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Schoolreaders was founded in 2013 with twelve participating schools and a handful of volunteers.  The response to the scheme has been fantastic, and  we are already well on the way to forming a nationwide network of schools and volunteers.

Who are we?

Schoolreaders come from all sorts

of backgrounds - the thing that unites them is their genuine passion for inspiring children with a love of books and giving them the skills to read confidently. Many of our volunteers have been with the scheme since it started, and say that their school visits are one of the high points of their week. 

Click here to go to our 'All About Volunteering' page where you can read profiles of some of our volunteer readers. 

The day-to-day administration of Schoolreaders is run by a small team of paid staff who are based at our offices in Bedford. These full-time staff are assisted by a management committee of volunteers, and by a nationwide network of county teams, all of whom are also volunteers.

 

Follow these links to read about our:

- Leadership Team

- Trustees and Special Advisers

- Admin Staff

- External Consultants

- Management Committee

- Volunteer County Teams

We're very lucky that many

wonderful writers and illustrators

are supporters of the Schoolreaders scheme and endorse our efforts to make good literacy skills available to every child. 

 

Read about our 'Author Supporters'

by clicking here.  

 

OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Jane started Schoolreaders in 2013 and has been delighted by the way it has been welcomed in the educational field.  Jane’s early career was in marketing and product development with Unilever, United Biscuits, Johnson& Johnson.  She subsequently set up an NGO in South Africa in 2001 in the health and welfare field, a related trust in the UK, and runs a business in the tourism sector. Jane has also been President of the British Red Cross in Bedfordshire since 2012.  She lives in Bedfordshire, has four children and enjoys natural history, travel and sunshine.

JANE WHITBREAD, Founder and Trustee

Alice has worked in the voluntary sector for almost 30 years. She began fundraising at the RNID (now Action on Hearing Loss) before becoming Assistant Director of Fundraising at Sense where she was responsible for Corporate, Trusts, Events and Major Donor Fundraising. In 2001 she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Voluntary Sector Management at Cass Business School then worked as a freelance consultant for 16 years, advising charities on their fundraising strategy as well as mentoring and coaching their Directors, particularly in issues related to fundraising.  Past clients include Breast Cancer Haven, Thomley Activity Centre and St James School Durban.  Married with three daughters, Alice is a keen flautist and a Founder Member of the King John Orchestra in Cambridge.

ALICE GARNETT, Fundraising Director

Michael Scott is a founder Trustee of Schoolreaders following 8 years as Finance Governor at a village Lower School in Bedfordshire.  He was a partner at Grant Thornton, Chartered Accountants, for over 26 years, and is delighted to be helping more children improve their literacy and life chances. In his spare time, Michael enjoys tennis, skiing, theatre, France and the Philharmonia Orchestra.  

MICHAEL SCOTT, Treasurer and Trustee

Lucy is a mother of two and runs a cut flower farm in Bedfordshire. For ten years before that she was a Director of Public Relations in a City agency. She is an active fundraiser and organiser for charities, and serves on the Bedfordshire county committees of the NSPCC and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Her interests include music and choral singing.

LUCY COPEMAN, Communications Director and Trustee

Although trained as a bio-chemist, Sue’s career has seen her working primarily in business.   Sue sits as a non-legal member of the First-tier Tax Tribunal, and is also Vice-Chair of a research ethics committee in Oxford.  Sue is active in a number of local and national charities and is a Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire. 

SUE LOUSADA DL, Management Committee Member

Jo has worked as a Chartered Accountant for over 20 years, working in the City of London for many years and now in private practice in Bedfordshire.  As a mother to three young children Jo is particularly passionate about literacy and education. She serves as parent governor in her children’s school and is active in local governance and education. She loves travel, music and the arts and spending time with her family.

JO HAWKINS, Treasurer

 

and Trustee

OUR TRUSTEES AND SPECIAL ADVISERS

JANE WHITBREAD

Founder and Trustee

See Jane's biography in

'Our Leadership Team'

MICHAEL SCOTT

Treasurer and Trustee

See Michael's biography in 'Our Leadership Team'

LUCY COPEMAN

Communications Director 

See Lucy's biography in 'Our Leadership Team'

Steven is a partner at the international law firm Hogan Lovells specialising in Corporate Law. He is a trustee of Room For Work, a charity focused on employability skills and networking for mature professionals, and is Church Warden of the parish church of St John's Hampton Wick in Hampton, Middlesex.  He lives in Surrey, has three adult children and enjoys tennis, sailing, cycling, skiing, travel and art.

