Who are we?

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.

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. 

Read about some of our team below.

The day-to-day administration of Schoolreaders is run by a small team of paid staff who are based at our offices in Gloucestershire. These full-time staff are assisted by a management committee of volunteers, and by a nationwide network of volunteer county teams (with each county being led by a County Ambassador), who spread the word about the scheme in their local areas. 

You can read about all of us below.

 
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Founder and Trustee

JANE WHITBREAD

Treasurer and Trustee
MICHAEL SCOTT

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.

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.  

Communications Director and Trustee
LUCY COPEMAN

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.

ALICE GARNETT

SUE LOUSADA DL

Fundraising Director

Management Committee Member

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.

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. 

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 and Trustee

See Lucy's biography in

'Our Leadership Team'

Trustee
STEVEN BRYAN

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.

Trustee
VICKI WIENAND

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. 

Special Adviser
KATE FULFORD

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.

Special Adviser
JANE FERGUSON

Jane Ferguson joined School Readers 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.

Trustee
SHANNAN STEVENSON

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.

Trustee
ALEX MOORE

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.

 
OUR ADMIN STAFF

Director, The Trust Partnership

JOHANNA TOMPSETT

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.

Administrator, The Trust Partnership

BIANCA MYERS

Accounts Dept, The Trust Partnership

ANNE PALMER

Administrator, The Trust Partnership

CORA BUTLER

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.

Cora is an Administrator for the Schoolreaders scheme, having worked previously in Customer Service and Financial Administration. She is a mother of two, and enjoys reading with her children. She has listened to the children read at her daughter's primary school and understands the importance of these extra reading sessions.

Bianca has a degree in English and a passion for reading and education. After graduating she worked in a customer-based role before joining The Trust Partnership administration team in July 2016. Bianca provides day-to-day administrative support for both volunteers and schools on the Schoolreaders scheme.  

 
OUR EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS

IT Systems and Fundraising Consultant

ED SCOTT

VANESSA HUTTON

Fundraiser

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. 

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.

 
OUR VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

CHRIS CERNIK

Management Committee Member

Chris qualified as a teacher in 1977.  She taught in London for several years before taking a career break to have children.  She returned to the classroom in 1990 and was a Deputy Headteacher for eight years and a Headteacher for 10 years. During this time her school earned two ‘Outstanding’ judgements from Ofsted.  Chris has also had several roles within education other than class teaching, among them working with Special Needs pupils. She says, ‘I am very happy to be a part of Schoolreaders as I know from first-hand experience the impact reading skills can have on people's lives’.

Management Committee Member

CAROLINE EGAR

Caroline was one of the founder members of Schoolreaders; she had been volunteering at her local primary school in Bedfordshire for several years, and was delighted to be asked to be involved at  Schoolreaders’ inception in 2013.  Her previous 11 years’ experience as a charity administrator and involvement with a number of charitable committees has stood Schoolreaders in good stead.  Caroline believes that the scheme offers an amazing opportunity to improve literacy across the country.

County Ambassador Representative

BELINDA CHAMBERS

Belinda spent her early working life in the fashion industry in London, but returned to her native Hertfordshire 27 years ago.  While her three children were still young she started a Christmas Fair, which has now become an annual event, and which raised money initially for the NSPCC and subsequently for Addenbrookes Hospital.  Belinda was a Trustee for Addenbrookes Charitable Trust for four years and has been involved with Saffron Walden Cancer Research UK for the last 20 years.   

ALISON HUBBARD

Development Co-ordinator

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.  

Management Committee Member

VICTORIA DIGGLE

After leaving Cambridge University, 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.

Management Committee Member

GILLY RIACH

Gilly is a Headteacher of fifteen years standing and has lead 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.

 
OUR VOLUNTEER COUNTY TEAMS

Buckinghamshire Ambassador

CARAGH BARNES

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.

Norfolk Ambassador

KAREN BROMHAM

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.

Leicestershire and Rutland Ambassador

LIZ CAVELL-TAYLOR

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. 

