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Sarah Stollery (she/her): Co-Founder and Co-Lead

Sarah is the Co-Founder of the Cabin and a Co-Lead Facilitator at the Cabin on Tuesdays and the Lodge on Thursdays. She became interested in self-direction and consent-based education after becoming a mother and realising that her values and beliefs about education were totally out of alignment with the mainstream system she trained in and if she wanted to continue working with young people, she would have to create something herself.

Thus began a years-long endeavour with Sophie to create a space to realise the vision of whole person-centred living and learning with a genuine focus on wellbeing and authentic relationships, manifest through the
Guiding Principles. The Cabin launched in January 2018.

As well as leading activities herself, partnering with children leading activities or simply joining in, Sarah quite likes the backend operations of the settings. She can sometimes be found washing up in the kitchen or staring intensely at a spreadsheet! 

As well as working at the Cabin and Lodge, Sarah teaches and practices yoga, passionate about ways to self-care through movement, meditation and breathwork as well other wellbeing practices off the mat. Her background in cognitive neuroscience enables her to approach the wisdom traditions with both a scientific lens as well as a spiritual perspectice. She enjoys bringing her love of yoga to the settings – and sometimes her gong too!

Sophie Christophy (she/her): Co-Founder and Co-Lead 

Sophie is the Co-Founder of the Cabin and the Lodge, In 2016 she established the philosophy and concept of 'Consent-Based Education', and with support from Sarah, developed the Guiding Principles which, thanks to the team and community, are brought to life in the settings. 

Sophie Co-Leads at the Lodge on Thursdays, and the Cabin on Tuesdays. She loves running the Chair training, that enables anyone in the community that wants to, to lead the opening and closing meetings. She also loves working on different ways to support the staff team and community in exploring and getting the most out of the Guiding Principles personally and together. She loves planning and cooking Community Lunch at the Lodge, and playing the piano, sitting on the hill, and going exploring about in the village with people at the Cabin. Sophie's main focus at the Cabin and the Lodge is on culture creation, practice development, and everyone's overall wellbeing. 

Before the Cabin opened, Sophie co-ran two year long grassroots 'not school' projects, the first to help build and stabilise the local home education community, and the second to explore democratic, self-directed and children's rights principles as a community of families. Since 2017 she has shared and promoted Consent-Based Education through writing and speaking, workshops and events, and cycles of her Consent-Based Education course: working directly with many parents and educators from the UK and around the world who want to integrate Consent-Based Education into their lives, relationships and work. 


Gem Kennedy (they/them), Cabin Co-Lead Facilitator and Lodge Facilitator

Gem is a Co-Lead Facilitator at the Cabin on Tuesdays, and a Facilitator at The Lodge on Thursdays. 

There are so many things that inspire Gem about working at The Cabin & Lodge, but being part of such a collaborative, supportive and nurturing community brings them a huge amount of joy! They can often be found singing and playing the ukulele, learning languages including British Sign Language or enjoying as many board games as possible!

Outside of The Cabin & Lodge, Gem is a transformational coach, facilitator and podcaster. Their work predominantly supports queer Autistic folks wanting to live in alignment with their neurotype. Gem also runs courses for late-identified Autistic adults and offers post-diagnosis support for Thriving Autistic.


After gaining an Honours degree in Dutch and German from University College London, Gem began teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and later went on to work as Head of Research in international recruitment. Gem loves spending time in nature, meeting friends and spends a lot of time thinking about social change, spirituality and how to live more sustainably. They are a parent to two children who attend the Cabin & Lodge, and as a family, have been unschooling since 2015. 
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Gail Gardner (she/her), Cabin Facilitator

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Gail is a home educating parent and her daughter attends The Cabin. She is a facilitator at the Cabin on Thursdays. Gail has a BA in European Studies from Plymouth University and a PGCE specialising in Early Years teaching from London Metropolitan University. She taught primary and early years for six years in Chelmsford before deciding a different career might be a much needed change from the education system. She then spent two years as an education advisor for a working animal charity, travelling across Africa and the Middle East, meeting the most amazing animals and people.

In her spare time Gail loves to run and work out, sports have always been a pleasure and hobby. Gail also enjoys reading, particularly children’s books, and trying to learn to garden successfully. She finds volunteering at The Cabin inspiring as the people, both adults and children, are constantly coming up with such varied activities and interesting conversations. Gail feels The Cabin is truly a wonderful community to be a part of.