STEVEN BRYAN, Trustee

Jane joined Schoolreaders as a special advisor in January 2018.  Over a career of 40 years, Jane has worked as Deputy Headteacher of a Special School for children with learning and physical disabilities, before becoming Headteacher of a primary school, which she led for 29 years. Jane has an advanced qualification in the education of children with Special Educational Needs, and was a Governor of a Special School for children with Severe Learning Difficulties.  Jane was a School Improvement Partner and National Leader of Education, and is a Leading Science Teacher; she still works as an independent consultant improving science and leadership in primary schools and is an experienced contracted inspector for Ofsted.

JANE FERGUSON, Special Adviser

Katie has worked in publishing for 30 years and for over 20 years at HarperCollins across a wide range of divisions including Childrens, 4th Estate, Collins and Non-fiction. As Special Projects Director she is currently running HarperCollins Productions, a new department specialising in developing book content for TV. She has been involved in Literacy for many years and was a founder member of the Publishing Association’s Reading For Pleasure initiative and also sits on the Executive Committee of World Book Day. She has three children and lives in Hampshire. In her spare time she enjoys tennis, skiing and reading.

KATE FULFORD, Special Adviser

Having worked in education for almost 30 years Helen is currently a SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) in a primary school in Central Bedfordshire. She is also an advisory teacher for pupils who have Down's Syndrome, a role which enables her to work across a number of counties and to work with pupils of all ages. Helen is very involved in the Bedfordshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group and was Chair of the charity for approximately 10 years.

HELEN LONG, Special Adviser

Alex is a Year 3 class teacher at a prep school in High Wycombe, having moved there after several years working with disadvantaged children at a local school with specific responsibility for boosting the children’s self-esteem as well as raising their numeracy and literacy  levels.
She is married and has 3 adult children. Alex is an active member of her local church where she helps to lead the women’s work. She also enjoys playing tennis, skiing and spending time in Cornwall.

ALEX MOORE, Trustee

Shannan is a Senior Advisor at the international management consultancy firm McKinsey.  Previously he was President & Company Officer at Procter & Gamble (P&G), leading organisations on the ground in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Throughout his business career, Shannan has had a keen interest in furthering the provision of core education skills amongst young people.  Whilst living in China, he led P&G’s work with the China Youth Development Foundation in the provision of “Project Hope” schools for disadvantaged children.  Shannan is married with four adult children and lives in Norfolk and London.

SHANNAN STEVENSON, Trustee

Vicki has taught English Language and Literature in the UK and abroad for many years and is now a freelance writer and editor. She is co-Series Editor of the Cambridge School Shakespeare Series, published by Cambridge University Press. Before joining the board of Schoolreaders, she was a trustee of two local charities seeking to improve the mental health of young people and she is now a pastoral mentor in a local secondary school. She is currently a trustee of the Shakespeare Schools Foundation. Married with three adult children, Vicki enjoys going to the theatre, walking with her dogs and travelling.

VICKI WIENAND, Trustee

 

OUR ADMIN STAFF

Laura works in the Operations team, dealing with the volunteers and schools on a daily basis. Her background is in retail buying and customer engagement, and she has a degree in Forensic Science. Laura lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and young daughter.

LAURA ABBAS, Operations Team

Annabel manages the team who deal with our reading volunteers and schools on a day-to-day basis. Her background is in customer service, training delivery and logistics. Originally from Yorkshire, Annabel now lives in Hertfordshire and has two children at primary school and is also the chair of their PTA.

ANNABEL COX, Operations Manager

Lesley joined Schoolreaders when we opened our new head office in Bedford in November 2018. She grew up in Scotland, and attended Aberystwyth University in Wales where she earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Whilst at university she was involved in a charitable society which raised funds for Breast Cancer Care and CoppaFeel! Lesley now lives in Bedfordshire and spends most of her spare time reading, writing short fiction and baking celebration cakes.

LESLEY HOUSTON, Administration Assistant

Vicky's background in bookselling made a move to Schoolreaders a natural progression.  Having spent 14 years as a shop manager for three branches of Waterstones, and provided Operations Support for 15 others Waterstones outlets in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, Vicky has a comprehensive knowledge of the book trade, and is an office all-rounder with experience of payroll and rota administration.  In their spare time, Vicky and her partner enjoy messing around on the river in canoes and on paddle boards.

VICKY JOWETT, Operations Co-ordinator

Sarah is an Operations Coordinator in the Schoolreaders team. She interviews the volunteers and matches them to schools. Sarah has a degree in psychology and her background includes social work, customer service and working with offenders. Sarah lives in Northamptonshire with her husband and two daughters.

SARAH LAMPLOUGH, Operations Team

Anne joined The Trust Partnership accounting team in 2014. Anne works closely with the Treasurer, fundraising and administration teams, providing financial support to Schoolreaders. Having qualified as a chartered accountant she moved into the charity sector ten years ago, working for a UK charity which assists local organisations in Zambia that help orphans and vulnerable children gain access to education.