Hertfordshire Ambassador

BELINDA CHAMBERS

Belinda spent her early working life in the fashion industry in London, but returned to her native Hertfordshire 27 years ago.  While her three children were still young she started a Christmas Fair, which has now become an annual event, and which raised money initially for the NSPCC and subsequently for Addenbrookes Hospital.  Belinda was a Trustee for Addenbrookes Charitable Trust for four years and has been involved with Saffron Walden Cancer Research UK for the last 20 years.  

SUZANNE BUCKLAND

Nottinghamshire 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.

Suffolk Ambassador

TRACY ROGERS

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'.

Dorset Ambassador

ROSIE CUNNINGHAM

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!’

Oxfordshire Ambassador

LAURA KENYON-SLANEY

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.

Essex Ambassador

LORNA ROLFE  DL

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.

Suffolk Ambassador

BUMBLE GAMBIER

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’.

County Supporter, Leicestershire and Rutland

NICKY RAMSDEN

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’.

Wiltshire Ambassador

SERENA WHITBREAD

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.  

 
OUR AUTHOR SUPPORTERS

TONY DE SAULLES

Author Supporter

Tony de Saulles’ background is in graphic design and typography.  His skill as a cartoonist saw him working on the best-selling multi award-winning ‘Horrible Science’ series for many years.  The ‘Horrible Science’ books have sold in their millions around the world, and spin-offs include a highly successful range of experiment kits from Galt Toys, a theatre show from the Birmingham Stage Company and a children’s television series on ITV.  Tony’s own books include ‘The Deep Dark Sea’ (2015), ‘The Loch Ness Monster Spotters’ (2017), and he has recently published the first book in a planned trilogy, ‘Bee Boy – Clash of the Killer Queens’ (2018).   Tony holds lots of workshops where he shares his love of creating funny and informative cartoons; ‘I’ve visited many of the big book festivals – it’s great to escape the studio every now and then! Life is strange – I used to be told off at school for doodling and now I get paid for it!’

Author Supporter

SOPHIE KINSELLA

Author Supporter

CATHERINE ALLIOTT

Catherine  Alliott started writing in 1983 having previously been a copywriter in an advertising agency.  She is the author of fifteen best-selling novels, the most recent of which, ‘About Last Night’, is published by Penguin.  She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three children.  She says, ‘I am delighted to support this amazing organisation, Schoolreaders, which is already greatly improving children's literacy’.

Author Supporter

LUCY LETHBRIDGE

Lucy Lethbridge is a writer of books on social history, and is the author of several books for children.  Shehas written extensively on the ‘below-stairs’ life of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, digging deep into the often strange, and sometimes revolting methods used to maintain household cleanliness.  Lucy also writes for magazines and newspapers including 'The Observer', 'The Sunday Telegraph', 'The Independent on Sunday' and 'The Times Literary Supplement'. She has been Literary Editor of both 'The Tablet' and 'The Catholic Herald'.  For the excellent children’s history series, ‘Who Was ….?’, Lucy tackled characters as diverse as ‘St Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals’ and ‘Annie Oakley, Sharpshooter of the Wild West’.  Her book on ‘Ada Lovelace, the Computer Wizard of Victorian Britain’, won the Blue Peter Book Award for non-fiction in 2002.

At the age of 24, while working as a financial journalist, Sophie Kinsella (whose real name is Madeleine Wickham) wrote her first novel. ‘The Tennis Party’ was an immediate success with critics and the public and became a top-ten best-seller.  Sophie has since published more than 20 novels, mostly under the name of Sophie Kinsella (her own middle name and her mother's maiden name).  She is best known for her ‘Shopaholic’ series which focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a City journalist incapable of managing her own finances.  Sophie has recently turned to writing fiction for a younger audience, with the publication of ‘Finding Audrey’ – for the Young Adult market – and ‘Mummy Fairy and Me’.

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Registered Office: 6 Trull Farm Buildings, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8SQ