Staff and Governors

A vibrant learning community

The strength of the relationships between staff and students is remarkably empowering. The equality at Leighton Park drives participation, acceptance and respect, sparking a mutual motivation for innovation and achievement.

The Leighton Park difference

Guided by our Head, Matthew Judd, and his leadership team, our 100+ teaching staff are responsible for academic tuition, co-curricular activities and pastoral care. Support staff assist with administration and maintenance to ensure the continuous smooth running of the School.

Jan, our Chair of Governors, is contactable via the Clerk to the Governing Body by email at bursar@leightonpark.com or in writing to: Jan Digby, c/o the Clerk to the Governing Body, Leighton Park School, Old School, Shinfield Road, Reading, RG2 7ED

Key – (Q) = Quaker Governor | (OL) = Old Leightonian

Leighton Park Leadership Team

Leighton Park Staff and Governors headshot

Matthew Judd Head

Matthew Judd has over 25 years’ experience of working in independent schools. He is a graduate of the University of Swansea and Queens’ College, Cambridge, reading Geography then Education. During his career Matthew has been a Head of Department and Housemaster at leading HMC schools, and Principal of a fifth and sixth form College in Central London. Prior to joining Leighton Park as Head, he was Second Master and Head of the Preparatory Schools at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys School, Elstree, which was selected as the Sunday Times Independent School of the Year in his final year. He has been chair of trustees at an education charity, a principal examiner and serves as schools inspector and a school governor. Matthew lives on the Park with his husband.

Email: head@leightonpark.com

Leighton Park Staff and Governors headshot

Eddie Falshaw Deputy Head

Eddie Falshaw has been teaching History for over 20 years. A History graduate of Middlesex University, he completed his PGCE at the University of York before taking up residence at Rossall School as a History Master, Rugby Coach and Deputy Housemaster. Before joining Leighton Park, Eddie was Head of History at Hereford Cathedral School for eleven years, where he also ran the 1st XV, 1st VII and 1st XI. He has experience of examining at GCSE, A and EPQ level and has a lifelong thirst for learning, gaining an MA in History and currently completing his doctoral studies on the topic of technology in education. He is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and has delivered speeches for conferences in the UK and China as well as acting as a schools inspector. A passionate Churchillian, traveller and sportsman, he lives on the Park with his wife, daughters and dog Buddy.

Email: EdwardFalshaw@leightonpark.com

nicky hardy

Nicky Hardy Deputy Head (Pastoral)

Nicky Hardy has over 25 years experience of working in Education. She gained a BA(Ed) Hons with QTS in Physical Education, subsidiary in English and Drama from the University of Exeter and an MA(Ed) in Education Leadership from the University of Southampton. Nicky has further qualifications in PSHE, Careers Education and Guidance and she holds a National Professional Qualification for Headship. Nicky started her teaching career in an outstanding girls’ school on the South Coast, where she led a very successful department.  She has lectured trainee teachers at the University of Brighton and she has been a senior leader in a local Wokingham co-ed secondary school. Nicky is a keen equestrian and takes the co-curricular horse riding hobby. She also plays hockey for Henley HC and assists with the coaching of the 1st squad hockey team at school.

Alex Wallace Deputy Head (Academic)

Alex Wallace has been a Geography teacher for over 20 years. He studied at Birmingham University before completing his PGCE at Bath University. Alex has taught across all sectors of education during his career; state, grammar and independent.
Alex began teaching in Oxfordshire, one of his early highlights was building an academic partnership with a school in Rwanda. He was part of several student and staff exchanges. Before joining Leighton Park, Alex was the Deputy Headmaster at The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. Here, he led the day to day running of school and the Teaching and Learning. During his time at RGS Alex also coached the Under 15 rugby side to the National Final at Twickenham.
A keen sportsman himself, he has played both semi-professional rugby and cricket. As age has started to catch up on him, he is now more likely to be found with a golf club or tennis racket in hand!
Alex’s very first taste of teaching was in South Africa before university. It was also during this year that he met his wife, Amy. They now live on the Park with their three children, George, Charlie and William.
keith eldridge

Keith Eldridge Bursar

Keith Eldridge has more than ten years’ experience in education finance and administration. He has an Economics degree from the University of Leicester and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young, working on audits of charities and commercial businesses. He then worked in London and Frankfurt with KPMG Corporate Finance providing advisory services to a wide range of businesses before joining London Stock Exchange plc as Corporate Finance Manager. Prior to Leighton Park, Keith was Bursar at St Andrew’s School in Pangbourne and Finance Director at John Madejski Academy. Keith lives in Goring with his wife and two children.

