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The Piggott School

A Church of England Academy

School Governors

As part of the Piggott Church of England Academy, the Charvil Primary School shares a governing body with the Piggott School (Secondary).

If you wish to contact the Governors please email the Clerk

Governors List

Ex Officio 

Mr Derren Gray – Headteacher
Business Interest:
The Piggott School - Headteacher

"After achieving five A levels at AAAAB grades I studied at the University of Nottingham graduating with a BSc(hons) in mathematics. I then undertook a PGCE(S) mathematics with ICT at St Mary’s, Twickenham and since then have taught in a range of schools including single sex, mixed, comprehensive, grammar, secular and religious. I have taught Mathematics to further maths level, RE GCSE, KS3 ICT, Physics A level and Critical Thinking AS level. I completed my Master’s degree in School Improvement in 2004 and my National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH) in 2007.

I have been the Headteacher of The Piggott School and Charvil Piggott Primary School since September 2014. I am married with two young children and so my hobbies include scooting, Pokemon, going to the park, feeding ducks, Disney, reading ‘Beast Quest’ books, horse riding lessons, Tae Kwon Do, guitar & piano lessons, gymnastics and sleeping."

Co-Opted by the Foundation Governors and the Diocese 

Mr Richard Thiele Leadership & Management, Chair of Governors, Chair of the Pay Committee, SALT 
Term of appointment:
11th September 2013 – 10th July 2021
Outside Business Interest: None

"A former pupil of Wargrave Piggott Junior School I became a Parent Governor in order to help the good work of the school and put something back into the education system.  I firmly believe in active participation and will work hard to deliver the duties of a school custodian respective of the responsibility that entails towards the pupils, parents and school staff. 

I have a degree from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and worked in the business to business publishing and exhibitions world for most all of my working life.  This has all been customer facing and involves finding ways to deliver routes to market for businesses of all types and sizes.  To achieve success I have had to develop high performance teams, to deliver stretching objectives for businesses and profitability for customers.

In the 80's and 90's I dedicated a number of years to the Territorial Army where my most rewarding elements of service were in the education and training of recruits and potential officers.  The amazing feeling of satisfaction and achievement from education gives me some insight into the motivation and dedication of the teaching profession.

I offer time, experience and a commitment to help parents and staff who are all committed to developing the school, as it strives towards inspiring and encouraging the highest achievement."


Dr. Alison Silby – Vice Chair of the Secondary School, Admissions and SALT
Term of Appointment:
15th March 2016 - 15th March 2020 
Outside Business Interest: None

"For the past 10 years, I have been involved with Initial Teacher Training programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

I am currently employed as an academic at the University of Reading where I am a lecturer in English and Education. A large part of my job includes the design and delivery of a challenging degree programme as well as the recruitment and professional development of trainee teachers. I also work in close partnership with a large number of schools in the area to ensure that the training provided, by both the University and schools, is outstanding.

I am particularly interested in curriculum development and all aspects of pedagogy related to literacy. My specific research interests include exploring the different ways in which pupils engage with the reading and writing challenges they meet in the classroom.

Prior to my involvement in higher education, my role as a teacher ranged across Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 where I was primarily responsible for leading English and promoting a creative curriculum combining English, Drama, Music and Art. I have a daughter in Year 7 at The Piggott School and am also an active member of my church. I am delighted to have been appointed as a governor and am looking forward to making a contribution to the school."

Foundation Governors Appointed by the Diocese


Reverend John Cook Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Committee (SMSC)
Term of appointment: October 2008 – 30th June 2019
Outside Business Interest: None

"I was ordained in 1982 and have worked in different parts of the country. Prior to being appointed as the vicar of Wargrave with Knowl Hill 8 years ago I was  based in central London. 

I am aware of the importance of a broad education and appreciative of the Christian foundation of Church Schools. In particular I hope I can contribute to the Christian ethos. Living in the local community means I have wide exposure to young people and their families."


Mr Mark Cowieson Facilities and Pay
Term of appointment: 9th October 2015 – 8th October 2019
Outside Business Interest: None

"I graduated from the University of Dundee in 1997 with a degree in Civil Engineering, then came “down south” to work for a construction company building all manner of small to medium sized projects. After a few years, I joined BAA at Heathrow Airport and spent 8 years there on various projects as a client Project Manager, including parts of the Terminal 5 development and the Terminal 1 redevelopment (although that has now been replaced by the new Terminal 2 building). I currently work for a global engineering and management consultancy (WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff) as a Project Director in our rail business and also lead our business offering for Programme Management & Controls.

