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Governance at The Wren Scool, Reading, Berks

School Information


The Wren School Academy Trust

The Wren School Academy Trust was formed in September 2014 as a Company Limited by Guarantee, to administer The Wren School. The Trust is ultimately accountable to the Department for Education for the academic and financial performance of The Wren School, and monitors the work of the governing body. The Trust is responsible for ensuring that the school meets the WREN Vision and the expectations of the community and the DfE.
Meet the team members

The Wren School Governing Body

The Wren School Governing Body was initially appointed by the Trust on 8 June 2015 and is growing to include parents, staff and members of the community (see below). The GB works alongside the headteacher and her senior leaders to support and challenge their work. It is responsible for the conduct of the school and for promoting high standards. The GB aims to ensure that children are attending a successful school which provides them with a good education and supports their well-being. It has three core strategic functions: establishing (together with the Trust) the strategic direction of the school, ensuring accountability throughout the school and ensuring financial probity.  Minutes of the meetings of The Wren School Governing Body are available on request.  Please contact the Clerk to Governors, Jo Hackett at [email protected]

Click here to read the Trust’s vision statement
Meet the board members

Governing Body Schedule of Meetings

The schedule of meetings for the current year can be downloaded here.


Bob Burrowes

Trustee and Director

As a parent of three school age children I am delighted and an enthusiastic Governor at the Wren. My eldest daughter is a Year Eight Wren pupil.

I am currently also a Staff Governor at Katesgrove Primary School where I work as a Pastoral Support Worker. Previously I have been both a Parent and Co-opted governor at Southcote Primary School.

I am excited to play a part in the Wren School story and enjoy the numerous challenges and demands Governorship entails.

Cheryl Harper-Duffin

Trustee and Director

Cheryl has a vast experience in the third/charity sector and is driven by her passion to help others to achieve positive life outcomes.  As Head of Operations at the charity Learning Links, she manages multiple projects which benefit the local and wider community.  This includes strategically managing their Families programme which provides a key worker service and non-violent resistance training to families who require additional support.  Having developed a multitude of skills in her working life, inclusive of business development and procurement, people management, decision making, finance and profit delivery as well as effective communication, and having a deep interest in all aspects of Education, she would like the opportunity to make a positive difference to the life chances of the children in The Wren School and to help the school to build stronger partnerships with parents and the wider community.


Damian Hayward


Damian has worked in the bakery trade for 20 years becoming a master baker, he has  been a manager for 10 of those years and worked in numerous bakeries from small independent bakeries to specialist bakeries (gluten free & wheat free) After 20 years he felt a change was needed and moved onto the Railway where he worked for the past 6 years becoming a duty station manager at Reading Station.

He left school with virtually no qualifications as the school he went to was not a very nice place to be at with no support from the teachers, he can already see that The Wren is different and he will work hard to ensure that all the children at The Wren get the inspiration and support that they all deserve.

He has been married for 14 years and his oldest child has just started in Year 7 at The Wren and his youngest will join in the next couple of years.

David Zell

Trustee and Director

I would love to contribute more to the overall success of The Wren School. My current role allows me to achieve this in a pastoral and teaching sense; however, I would love to be able to represent the staff and to become even more involved in the all-round growth of The Wren. I am already a staff representative on the MAT working party, which I feel puts me in a great position to truly understand the ethos and vision of this school. Additionally, I was one of the first members of staff to be appointed to work at the school and believe that I have developed positive working relationships, which means that I would have their trust as their representative. As a result, I truly believe that the input I provide will not only be useful, but would be accurate and personal to the gradual evolution of this educational setting.

I am passionate, driven and organised. I have a huge interest in the school both professionally and emotionally. Playing an even larger part in the success of such a great academic establishment would be an extremely rewarding experience. I bring with me a lot of understanding about The Wren, its visions and ethos and its aims as it continues to grow in the future and believe that I would be a good communicator between the staff and the governing body.

Grant Abbott

Trustee and Director

Grant is an IT professional with over 25 years experience, specialising in problem solving and continuous improvement. He is a new parent governor at the Wren and has previous experience in school governance from Wroughton Junior school in Wiltshire. An Economics and Statistics graduate, he is chair of the Finance and Audit committee and also a member of the admissions working group. Outside work and school Grant is a keen gardener, currently experimenting with growing Chillis.

Jackie John

Vice Chair of Governors, Trustee and Director

Jackie is a copywriter by profession, having worked in marketing for 20 years, latterly as Marketing Manager for a large international financial services company where she worked to a budget and had to communicate effectively to achieve strategic plans. She volunteers at All Saints infant school where she helps children with their reading and also with fundraising as co-ordinator for the PTA. Jackie is the PCC secretary for the local church.

Jo Broadhead

Trustee and Director

Jo is the Headteacher for The Wren School. She is an established senior leader and teacher, having worked in education for more than 35 years. She has held senior leadership roles in three mixed comprehensive schools and from 1997 until joining The Wren School, was Deputy Head at Little Heath Secondary School in Reading. Prior to this she was a senior teacher at Ranelagh School in Bracknell for 6 years.

After studying a Biological Sciences degree at The University of East Anglia, Jo went into teaching in 1982, initially as a Mathematics Teacher. She then established herself as a Science Teacher, returning to her degree topic and quickly escalated her career into senior leadership roles. She later went on to develop her teaching practice by gaining the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and more recently from Reading University (2004 – 2009), her Master’s Degree in Managing School Improvement. She is particularly interested in using action research to develop great teaching and learning strategies and a positive school ethos for staff and students.