John Burnett Director of Marketing and Admissions

John Burnett is a Chartered Marketer with over ten years’ experience in education marketing. Prior to Leighton Park, John oversaw UCL’s recruitment of graduate and European students and also spent two years leading the university’s Digital Communications function. John worked in Swaziland for two years as part of the Skillshare International contract with DFID, where he established a Fair Trade agro-processing business – creating rural livelihoods for people in some of the poorest parts of the country. John lives in Winchester with his wife and three children.

Natasha Coccia Senior Assistant Head (Co-Curricular and Partnerships)

Natasha has worked in education for over twenty years in state and independent schools. After reading Drama at Trinity College Dublin, she was awarded a full scholarship at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to classically train as an actor and went on to complete an MA in Shakespeare and PGCE in London. She has worked in inner London state schools for 12 years and was a senior leader in Hackney, driving whole school improvement in academic enrichment, co-curricular and partnership programmes. She is passionate about inclusive pastoral care in schools and began doctoral studies on the relationship between teen identity and the arts before focusing on gaining her National Qualification for Senior Leadership. Natasha lives on the Park with her sons and Woody the cockapoo.

Mary Boyd Director of Studies, Head of Maths

With almost a quarter of a century’s experience in leading Independent Day and Boarding Schools in England, namely King’s, Sevenoaks and Bryanston, including three years overseas in Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, Mary has relished being a teacher, Tutor, Departmental Head, Head of Sixth Form, IBDP Coordinator and Member of Academic Leadership Teams as well as being an A Level and IBDP examiner and IBDP IA moderator.  A true believer in the power of education for a better and more peaceful world, as a life-long learner, Mary is an avid reader who loves to develop her intercultural understanding and explore ways of developing effective, humane, strategies that facilitate a holistic education for all.  Already a Masters degree graduate of King’s College, Mary is currently completing an MBA in Educational Leadership (International) with UCL, to remind herself of the self-discipline and collaboration required for successful academic study.

jennifer powlesland

Jennifer Powlesland Assistant Head (Teaching and Learning)

Jenny Powlesland has been teaching for fifteen years. Brought up in Hong Kong, Jenny gained her undergraduate degree in Modern History and English at Oxford University, then worked with the British Council in south-east China and completed her PGCE at Oxford. Before joining Leighton Park in 2018, she spent fourteen years teaching in outstanding state schools in Surrey and Berkshire, as a Head of English and then a Senior Teacher, running programmes for teachers’ continuing professional development, improving the progress of disadvantaged pupils and raising the number of pupils attending Oxbridge. Jenny lives locally with her husband and two children.

Mark Simmons Assistant Head (Senior Master)

Helen Taylor Head of Sixth Form

Helen Taylor has 25 years of teaching experience in a number of different schools: all girls, all boys, independent, state, day and boarding and even a free school. She gained an undergraduate degree in Zoology and Botany from the University of Reading before completing a PGCSE at Oxford University. She spent five years as Head of Biology at Leighton Park before an exciting two years as Vice Principal of a newly established free school. Helen has one daughter in the Sixth Form at Leighton Park and another at university having successfully completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme here.

Sally Saunders Head of Years 10 & 11, Head of Careers, Head of PSHE

Sally Saunders has over 22 years experience of working in Education. She gained a BA Hons in Economic and Social History from the University of Liverpool and a PGCE in History from the University of Reading. Sally has further qualifications Careers Education, Information and Guidance and is a qualified Careers Leader. She is particularly interested in supporting students with their future decisions and helping them to develop key aspects of their character to prepare them for adulthood. Sally began her teaching career at a school in Maidenhead before progressing to Head of Sixth Form and Assistant Head Teacher at an outstanding secondary school in Windsor, where she was in charge of the Windsor Teaching Alliance; responsible for the training and recruitment of new teachers. In addition, Sally was selected from over 400 applicants to represent the UK as part of the Fulbright Teaching Exchange Programme. This involved, exchanging jobs, cars and even homes with an American teacher from Oregon. Sally is still an active Fulbright Scholar Alumni and engages with the various aspects of this life changing programme. She lives locally with her sport loving husband and son.

Leni Samuel Head of Year 9

Adrian Stewart Head of Fryer and Lower School

Keeley Toms Head of the Individual Learning Centre (ILC) & SENDCo

Keeley has worked in education for nearly 10 years starting her teaching career as a MFL teacher in Surrey. Having worked as a HOD for MFL, EAL and Community Languages for three years, Keeley moved into special educational needs teaching, completing her NASENCo qualification and securing a job as a SENDCo in Slough. Keeley believes strongly in a holistic approach to learning and development and the need to equip our learners with the essential skills to succeed both at school and in the real world on a social, emotional, physical, mental and academic basis. She is passionate in supporting learners to reach their full potential and works with students in identifying the superpower that emerges from their additional needs.

Keeley has also formed part of the LA SEND panel and worked as a lead on a project with other secondary schools in the south east to develop an inclusive classroom model checklist which is used in schools to date.