ANNE PALMER, Accounts Department, The Trust Partnership

Johanna is a Director of The Trust Partnership and manages Schoolreaders' team of administrators.  Johanna supported the initial registration of the charity with the Charity Commission and since then has recruited the team members working on the scheme. Johanna provides day-to-day support and liaison with the Schoolreaders' Trustees. As a mother of two primary school children, Johanna appreciates just how much difference Schoolreaders makes to the children it supports.

JOHANNA TOMPSETT, Director, The Trust Partnership

Zoe originally worked in retail banking and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians. Zoe has spent the last 10 years working in the charity sector and now works part-time as an accountant in Bedford as well as working part time for Schoolreaders.  Zoe is married with three adult children. She likes gardening, keeping fit, and holidaying in Norfolk.

ZOE WATSON, Finance Team

EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS

Working closely with the Management Committee, Ed has worked with the charity since 2014, helping us expand the scheme from very small beginnings to its present scale, and championing the use of new technologies to streamline our operations.  With a background in IT consultancy and operations management, Edward has special expertise in developing systems and programmes aimed at improving partner engagement. Edward's earlier experience included designing a unique training programme which encouraged digital creativity in schools, in order to improve children’s literacy and pupil engagement. In his spare time, Edward is a keen runner and he recently completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon on behalf of Schoolreaders. 

ED SCOTT, IT Systems and Fundraising Consultant

Vanessa helps our Fundraising team with a focus on applying to charitable trusts for funding.  She has a degree in English Literature but her initial professional interest was in environmental policy and law, and she has worked as an intern in environmental policy in both the European Commission, Brussels, and at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Vanessa went on to study English law and qualified as an English solicitor, working for four years as a Company Commercial solicitor.  She then took a career break to have a family and now lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and two young sons. Her interests include music, singing, cooking and needlework.

VANESSA HUTTON, Fundraiser

 

OUR MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Alison, who joined Schoolreaders as Development Co-ordinator in 2017, has been Chair of Governors at her local primary school for 13 years, and sees first-hand the benefits of having Schoolreaders in the school.   Alison was previously Chair of the local pre-school committee and is also involved with local Brownie and Guide groups.

ALISON HUBBARD, Development Co-ordinator

After leaving Cambridge, Victoria spent 10 years working in the art world, initially as editor of a fine art periodical, ‘Christie’s Magazine’ (produced by Christie’s Auctioneers), and latterly formulating business-getting pitches for Christie’s.  She won a scholarship to study garden design in 2000, and set up a successful garden design business, working in London and Bedfordshire.  Victoria now lives in Bedfordshire and is active in a number of local charities. Victoria runs the Schoolreaders website, and edits our Newsletter. 

VICTORIA DIGGLE, Management Committee Member

Gilly is a Headteacher of fifteen years standing and has led four Bedfordshire schools, some of them in challenging circumstances. All have made rapid improvements. Gilly describes her primary aim as a Headteacher as the enhancement of learning for all.  She particularly enjoys working in Church Schools, developing a spiritual ethos and embedding Christian values at the heart of each school.  Gilly has taught at all stages of primary school, and has also taught Hearing Impaired and Language Provision children.  She has spent time working as an Education Consultant, coaching and mentoring staff in schools, and leading Primary National Strategies at a local level.

GILLY RIACH, Management Committee Member

 
 

OUR VOLUNTEER COUNTY TEAMS

Caragh grew up in Cornwall. A degree in Geology at Oxford led her to eight years working as an Exploration Geologist in the oil industry. She lived in London for 15 years, where she studied for an MSc at Birkbeck College, married and then moved into full time motherhood, having four children. Caragh then spent spells in Buckinghamshire, Holland and Ireland.  It was while living in Dublin that Caragh trained and worked as a volunteer teaching adults to read. Now back in Buckinghamshire, Caragh’s children are of university age, and she spends time as a regular volunteer in prisons.

CARAGH BARNES, Buckinghamshire Ambassador

Karen lived in Eastern Africa for a number of years before settling with her family in Norfolk where both of her children attended secondary school. She has a background in Marketing, Development and Fundraising and was one of the first cohort in the UK to complete the Certificate in Fundraising for Schools.  Karen is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She has a strong interest in literacy having worked in schools as both a relief teacher and Director of Development.

KAREN BROMHAM, Norfolk Ambassador

Suzanne spent a decade working in London in Marketing before moving to Nottinghamshire. She became involved in fundraising and charity events for her children's school, and was active helping the younger children to read. She also learnt Sign Language to Level 2 and became a volunteer in a school to help a child with hearing difficulties. She has also been a volunteer in a Nursing Home as an Activities Co-ordinator.

SUZANNE BUCKLAND, Nottinghamshire Ambassador

Liz left London after a decade-long career in marketing involving charities, such as The National Garden Scheme, to return to her native Rutland 25 years ago.  In addition to bringing up three daughters, now all grown up, she founded and still runs a bespoke travel business.  She is an active organiser and fundraiser for charities including disability wheelchair tennis. 