I have had a desire to be a part of a Governing  Body for a number of years, but it took my eldest daughter to secure a place at The Piggott School to spur me into action. I’m really pleased to be a part of the Governing Body, and as Facilities Governor, I hope I will be able to draw on my experience to help run and develop the school, not only for my children but for others in the future."

Mrs Joanna Cowley – Safeguarding (designated safeguarding governor) & Chair of the Admissions Committee
Term of appointment: 15th July 2016- 14th July 2020
Outside Business Interest: None

"I currently work as a welfare and benefit advisor for a Christian Charity. Previously I worked as a Social Worker/Care Manager for older people, and adults with disabilities.

I am actively involved in Greyfriars Church and am currently part of the leadership team for Scramblers  (2-3 year-olds).

I belong to a book group and enjoy swimming and running.

I am the governor for safeguarding which I believe matches my skills and experience. I am also a parent at the school.  I became a governor because I wanted to use my experience to give something back to the school.  I also wanted to play a part in ensuring that the Christian values of the school are maintained and developed."

Mrs. Helen Craig - SMSC Committee
Term of appointment: 1st April 2012 – 15th March 2020
Outside Business Interest: None

"From leaving school I worked for the NatWest bank for over 7 years, whilst there I was involved in general branch work and prior to leaving was part of a field based training team.  I then spent the rest of my career in the Mobile Phone Industry mainly in sales and marketing where I had a variety of roles such as Sales Executive, Trainer, Corporate Customer Services Manager and finally Business Manager for o2.  When my first child came along I made the conscious decision to give up work and be a stay at home mum. I have a son who is currently at The Piggott School and a daughter who left this year to attend college.  Over the last 15 years although not in paid employment was very active within the children's Primary School, Vice Chair and then Chair of the PTA and was been involved in running a Parent & Toddler group at the church we attended at that time.

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to join the Governing Body at The Piggott School shortly after my daughter started and enjoy being able to make a contribution to the education not only of my own children but the whole school."

Mr Gary Hughes – Governor for Careers, Leadership and Management, Pay and SALT. Vice-Chair of the Primary School

Term of appointment: 30th June 2014 – 29th June 2022
Outside Business Interest: None

"My wife Anne and I have lived in Charvil for over 20 years and have one daughter who attends Charvil Piggott Primary School. I serve on the Governing Body as a Foundation Governor and regularly attends St Andrews, Sonning. 

For the last eight years I have been Practice Manager of a General Practice in Bracknell, Berkshire. Prior to this I spent over 20 years in the optical and veterinary sectors as business owner, director and manager and have an MBA, a degree in Purchasing & Supply, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Medical Education."


Mr Andrew Shapland – Chair of the Finance Committee
Term of appointment: 27th August 2014 – 26th August 2022
Outside Business Interest: None

"I have been a Governor since 2014. I have 2 children at The Piggott, and became a Governor to contribute to the ongoing success of the School.

I work in Finance, and have little experience with education. I aim to contribute by bringing experience from the corporate sector which further diversifies the range of skills available to the Governing body. 

I am a Foundation Governor, and attend Wycliffe Baptist Church in Reading.

In my spare time I enjoy sport, music and socialising."

Mrs Lucy Walton Special Educational Needs and Admissions Committee
Term of appointment: 16th March 2016 – 15th March 2020
Outside Business Interest: None

"My background is retail, working with the John Lewis Partnership for many years. Following the birth of my daughter Emma , now 21, it became apparent that she had learning delays and so I became a full time Mum. My second daughter also has disabilities so I found myself championing their cause in a way I hadn't expected. Emma attended a school in Woodley with a resource unit and I became a governor there and eventually was Chair. I have helped to set up REACH Wokingham, the independent parents forum for children with additional needs, working closely with WBC, challenging them and consulting with parents. In addition I am also a founder of The Regatta for the Disabled which gives disabled people the opportunity to experience a day on and by the Thames. I care passionately about supporting children like mine through education and now that my son William, who has no additional needs, has started at The Piggott I would like to share that passion and support his education and those who are more vulnerable. I worship regularly at St Mary's in Twyford."


