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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
Term of appointment: 1st September 2014
Business Interest: The Piggott School - Headteacher

Outside Business Interest: Family member is an employee of SSAT


"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 NPQH in 2007.


I have been Headteacher of The Piggott School: Wargrave Senior and The Piggott School: Charvil Primary since September 2014. I am married with two young children and so my hobbies include scooting, Pokemon, going to the park, feeding ducks, Disney, horse riding lessons, Hockey, violin lessons, gymnastics and occasionally 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 September 2025
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 Wargrave Piggott, SALT, Admissions
Term of Appointment:
15th March 2016 - 14th March 2024 
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 – SMSC

Term of appointment: 30th September 2019 – 29th September 2023

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.


Mrs Joanna Cowley – Safeguarding (designated safeguarding governor), Chair of the Admissions Committee, Primary Committee

Term of appointment: 15th July 2016- 14th July 2024
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."

Mr Gary Hughes – Governor for Careers, pay, SALT, Vice-chair and link governor to key Stage 5

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."


Mrs Lucy Bowley Special Educational Needs and Admissions Committee

Term of appointment: 16th March 2016 – 16th March 2024
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."


Mrs Alison Smyly - Vice Chair of Charvil Piggott, Chair of the SMSC Committee, Chair of the Primary Committee, SALT​​​​​​​

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 at Piggott and our other two children attend the local primary school. Having been very involved in a Reading town centre church in various roles including children’s ministry, young youth and running a parent and toddler group, we now attend and are actively involved in St Andrew's Church, Sonning and have been members of the congregation for two years. 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 - SMSC, disadvantaged pupils, more and most able, gifted and talented

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 C of E School is that, together, we will be able to keep growing the students in their faith, resilience, confidence & their understanding and appreciation of others. 


Mr Matt Perowne -  Chair of the Finance Committee

Term of appointment: 14th December 2018 – 13th December 2022

Outside business interest: None


I am an equities fund manager at the Korean Sovereign Wealth Fund. I invest in European companies, and regularly meet their executive officers, discussing their finances and strategic initiatives to improve performance.  I hope to use my knowledge here to effect as a Foundation Governor of this wonderful and impressive school.

I am married to Issy, who is a solicitor in London, and we met at Durham.  We have three children, the eldest of which is five - hence am also skilled in changing nappies and ferrying them to parties.  We regularly attend St. Mary's in Wargrave.

I started my working life as a Chartered Surveyor at Jones Lang LaSalle, before switching into Equities for the last ten years.


Mrs Nichola Stewart-Tennant - SMSC and disadvantaged and more and most able, gifted, and talented pupils 

Term of appointment: 26th November 2019- 25th November 2023

Outside business interest: None.

My daughter has just started at Charvil Piggott and I am hoping over the years to add value and contribute towards the ongoing success of the school as a whole.

I have a BSc. in Biochemistry and Physiology as well as a PGCE in Primary Education. My career background was originally in IT sales and I worked in an IT security company as a manager of a consulting sales team and as a program manager for some of our consulting partners.

More recently I trained to be a teacher as I massively value education and have a huge drive to make sure that each child is doing as well as they can. In addition I have a special interest in the success (as well as wellbeing) of those from disadvantaged backgrounds or who have any additional needs.

I have taught in private and public schools as well as at Sunday school, mainly within the early years. I currently have a 5 year old and 2 year old and am fully focussed on being a stay at home mum with a hope to completing my Special Educational Needs Coordinator qualification over the next couple of years.

I enjoy dance classes, aerobics, running, reading and socialising. 


Dr Thanda Mhlanga - SEN/Equalities, Primary

Term of appointment: 6th May 2021- 5th May 2024

Outside business interest: None.

I am a ‘cultural-insider’ in the UK education system: I have held teaching, lecturing, teacher training, inspection and leadership and management roles across the three sectors of Compulsory Education, Further Education and Higher Education in Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire.   

I have a MA in Educational Leadership and Management and a PhD in the same field. However, the latter particularly focused in Critical Management Studies (CMS) – a field that is critical of established social practices and institutional arrangements. CMS contends that dominant theories and practices of management and organisation systematically favour some groups and/or interests at the expense of those who are disadvantaged by them. This background underpins my worldview: I do not only want to understand and explain status quo; I am committed to analysing social conditions and contributing towards the development of a more rationale and just society. Education is central to this objective.

As an educator, it dawned on me that a high proportion of students from marginalised or disadvantaged backgrounds were underachieving compared to their counterparts from advantaged backgrounds. This realisation triggered an interest in the field of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – a field that I perceive as a commitment and a moral obligation. Consequently, I have dedicated most of my professional and academic life to challenging the UK education system to diversify and ‘inclusivise’ its curriculum so that all students can have a sense of belonging, grow, blossom and reach their full potential irrespective of their background. My passion for critiquing management and organisational policies and culture led me to leave the academe last year and take a role in the NHS where I am advocating for critical engagement with structural and systemic inequality.

I am married to Petronella – a Business Manager in the NHS. We have two kids: a 5 year old son at Charvil Piggott Primary School and a daughter who will be starting at the school this year. I am hoping that over the next few years I will be able to add value and contribute to the outstanding culture and ethos at the school.


Parent Governors appointed by the Parent Body

Mr Ian Pogue – Finance, Pay, Primary
Term of appointment: 12th February 2016 – 11th February 2024
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 – Chair of the SALT Committee, Primary, Disadvantaged pupils, designated looked after children governor​​​​​​​

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



Mr James Bell - Facilities and finance

Term of appointment:  1st  February 2019 -  31st January 2023.


Outside Business Interest:

A coach of AFC Charvil,  a Charvil Parish Councillor and has had a professional relationship with the Piggott School’s Auditors.


Community Governor
Appointed by the members of the Trust

Mr Mark Cowieson -  Chair of the Facilities Committee and Pay

Term of appointment: 26th November 2019-25th November 2023

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. 


Staff Governors appointed by the Staff of The Piggott School

Mrs Joanne Humphrey Admissions, Facilities
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 Governance" page.


Governors who have left in the past 12 Months



Body Who Appoints

Length of Office

Responsible For


Start Date

End Date

Michaela Wright Staff Staff Body 4 Years SMSC   05/03/19 09/03/20
Andrew Shapland Foundation Diocese 6 Years Finance Chair of the Finance Committee 27/08/14 31/08/20
Jack Andrews Staff Staff Body 4 Years Facilities   30/09/16 29/09/20
Helen Craig Foundation Diocese 8 years   SMSC & Facilities 01/04/12 04/12/20
Michael Simpson Foundation Diocese 4 years Finance   23/09/16 05/02/21