LIZ CAVELL-TAYLOR, Leicestershire and Rutland Ambassador

Rosie works in Public Relations, promoting brands to the press.  She lives near Sherborne, Dorset, and has children at primary and secondary schools in the area. She has spent four years as a Governor of a local primary school, and has, for three years, worked as a reading volunteer with children in Key Stages 1 and 2. Rosie has witnessed first-hand the importance of reading with children daily, and says that ‘the lightbulb moment when everything falls into place for a child who then takes off into what was a daunting world is fantastic!’

ROSIE CUNNINGHAM, Dorset Ambassador

Bumble has been involved in numerous charitable and fundraising projects in Suffolk, many of them focused around the junior school attended by her three children.  She says, ‘I am delighted to be involved with Schoolreaders because I am passionate about reading and love the idea of local children benefitting from our volunteers and the Schoolreaders service’.

BUMBLE GAMBIER, Suffolk Ambassador

Following a career in the City, Jo moved to Hampshire where she runs her own small bespoke stationery business.  She has been a Governor of an infant school, and has helped as a reading assistant and with other activities at her local school.   Jo is married and has two grown-up children.  She shares her home with her dogs, chickens, and some rescue donkeys.

JO GAMMELL, Hampshire Ambassador

Amanda has lived in Essex for the past 20 years and is the mother of four grown-up children.  At one time, she ran her own restaurant in Spain before going on to manage a restaurant in the City of London for several years.  She then qualified and worked as a TEFL teacher. Since 2008, Amanda has worked for International Justice Mission UK (an anti-slavery/trafficking NGO) as a volunteer on the Business Operations team and she regularly gives presentations on their work. For the past 15 years she has also enjoyed her work with the charity ‘Riding for the Disabled’.

AMANDA GERRY, Essex Ambassador

Mandy has lived in Cornwall for over 30 years, 25 of which were spent working as a vet before diversifying into teaching English to adult foreign language students and some part-time ceramic work. She was a primary school governor for 8 years when her now adult children were pupils and was invited back onto the board 3 years ago, so maintains an active involvement with the school. She is also trying to make time to do more travelling as well as a variety of watersports, walking, snowboarding, tennis and is struggling with being an adult beginner cellist.

MANDY KELLAGHER, Cornwall Ambassador

Overseas postings to South Africa and Australia before a return to the UK meant that Laura’s three children grew up experiencing a number of very different educational systems.  It was obvious to Laura that whatever the system used in local schools, the one-to-one time spent with a patient adult was tremendously helpful in building their confidence and improving their reading.  Laura’s family has now settled in Oxfordshire, where they have built their own house, and Laura is a Schoolreader in her local school.

LAURA KENYON-SLANEY, Oxfordshire Ambassador

Nicky has lived in Leicestershire for 20 years.  As well as having taught yoga for the last 15 years, Nicky is active in a number of voluntary roles, acting as secretary of the church council, and fundraiser for VIP Companionship for older people.  Nicky has three children, four dogs and lots of chickens.  She grew up in Kenya, and has spent time living in Madrid.  Nicky believes strongly in the power of the Schoolreaders approach, ‘It's a clever idea to match volunteers with the young -  and I know that reading is fundamental to my life’.

NICKY RAMSDEN, Leicestershire and Rutland Ambassador

With a Master’s Degree and a business background in consumer marketing, American-born Tracy has spent the last 15 years in the voluntary sector, principally in her local area, Suffolk. In 2003 she started ‘Young Art East Anglia’, an art exhibition for primary school children, which raises funds for Cancer Research UK. Tracy is enthusiastic about being a Schoolreaders Ambassador, saying 'improving literacy gives children a better start and helps them in life - good for them and good for society'.

TRACY ROGERS, Suffolk Ambassador

On graduating, Lorna joined Marks and Spencer, and became their first female commercial manager. After ten years with M&S, Lorna moved on to work as a management consultant, and ultimately became Managing Director of a family business, a position she still holds.  At the same time, she was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and has been closely involved with the Magistracy, chairing training and development groups in Essex.  Lorna has also been a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for nine years.  Her other interests include choral singing, and she supports a number of heritage projects in Essex.  Lorna was High Sheriff of Essex in 2016-2017, and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant in June 2017.

LORNA ROLFE, Essex Ambassador

Serena works as a property manager looking after residential and commercial property in Wiltshire, and has three grown-up children.  She has a level-3 qualification in Counselling, and has volunteered at the Rainbow Trust in Swindon. The Rainbow Trust supports families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness and need special support; Serena’s role was to talk to both children and parents about their day-to-day worries and fears.  Serena’s interests include sport, travel and reading.

SERENA WHITBREAD, Wiltshire Ambassador

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