Julia Cottee

Chair of Governors, Trustee and Director

c/o The Wren School, 61-63 Bath Road, Reading, RG30 2BB

Julia has a professional background in accountancy, specialising in internal audit and financial controls in the private sector. She first became a school governor ten years ago, and currently sits on three governing boards including The Wren School, whilst also acting as an advisory governor for Reading LA, and is an officer of the Reading Governors’ Association. Having already gained experience as Chair of Governors in both primary and secondary schools in Reading and West Berkshire local authorities, she welcomes the unique opportunities and challenges that governing at an academy free school presents and has a wide network of colleagues and contacts to call upon for collaboration.

Mark Barrett

Trustee and Director

Mark attended Southampton University, graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering. He moved into the contracting side of the construction industry, working in London, Merseyside and Dover Docks where he specialised in marine works. In 1981, he joined the family company – Francis Construction Ltd who undertake a wide range of projects, many in the education sector and progressed from Contracts Manager to MD. In addition to his role at Francis, he has several other Directorships associated with the Construction and Property sectors. Outside of this, he has held roles including Chairman of The National Federation of Builders, Chair of local Residents’ Associations and served on various committees at Reading College and Thames Valley TEC. He is a member of SECBE in Reading, a not-for-profit organisation promoting innovation, training and co-operation within the construction sector. Mark has been a Rotary member for 24 years and has some involvement with local schools

Ruth Carney

Trustee and Director

Having trained as a Religious Education teacher in a challenging London school, Ruth was then elected Participant President of leading education charity Teach First. In 2008 she co-founded and was for five years Chief Operating Officer at Jamie’s Farm, a charity which provides a unique, therapeutic intervention programme for children at risk of exclusion. In these roles she shared practice nationally and internationally with Charter schools in the USA, Free Schools in Sweden, and Care Farms in the Netherlands. Ruth currently works at the National Youth Advocacy Service, a children’s rights organisation for young people who are Looked After. Ruth holds an MA in Educational Research from the Institute of Education/Canterbury Christ Church University, and is undertaking a PhD through the Royal College of Art/Kingston University looking at the role of Young People in the design of public space.

The Wren School Academy Trust

Lisa Telling

Member of The Wren School Academy Trust

As Headteacher of Southcote Primary School in Reading, Lisa oversees the setting and allocation of a £1.7m annual budget and has full staffing and academic responsibility for the school. She has been a Governor for 17 years, across a range of primary schools, including some on Special Measures. Lisa is a trained Ofsted inspector and one of only two European Headteachers to be trained in the Framework for Understanding Poverty. This expertise has led her to deliver briefings on the subject to No. 10 Downing St and to provide training for up to 500 delegates at a time, on the implications of working with the framework. Locally, Lisa has developed and led cluster partnership initiatives and working groups, resulting in the development of transition materials, cross-school moderation and enhancing teaching and learning across schools. Under her successful leadership, Southcote Primary School is undergoing an extensive building project, which includes an ambitious expansion programme. With effect from September 2015, Lisa will be the Executive Headteacher of Katesgrove Primary School, another 3 form-entry primary school in addition to Southcote Primary School. She is a member of the strategic board of the Reading Teaching School’s Alliance.

Mike Windsor

Chair of the members of The Wren School Academy Trust

c/o The Wren School, 61-63 Bath Road, Reading, RG30 2BB

Mike is Headmaster of Abingdon School, an independent school in Oxfordshire, and was previously Headmaster of Reading Blue Coat School. He studied French and German at university and taught English as a Foreign Language in Italy, before taking his PGCE at the Institute of Education in London and becoming a Modern Languages teacher. Mike is an inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate and serves on the Academic Policy committee of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC). He is also a Governor at a school in Pangbourne.

Nils Franke

Member of The Wren School Academy Trust

Nils Franke is a pianist, author and academic who has worked in Higher Education for more than 15 years. In 2007, he took up a post as lecturer at the University of Reading before being appointed Head of Studies at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in April 2013. Nils has recorded for European and American CD labels and his sheet music editions and articles have been published in seven languages. He has a particular interest in professional development and academic course design in arts subjects.

Nils was the deputy lead of the Wren School proposer group before becoming a Member of the Wren School Single Academy Trust (SAT). He was the Chair of the Trust in the school’s final pre-opening period, from April to September 2015.

Nils is a Trustee of Berkshire Maestros and a member of the management board of the European Piano Teachers’ Association. He also sits on the advisory panel for the Arts for Oxford, Cambridge and RSA examinations (OCR).

Sia Israel

Member of The Wren School Academy Trust

Sia is Office Manager for an international manufacturer and distributor in the electronics sector. She has been with the company for 17 years and her role includes sales reporting and monitoring, budget overview, office management, administration and some overlap with Human Resources. Prior to Wren, she was a Governor for three years at St Mary and All Saints Primary School in Reading.

Stephen Marsh

Member of The Wren School Academy Trust

Steve is a practicing barrister who was called to the Bar in 2005. He practices in employment, discrimination, social welfare and housing. Prior to training for the Bar, he was a policy officer in local government and the health service, advising on law and good practice in discrimination law. Previously, he managed a Citizen’s Advice Bureau and was Co-ordinator for Surrey Users Network – a disabled people’s civil rights organisation. As part of this role, he was Company Secretary, responsible for company compliance with relevant charity and company law. Steve has a wealth of experience in advising on legal matters, policy work and practical experience of involvement of running voluntary and independent sector organisations.

Term Dates

Term 3
Mon 7 January – Thu 14 February 2019
Inset day – Fri 15 February 2019
Spring break – Mon 18 February – Fri 22 February 2019
Term 4
Mon 25 February – Fri 5 April 2019
Easter break – Mon 8 April – Mon 22 April 2019