mrs Hunt has not only witnessed the growth of the children in her care but also experienced personal milestones, including marriage and raising her own children, who have now blossomed into adulthood. Throughout it all, she has remained a steadfast presence in Abbey School, continuously imparting her wisdom, care, and insight to create a nurturing environment where children’s first steps of development are taken.
Her genuine love and compassion for every child under her care shine through in her approach as Head of Nursery. She fosters a warm and inclusive atmosphere where children feel safe, supported, and encouraged to explore and learn. Mrs Hunt’s caring nature extends not only to the children but also to her colleagues, whom she supports wholeheartedly, sharing her insights and expertise to create a cohesive and collaborative team.
Her profound understanding of early childhood education and her ability to recognize the unique needs and strengths of each child make Mrs Hunt an invaluable asset to our nursery. Her innate ability to create engaging and stimulating learning experiences ensures that children thrive and develop a strong foundation for their educational journey.
As a Head of Nursery, Mrs Hunt embodies the core values of care, dedication, and loyalty that define the essence of Abbey School. Her remarkable contributions and enduring commitment have left an indelible mark on the lives of countless children and nursery nurses who have had the privilege of being part of her care and guidance.
In Mrs Hunt, we have a true guardian of early childhood education—a caring and insightful leader who enriches the lives of all she encounters. Her impact on the Abbey School community is immeasurable, and we are immensely grateful for her unwavering dedication and compassionate guidance.
Meet our Teachers & Teaching Assistants
Reception Class Teacher
After gaining a BA in Primary Education and a BSc in Early Years Development at Bristol, I returned to Torquay and taught both KS1 and KS2. I joined Abbey School in 2007, initially in the nursery and following the birth of my own son, returned to teach Y1 and I now teach in the reception class.
As Reception Class teacher, my job is to ease the transition from Nursery to the main school. I focus on developing the children’s confidence and independence, and ensuring that they feel comfortable and happy within the larger school environment. The progress children make during this year is very exciting –it’s an amazing year to teach! The Foundation curriculum introduces a variety of subjects and topics, encouraging children to build self-belief and initiative. At this stage much of this is achieved through songs, games, and practical multi-sensory activities, rather than formal written work.
Interest, enthusiasm, a desire to have a go, and an enquiring mind will give the children a firm launch pad from which to begin their educational journey.
Year 1 Class Teacher
Deputy Safeguarding Lead
Staying close to home, I opted to complete my teaching degree at Plymouth University where I specialised in Early Childhood Studies. My degree has enabled me to focus on the knowledge, skills and understanding to teach children and explore how children learn and develop. During my time at Plymouth University, I was fortunate enough to complete a summer teaching placement in Finland. This opportunity allowed me to experience a whole different education system where I was able to adapt my teaching to help pupils achieve their full potential from what I had learnt.
I am delighted to begin my teaching career at Abbey School, where independence is strongly encouraged so children can become responsible for their learning, which is a skill I believe is required throughout life. Year 1 is full of exciting opportunities where the children build upon their knowledge from their reception year through new topics and the National Curriculum.
BA (Hons), PGCE, MEd
Year 2 Class Teacher
I am originally from Hertfordshire and moved to Torquay having completed my first degree in music at Dartington College of Arts. I then relocated to Cheltenham for a year to study PGCE at the University of Gloucestershire. Over the past ten years I have gained experience at state and independent schools including St Margaret’s Academy and Clayesmore Prep in Dorset. Particular interests in education include music and English as well as improving motivation and confidence in the classroom which was the focus of my master of education degree. My main ethos is to encourage children to reach their full potential in a safe, productive and positive learning environment where they are allowed to learn from their mistakes and grow as learners.
I am tremendously excited at the prospect of working at Abbey School, a setting where there is as healthy a spotlight on the arts and humanities as there is academic rigour. The idea of lifelong learning is important to me (having studied for a masters degree whilst working full time) as the role of educators is to be researchers and learners as well as teachers. I look forward to the ongoing CPD opportunities offered to Abbey School as members of IAPS. In my free time I enjoy exploring Devon with my family and dog, singing with a local choir and visiting friends and family all over the country. My most enjoyable activity is, of course, spending time with my 7 month old daughter Evie, who will also be joining us at Abbey School.
BSc (Hons), PGCE
Year 3 Class Teacher
After gaining a BSc in Marine Biology at Newcastle University and completing a number of conservation projects coupled with teaching English to the local people in Madagascar, The Comoros and Brazil; I moved on to complete my PGCE in Secondary Science at Reading University.
Throughout my teaching career I have taught in a number of contrasting schools enabling me to develop my teaching and thus progress the social, emotional and academic needs of my pupils. I started my career teaching Science from Year 7 to 13 and working as Head of Year 8. This was followed by a position as Head of Science in a special needs school. I believe in making my teaching challenging and engaging whilst promoting an ethos of intrigue and resourcefulness in my pupils to discover education for themselves; preparing them for a lifetime of learning and discovery.
I promote outdoor learning where suitable and prior to teaching I worked for an outdoor education company. I enjoy scuba diving, kayaking and obstacle races and completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh whilst at school myself. I value the skill set one can develop with outdoor learning and advocate the progression of such skills in my teaching.
BA (Hons), PGCE
Year 4 Class Teacher
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Following my first degree from Exeter University, BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Sociology, I went on to gain a Distinction in my PGCE in Primary Education from Marjon. I started my teaching career in Cornwall and moved to Abbey School in January 2013. Initially I taught Year 1, and am delighted to now be the Year 4 teacher. Children in Year 4 are well on their way to becoming independent learners, and my role is to encourage, challenge and support them in that. I personally have loved all of my learning experiences and believe that education should be ‘not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’. My aim is to inspire a love of learning and a healthy curiousity in the children I teach.