Keeley is a qualified Access Arrangements assessor at Level 7 and is currently completing her MSc with Oxford University around the use of technology in the mainstream classroom to support learners with additional needs. Keeley lives in Woodley with her family and two dogs and enjoys nothing more than exploring the great outdoors come rain or shine.

Leighton Park Governors

Jan Digby (Q)

Chair of Governors

Jan was born and brought up in Kent and came to Reading to study at the University. After graduating in Latin and English Literature she joined British Rail as a trainee computer programmer. She undertook a wide range of roles in IT, including graduate recruitment and training, before returning to the University of Reading to qualify as a Careers Advisor and complete an MA in Careers Guidance. Subsequently she has worked at three English Universities in Employability-related roles, latterly as a Senior Lecturer in Careers Education. Jan has been a Quaker for over twenty years and is an active member of Reading Local Meeting and Mid-Thames Area Meeting. She has served as a Committee Member/Trustee of a range of local organisations throughout her life. She is the Clerk to the Governing Body of two local schools and has been Chair of Governors of her local primary school and a member of the Council of the University of Reading.

Eme Dean-Lewis

Vice Chair of Governors and Finance Governor

Eme is Research Director at the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association focused on strategy and professional development. Prior to moving into the Education sector, she spent 25 years as a technology industry professional developing strategic alliance relationships for leading global technology corporations. She holds an Executive MBA from London Business School and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Eme is a trustee for a local charity, Smart Works Reading, which helps women who have been out of the workforce to succeed at interview. While a parent at Leighton Park, Eme was a founder member of the Leighton Park STEM Hub team and the PSC Book Group. Eme and her husband Tim have two daughters and a son – all of whom are Old Leightonians.

Azka deSousa

Azka deSousa

Safeguarding Governor

Azka has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work with specialisation in criminology and correctional administration. She has several years of experience working with children and adults in correctional and community environments. Currently she is working as a volunteer with vulnerable children and adults in the Witness Service in Reading Crown and Magistrates Courts. Azka is married with two adult children, both of whom studied at Leighton Park.

Lottie Dodwell

Lottie Dodwell (OL) (Q)

SEND/Inclusion Governor

Lottie is a Quaker and an Old Leightonian. She holds a BA Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford, and an MSc Science Communication from Imperial College, London.

Lottie works in the Museum and Heritage sector as an Interpretation Developer at the Natural History Museum, where she curates new exhibitions and galleries. Her most recent exhibitions for the Natural History Museum have opened in venues around the world, including: Dive in the Jurassic (Bahrain National Museum, 2019), Curiosities of the Natural World (La Musee de la Civilisation, Quebec 2019).

Previously she worked at the Science Museum and curated BepiColombo: Mission to Mercury (2018) and The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution (2018)

James Gazet

ECT Governor

James was educated at St Paul’s School and Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he studied mathematics. He has been a teacher since 1990 and worked at Eton, Westminster and St Paul’s, where he is now the Deputy Head Academic. He is also Vice-Chair of the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust and Chair of the British Mathematics Olympiad Executive Committee. He is married with two children.

Philip Griffin (Q)

Health & Safety Governor

Philip Griffin was a local primary school teacher. He has attended and then been a member of Reading Quaker Meeting for almost 40 years. He has a keen interest in education and teaching, having volunteered with various professional bodies such as the College of Teachers and the National Association for Primary Education. Thanks to his interest in ICT in education he received a Teaching Award and the Carol Adam’s Award for excellence in professional development, equalities and diversity in 2009, whilst members of his class won the Handheld Learning Award the preceding year. Philip is married with three grown-up children and four grandchildren.

David Hickok (Q)

David Hickok is a retired corporate law partner of the New York based International law firm Debevoise and Plimpton LLP. While at Debevoise he was stationed variously in New York, Paris, Budapest, Frankfurt and finally in London. He graduated from Princeton University in 1981 and New York University School of Law in 1984. David lives in the Notting Hill area in London and is a member of Friends House Local Area Quaker meeting. He is currently Treasurer and a Trustee of North West London Area Quaker Meeting and a trustee of Quaker International Education Trust , which is responsible for managing Brummana High School in Lebanon. He was a trustee of Quaker Social Action from 2009 to 2015.

Chris Houston (OL)

Chris attended Leighton Park between 1975 and 1980. During his time at the school he was Senior Prefect, Head of School House, Captain of Rugby and Captain of Football. After a gap year in Paris, he read Anglo Saxon, Norse & Celtic and then History at Cambridge University. On graduating from Cambridge he joined the project finance team at Schroders. In the late 1980s and 1990s he advised on the financing and privatisation of many major infrastructure projects in Europe, Asia and Latin America. During this time he spent seven years living in Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. More recently he has advised on financings, restructurings and acquisitions in the infrastructure sector in the UK. Over his career he has held senior positions at Schroders, Citigroup, Lexicon Partners and Evercore.