Mr Michael Simpson – Finance, SMSC

Term of appointment: 23rd September 2016 -22nd September 2020

Outside business interest: None

I have lived in Wargrave for 14 years and am a new Governor through my involvement with St Mary’s Church.  I have two sons, including one son who is currently in year 12.

I have run my own market research company for 16 years and before that, I worked for 10 years in various market roles with Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, and was in the British Army for 4 years.   I was also a governor of three schools in London during my service as a local government councillor in Wandsworth.  

I look forward to serving as a governor at the Piggott, and hope that I can make a positive contribution with a combination of my Christian faith, together with my work and life experience.

Mrs Alison Smyly

Term of appointment: 19th November 2018 -18th November 2022

Outside business interest: None

I came to Reading for my first teaching post as a primary school teacher, working in Hampshire initially, then moving to South Oxfordshire and finally to a school in Maidenhead.

Married with three children, our eldest is in Year 8 at Piggott and our other two children attend Sonning CofE Primary. Having been very involved in a Reading town centre church in various roles including children, young youth and running a parent and toddler group drawing in families from the local area, my family and I moved to St Andrew's Church, Sonning and have been members of the congregation for two years.  As a family we are actively involved in church life and currently my main role is leading the Sunday Club team. Since September I have taken on the running of the toddler group in Charvil, known as Caterpillar Club.

It is a privilege to be invited on to the Governing Body and I look forward to serving as a governor at the Piggott School.

Mr Christopher West

Term of appointment: 19th November 2018 -18th November 2022

Outside business interest: None

I have been involved in Christian youth ministry for over 20 years and I have worked in both the statutory and faith sectors in that time. I have a degree in Youth & Community Work and Applied Theology with a JNC. I am married to my wife, Gem, and we have an amazing & funny 8 year old daughter. My hobbies include ping pong and football every week and my favourite time is spent up a mountain either with a snowboard strapped to my feet, or trekking with friends.

As a youth minister I am most passionate about seeing young people fulfil their God given potential and I love to do this through building positive relationships and giving them spaces to learn, grow, discover and ask questions without fear of being judged. 

My hope, as a governor, for The Piggott CofE School is that, together, we will be able to keep growing the students in their faith, resilience, confidence & their understanding and appreciation of others. 


Parent Governors appointed by the Parent Body

Mr Ian Pogue – Finance and Pay
Term of appointment: 12th February 2016 – 11th February 2020
Outside Business Interest: None

"I am a Chartered Accountant, having trained with Deloitte, and whilst I have mainly worked for commercial organisations over the years, since the start of 2015 I have been Director of Finance and Administration at the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).  The RAD is a not for profit organisation that sets standards for dance teaching worldwide. We count more than 1,000 students in our teacher training programmes and around a quarter of a million students are being examined on our syllabi.

 I have a son at Charvil Piggott primary school, and when a vacancy came up as a parent school governor in early 2016, I therefore saw a chance to contribute both my financial and now ongoing educational experience, to hopefully give something back to a vital part of our community."


Marianne Newman – More and most-able, gifted and talented, disadvantaged pupils, designated looked after children governor and SALT Committee

Term of appointment: 22nd January 2018-21st January 2022

Outside business interest: Teacher at Polehampton Junior School


With a daughter in year 7, I was keen to get more involved in school life at the Piggott. I felt that my background in primary education might benefit the governing body and that I could learn a lot along the way too.

I graduated with a BA(Ed) from Durham University in 1997 and moved to London where I gained a wealth of experience teaching different age groups in a wide range of primary schools. We moved to Charvil and I took some time out of work when my children were young. I then returned to teaching in 2012, when I started working part-time at Polehampton Junior School.

I am looking forward to working with the other governors as well as the senior leadership team and headteacher. Following the recent Ofsted inspection, I would like to see how I can help maintain the excellent standards that the school has set and am motivated to ensure that both the senior school and Charvil Piggott Primary continue to improve.

When I’m not playing chauffeur to my active children, I enjoy running, reading and the odd 9 holes of mediocre golf


Community Governor
Appointed by the members of the Trust


Staff Governors appointed by the Staff of The Piggott School


Mr Adam Lawson Admissions
Term of appointment:
1st May 2015 – 30th April 2019
Business Interest: The Piggott School - Teaching Staff, Partner also works at The Piggott School

"I have been a member of staff at The Piggott School for 6 years. Over these years I have held roles including Head of Year, Inclusion Manager and Head of Key Stage and I am a teacher of Business Studies. Before this I studied for a BA in Business Studies at the University of Portsmouth. From here I worked as a Learning Support Assistant before qualifying as a teacher through the West Berkshire Training Partnership. I am passionate about my job as a teacher and thoroughly enjoy working at The Piggott School with both the staff and students being a pleasure to work with. I feel privileged to be a staff governor and to have the opportunity to make a real difference and the chance to contribute to the good of the school community."