Alongside teaching, I am also currently completing my Level 4 training as a counsellor and enjoy helping children develop their understanding of both themselves and others.
BA (Hons), PGCE
Year 5 Class Teacher
I gained a BA (Hons) in Business Communications and spent seven years teaching English in Japan. This motivated me to return to the UK to complete my Primary PGCE at Bath Spa University. I have had a wealth of experience and adventures teaching in Somerset, Jordan, Slovakia, Kent and now very happily, in Devon.
I believe in challenging children to be the best that they can be, providing opportunities for inquisitive minds and teaching from a global perspective. I aim to build confidence through encouragement and support and to make school a happy experience, which will provide a lifelong love for learning.
BA (Hons), PGCE
Year 6 Class Teacher
I completed my BA in Geography at Middlesex University and as education is my passion I immediately trained as a teacher at the Institute of Education. From there I taught geography at schools in challenging areas of inner-London, with a focus on raising standards. I gained a wealth of experience as head of department and faculty, initially in teaching and then also in training student and Newly Qualified Teachers. Subsequently I was invited to train student teachers on the PGCE course at Middlesex University.
In 2007 I paused my career to have my children and having a family gave us the impetus to leave London and relocate in Devon. Abbey School was very much a factor in our decision to choose to live in this region. My children have thrived at Abbey School and we have all thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the school community. Having ignited my interest in the primary sector of education by volunteering for a year, I was initially appointed by Abbey School on a short contract to support Year 6 and am now delighted to be the class teacher of Year 6.
BA (Hons), PGCE
I gained my degree at Exeter University in music and then went to complete my PGCE at Roehampton where I made a particular study on the role of arts within the school curriculum. I studied flute under Gezina Stegmann from the the prestigious Wells Cathedral school and piano with Harold Jones who was then head of the junior department at Trinity College of music. Harold Jones inspired me to explore not just music performance but chord progression and improvisation.
Over the years I have had the privilege to sing in many choirs, attending the Eton choral course and singing more recently with Counterpoint and Voces. It is from my experience of singing that has driven me to encourage both solo and group singing. I am particularly interested in engaging in music in the early years. Many studies have shown that engagement in music gives a sense of well being and promotes self-confidence. It is often through the individual music lessons that a child can gain the confidence to perform, as well as enhancing their accessibility to the rest of the curriculum.
During my teaching career I have worked in a variety of roles in the primary sector including Class Teacher, Language Support Teacher, and County Advisor for Reading and Language Development. Additionally I have been employed as a BEd lecturer teaching art and craft at Middlesex University and also an Educational Development Tutor to NNEB students at Kensington and Chelsea College.
I have taught at Abbey School since 2005 and enjoy each day and the exciting teaching opportunities that working with primary aged children affords. I believe that all learning should have real purpose and a curriculum that challenges and excites children, at whatever academic or maturity level, leads to self-confidence, a pride in achievement, a positive attitude to learning and behaviour and above all, promotes maturing, independent learners.
In recent times I have transferred from classroom teaching to taking on the role of peripatetic Speech and Drama teacher, additionally supporting the spoken and drama part of the literacy programme in each year group in the school, which is such fun! It is wonderful to see children blossom in confidence as they learn to express themselves, first in the safe environment of their class, then in front of an audience in such as our regular teatime concerns, and eventually to receive critical appraisal from an external adjudicators in festivals and LAMDA exams.
Meet our Nursery Teachers & Nurses
Abbey Nursery Nurses have trained and are training appropriately in the care and education of ‘early years’, which is the care of children from babies to 8 years. They undertake regular updating in all curriculum areas as well as in safeguarding, and in health and safety matters. All, without exception, have regular updates for their first aid qualification.
Mrs Karen Hunt
NNEB Level 3
Senior Nursery Nurse, EYFS SENDCo
Level 3 Diploma for the
Early Years Workforce
Mrs Natalie Law
Senior Nursery Nurse
NVQ2 and NVQ3 in Childcare
Squirrels Room Leader
Miss Sophie Hunt
Level 3 Early Years Educator
Cygnets Room Leader
Mrs Laura Richardson
Level 3 Early Years Educator
Miss Beth Swinhoe
Level 2 Early Years Educator
Miss Daniella Jaconelli
Level 3 Early Years Educator
Penguins Room Leader
Mrs Milly Purse
Level 3 Early Years Educator
Mrs Claire McGivern
Level 3 Early Years Educator
Mrs Julia Daniels
NNEB Level 3
Mrs Joanna Routledge
Level 6 Early Years Educator
Robins Room Leader
Miss Holly Johns
Level 3 Early Years Educator
Mrs Stephanie Harrison
Meet our Catering & Site Team
Head of Catering and Domestic Services
Following hotel management training with Strand Hotels I was fortunate to be in one of the last cohorts of classical chef apprenticeships with that company.
This was followed by a move into the educational sector, initially training as a Kosher chef and then in chef or management roles in schools both large and well known and smaller and discrete. Industrial, military and hospital catering and my own businesses in training for the HCTB, outside catering, IT and retail were in the mix and latterly palliative care, residential home and hospital kitchen management.
I have been fortunate to have worked in both remote and dramatic locations from Algeria to Iraq via Lybia, the Gulf States, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin.
Anticipating a more relaxed lifestyle and entirely better environment I moved to Devon with my family in 2014 but continued to be away from home for long periods. Happily I was offered the role at Abbey School in November of 2015 and, in this return to earlier days in my career, have rediscovered the rewards of working in a smaller, less pressured environment and particularly enjoy the interaction with our pupils and helping them to discover new tastes, textures and food experiences.