Emma Kerslake (she/her), Cabin Co-Lead Facilitator

Emma is a Co-Lead Facilitator at the Cabin on Thursdays. She has been home educating her three children for seven years. She trained as a primary school teacher and has a BA Honours degree in French. She also taught in France.
After having her third child Emma knew she wanted more freedom and bodily autonomy for her own children and their educational journey. She co-founded Nature Rangers, a regular themed session for home educating families to support and nurture the local community with a group of other home ed parents. Emma and her family were part of The Orchard Democratic Families Project. She is one of the admins for the Bishop’s Stortford and Saffron Walden Home Education group and she volunteers with The British Hens Welfare Trust.
Her current passions include learning about and using medicinal plants, painting, walking, yoga fresh water swimming, and baking. She loves how the Cabin offers everyone the opportunity to stay in alignment with their authentic selves and self-direct their own learning.
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Max Hope (she/they), Co-Founder and Co-Lead at The Lodge

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Max wants to radically change education. She has seen how damaging a one-size-fits-all approach can be for children and young people who do not fit the mould. She as dedicated years of her professional life to being a university academic, driven by a desire to build a stronger and fairer system that works for all children, young people and adults. She is highly committed to offering greater freedom in education, to advancing social justice, and to deepening our connections with the wild world. 

In joining the team at the Cabin and co-founding the Lodge, Max is embarking on a new adventure. Her work as an academic was to research, explore and promote alternative ways of educating. it was aspirational and shone a light on how education could be different. Her work at the Cabin and the Lodge is in the here-and-now. It is real. It gives her a unique opportunity to create and be part of the world that she has been working towards for so many years. Yes! Whilst being at The Cabin and the Lodge, Max enjoys storytelling, playing games outdoors, hanging out in wild spaces, baking and hosting sharing circles.

Max is a regular volunteer facilitator at the Cabin and Co-Leads at the Lodge. Alongside her work here, Max is director of Rewilding Education, founder of Write on Changemakers and co-facilitator for Call of The Wild, a year-long wild programme run by Wildwise in Devon. She is also deeply immersed in her own deschooling and rewilding processes. For more info on Max:

Shani Grant (she/her), Cabin Volunteer

Shani is a Volunteer Facilitator at the Cabin on Thursdays. She discovered gentle parenting early on and knew she wanted her relationships with her children to be based on connection, respect and compassion. When she and her children started home educating in 2022, she was delighted to find The Cabin, which embodied these principles and offered an amazing model for how they could all follow their internal compasses whilst in community with each other. She views the Cabin as a site of mutual fulfilment for them all. At the Cabin, Shani enjoys sharing her passion for music and doing arts and crafts, and loves learning from/being inspired by other community members.

Outside of the Cabin, Shani is a Clinical Psychologist - she worked in the NHS for nine years, has studied at and worked for Oxford University, and gained her clinical doctorate through the Salomons Institute for Applied Psychology. She specialises in mindfulness-based approaches. Shani supports those she works with to connect with their values so they can focus on living by this inner wisdom in daily life. Home educating and volunteering at the Cabin help her to live in greater alignment with her own values. 

Emma Haigh (she/her), Lodge Volunteer

Emma has been a home-educating parent since 2015, her views on learning and education having been challenged and shaped by parenting her own children and their experiences of the school system. From the very first moment of coming across an advert for the Lodge, Emma had a strong feeling that this would be the perfect environment in which her child could thrive. Initially joining the Lodge as a one-to-one support person for her child in 2021, Emma was delighted to be subsequently invited to take on an official role as volunteer. 
Emma’s career background is in law and education. After obtaining a degree in Theology from Cambridge University and post-graduate diplomas in Law and in Legal Practice at the College of Law, she trained and qualified as a solicitor and worked in a corporate environment at a City law firm before moving to lecture and teach for 9 years at a London law school. As well as music and reading, Emma’s main hobby is karate. She has a second degree black belt and is a qualified instructor and competition judge, spending a lot of her time outside the Lodge in the dojo. 
Lodge days are the highlight of Emma’s week, and she can often be found playing piano or singing, participating in Book Club, joining in with creative collaborative projects, or just enjoying spending time with and building relationships with the young people and other adults there. 
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