Mr Jack Andrews- Facilities
Term of appointment:
30th Sept 2016 to 29th Sept 2020
Business Interest: The Piggott School - Teaching Staff

"After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Marine Geography, I spent a few years in industry before deciding to pursue a career in teaching. I was lucky enough to complete my teacher training at the Piggott and, although there was no teaching position available at the end of my training period, I was delighted to return in 2015 as Head of Geography. Throughout my six years of teaching I have taken on various additional roles including Teaching and Learning Coach, Literacy Coordinator and Teaching Innovation Leader. As a physical geographer, I particularly enjoy the annual A-Level field trip to Slapton Ley and the incredible biennial trip to Iceland – there’s nothing quite like seeing geography in action! During my time at the Piggott I have yet to meet a member of staff who hasn’t been friendly and helpful and I often find myself indebted to those who go above and beyond to support me and the school. As such, I consider it an honour to represent such a wonderful faculty on the board of governors."        

Mrs Joanne Humphrey – Community Outreach
Term of appointment: 1st October 2018 – 30th September 2022
Business Interest: The Piggott School - Teaching Staff

"I am in my 11th year of teaching English and media studies and have been the head of media studies and a teacher of English at The Piggott School for just over four years. Prior to entering the profession, I worked in desktop publishing, advertising and marketing. I completed my degree in English and Media at the University of Leeds and have lived and worked in my home country of the UK and in Australia.

I have one son who attends a different local school where he is in Year 11 and my husband is also a teacher.

I love my job and feel privileged to work at The Piggott School. I am an optimistic practitioner and I am always looking for ways to improve my own practice and to support teachers within my department to do the same.

I became a school governor because I believe I have the necessary interests and skills to make a difference to the strategic direction the school will take for the benefit if its students and staff."

Clerk to Governors

Mrs Rebecca Marr
Appointment started: 
1st December 2013
Outside Business Interest: Colleton Primary - Education- Since 1/12/2013

"I have been the Clerk to Governors since December 2013. I advise the Governing Body on all matters of law and procedure as well as dealing with all of the administration.  I am a qualified solicitor and practiced law for over 11 years in London.  I practiced mainly in litigation and housing law.   I became Head of the Civil Litigation Department and a Director of the Law Practice I worked at, learning skills which are vital for the role as Clerk to Governors.  I left the profession when I had my second child to become a stay at home mum.

My role as the Clerk allows me to utilise my skills whilst working flexibly around my family. I love being able to contribute to the success of such a great school."


For details of the Trustees, Committees and the Governing Body remit please see our executive Summary of the governor role on the "School Goverance" page.


Members of the Academy Trust

1: The Archdeacon of Berkshire – Post currently occupied by The Venerable Olivia Graham

2: The Bishop of Oxford - Post currently occupied by the Reverend Doctor Steven Croft

3: The Oxford Diocesan Board of Education

4. Mr Richard Thiele (appointed on 30th January 2018)

The initial members were all appointed on 24th June 2011.

The members have no relevant pecuniary or business interests.

Mrs Helen Craig was a member of the Academy Trust for the period 1st September 2013 until 26th September 2017. Mrs Craig had no relevant pecuniary or business interests.


For details of the members remit please see our articles of association on the "School Goverance" page.


Governors who have left in the past 12 Months



Body Who Appoints

Length of Office

Responsible For


Start Date

End Date

Jackie Gray Foundation Diocese 4 years Chair of the SMSC Committee   03/11/15 03/12/18
David Woolnough Foundation Diocese 4 years SALT, Chair of the SALT Committee   04/10/10 09/10/18
Nadine Hill Parent Parent Body 4 years Finance / Link governor for GDPR   30/09/16 05/09/18
Alex MacLeod Staff Governor Staff Body 4 years SALT   01/05/15 12/07/18
Jackie Cousins Foundation Governor Diocese 4 years Leadership & Management   24/11/17 5/12/17