Irfan Latif

Irfan is a multi-award-winning Headmaster and is currently the Principal of DLD College London, part of the prestigious Alpha Plus Group of schools which was recently named ‘Boarding School of the Year’. He was educated at Emanuel School and graduated with honours in Chemistry from King’s College, London.

His first headship took him to Somerset where he was Headmaster of Sexey’s School (BSA) in Bruton where it topped the South West league tables in Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall and was a Tatler School. Prior to this he was Deputy Head at Bedford School (HMC), Director of Science at St Benedict’s School in Ealing (HMC), Senior Housemaster at Whitgift School (HMC) and Assistant Housemaster and Teacher of Chemistry at The Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys (HMC).

He has been the Chairman of the State Boarding Schools’ Forum, the Vice Chair of the Boarding Schools’ Association and is currently it’s London Chair. He also sits on the Executive Committee of the BSA as the Inclusion and Diversity representative for the sector and is the co-founder of the ISC’s Inclusion and Diversity Group. He also sits on the Board of Directors at AGBIS and is the safeguarding Governor for a leading prep school in Surrey.

He regularly lectures at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and is also a Justice of the Peace. As well as being a school Governor, he is also the trustee of various charities and used to sit on the Board of Education at the Diocese of Bath & Wells. He is a keen cook, traveller and adventurer and recently led expeditions to Everest Base Camp, Venezuela and the Red Sea. Irfan enjoys family time with his wife Jocelyn, also a science teacher and entrepreneur, their two young daughters and their Jack Russell, Rodney.

Marion Mitchell

Marion was born and educated in Scotland. Since graduating she has worked and lived in London, Buckinghamshire and Yorkshire; finally settling in Warwickshire in 2015.

Marion began her career in the hospitality industry, working in operations and sales for a leading international hotel brand. She is a qualified and experienced Business and Economics lecturer, and particularly enjoyed teaching on the Warwick University Foundation Programme (WIFP). Marion was Director of Marketing at Ackworth School for 10 years and was responsible for improving domestic and international student recruitment and delivering the overall marketing strategy.

Outside work Marion is a keen walker, bell ringer and bridge player. She lives with her husband and has two grown up children (Ackworth Old Scholars), both of whom now work and live in London.

Andrew Nind

Andrew Nind (Q)

Sustainability Governor

Andrew Nind trained in mathematics and economics, with degrees from Cambridge University and London School of Economics.  For about thirty years, he has worked in the electricity industry, mainly as a management consultant specialising in the power sector in Britain and Continental Europe.  In recent years, this has meant spending most of his working time assessing the commercial prospects for new wind farms and solar projects, as well as electricity cables from Britain to the Netherlands, Norway, France, Ireland … and even (possibly) Iceland!  Andrew is very interested in how we can live more sustainably; and also very interested in less ‘worthy’ things such as maths problems and classical piano music.  He stubbornly pursues the lost cause of being any good at tennis.  He lives in Reading and attends Quaker Meetings there.  He is happily married to Christina and they have two daughters who are just beginning their careers in the post-Covid19 world.

Gwenan Sykes

Governor

Gwenan is a member of Ackworth Local Quaker Meeting and a trustee of Central Yorkshire Area Meeting. For many years Gwenan was school doctor at Ackworth School. Gwenan holds a BA(Hons.) in Humanities with Classics from the Open University and MBChB from Sheffield University as well as Postgraduate Certificates in Primary Care Education and Quaker Studies.

Gwenan is a retired GP and GP trainer. She sings in a choir, plays tuned percussion moderately badly in a brass band and is obsessed with most activities involving yarn and thread.

Matt Winkless (OL) (Q)

CPD and RSE Governor

Matt is a Quaker and Old Leightonian. He attended Leighton Park between 2009 and 2011. He studied Philosophy at King’s College London, before working for the NHS. In 2015, Matt studied a two year law degree at the University of Birmingham and is now training to be a barrister. Matt also volunteers with young Quakers at a week long residential event each summer, an event at which he was a participant as a young person.

Nick Wood

Nick Wood (OL)

Boarding Governor

Nick attended Leighton Park as a Boarder between 1988 and 1995, in Fryer and then School House. After leaving school, Nick read European Languages and Law in Bristol (spending a year living and working in Paris) before finishing his studies at the College of Law in Guildford.

Nick is now a London-based Partner in global law firm CMS specialising in commercial and real estate litigation. Nick has handled domestic and international disputes across the globe, handling cases in the US, the Turks & Caicos Islands, Ireland and South Africa. Nick has been recognised by the legal directories as a leader in his field. Nick is also the global relationship partner for one of the biggest international hotel brands.

Outside work, Nick continues his passion for sport (developed whilst at Leighton Park) and is a keen triathlete. Nick lives in Hampshire with his wife and two children.

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