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.

Eme Dean-Lewis, our Chair of Governors, is contactable via the Clerk to the Governing Body by email at or in writing to: Eme Dean-Lewis, 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.


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.


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

John Burnett Director of Marketing and Admissions

John Burnett is a Chartered Marketer with over 14 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. 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 Assistant Head - Director of Studies

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.


Sally Saunders Assistant Head - Pupil Personal Development

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.

Helen Taylor Assistant Head - Director 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.

Becky Edwards Director of Fryer - Years 7 & 8

Merion Taynton Head of Year 9 (2023-4), Head of Year 10 (2024-5)

Our leadership team for Years 9, 10 and 11 & Pre-Sixth is comprised of Merion Taynton (English teacher), Zoe Macpherson (Head of Girls’ Games) and Sam Bates (Biology teacher). The team rotate their responsibiities each year so that they remain with the same cohort of students through their transition from Fryer into the Senior School or as they join in Year 9 and through the duration of their GCSE studies in Years 10 and 11, lending a consistency to the all important relationship between student, parents and the school. The integration of new Pre-Sixth students into Year 11 is supported by the Head of Year’s knowledge and experience with the current cohort enabling them to initiate friendships and organise successful social activities to ensure a happy and positive environment for all.

Sam Bates Head of Year 10 (2023-4), Head of Year 11 & Pre-Sixth (2024-5)

Our leadership team for Years 9, 10 and 11 & Pre-Sixth is comprised of Merion Taynton (English teacher), Zoe Macpherson (Head of Girls’ Games) and Sam Bates (Biology teacher). The team rotate their responsibilities each year so that they remain with the same cohort of students through their transition from Fryer into the Senior School or as they join in Year 9 and through the duration of their GCSE studies in Years 10 and 11, lending a consistency to the all important relationship between student, parents and the school. The integration of new Pre-Sixth students into Year 11 is supported by the Head of Year’s knowledge and experience with the current cohort enabling them to initiate friendships and organise successful social activities to ensure a happy and positive environment for all.

Zoe Macpherson Head of Year 11 & Pre-Sixth (2023-24), Head of Year 9 (2024-5)

Our leadership team for Years 9, 10 and 11 & Pre-Sixth is comprised of Merion Taynton (English teacher), Zoe Macpherson (Head of Girls’ Games) and Sam Bates (Biology teacher). The team rotate their responsibilities each year so that they remain with the same cohort of students through their transition from Fryer into the Senior School or as they join in Year 9 and through the duration of their GCSE studies in Years 10 and 11, lending a consistency to the all important relationship between student, parents and the school. The integration of new Pre-Sixth students into Year 11 is supported by the Head of Year’s knowledge and experience with the current cohort enabling them to initiate friendships and organise successful social activities to ensure a happy and positive environment for all.

Leighton Park Governors

Pam Carragher

Finance Governor

Pam is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and has broad experience in finance management across a number of sectors including telecoms, engineering and retail. She has worked for the last 14 years in management roles within education and is currently Head of Finance at St Piran’s School.

Pam is based in Reading, living close to the School, and is married with two children, the younger of whom is an Old Leightonian. While a parent at Leighton Park,  Pam acted as Treasurer to the PSC.

Jane Dawson (Q)

I hail from North Yorkshire, where I attended Friends School Great Ayton. At the University of Warwick I studied Philosophy and Literature, but spent my time being distracted by student politics. For many years I worked for Quakers in Britain, running the Children and Young People’s programme for Britain Yearly Meeting and later as Head of Communications and Public Affairs. In recent years I’ve focused on renewable energy, both internationally and in the UK. My current role is in engineering services, where I’m the Head of Communications and Public Affairs for ECA focusing on the practical transition to net zero. I’ve retained my involvement in Quaker affairs and am Clerk of London West Area Meeting Trustees and attend Brentford and Isleworth Quaker Meeting.   My time is spent between the North York Moors and West London. I’m married with two grown up daughters.

Eme Dean-Lewis

Chair of Governors

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, Pastoral & Boarding 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 (OL) (Q)

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

SEND/Inclusion 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.

Naomi Iliff (Q)


Naomi is a graduate of Sidcot School, a Quaker school in Somerset. While at school, she became a Quaker. She went on to study Ancient History and Archaeology at Birmingham University. When her children were small she trained as a teacher of IT by working at local colleges of further education and Reading Prison. While working at Reading Prison, Naomi because increasingly interested in criminology. When an opportunity came up to take part in a Quaker introduced prisoner charity, Circles of Support and Accountability, that supported released prisoners in the community, she joined and was among the early volunteers. Naomi spent most of her working life in the IT industry and teaching. When she retired she went back to university to get an MSc in Attachment Theory. Now she spends her time supporting her Quaker Meeting, a member of Quakers in Criminal Justice group, still volunteering with Circles and teaching English to Refugees.

Bruce Johnson

Vice-Chair of Governors, HR Governor, EDI Governor

Bruce Johnson is a Quaker and an OL, whose time at LP gave him a springboard in music and drama that has since enriched his life in many ways.  Professionally, Bruce is an HR specialist who has spent the last 20 years working in Higher Education, both as a Lecturer and a Manager, while doing some consultancy work alongside this main career.  Most recently, Bruce has focussed more on his work in industry, setting up a training consultancy whose main mission is to help organisations improve performance by improving their people management practices.  Bruce is part of the core team, delivering Quaker Quest at Friends House in Euston every Monday night, where he regularly gives presentations on a variety topics to do with Quaker faith and practice.

Irfan Latif

ECT Governor

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 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 (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.

Leon Spence (Q)

ICT Governor

Leon has an MBA and a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business and Modern Languages from Aston University. He has over 15 years of experience in helping companies achieve digital and process automation transformation and IT change at various multinational companies in the UK and Europe and currently works as a Transformation Consultant.

He’s a lifelong Quaker and an active member of Reading Quaker Meeting and has a passion for developing and learning from the young Quaker community.

Gwenan Sykes


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)

Deputy Pastoral & Safeguarding, Boarding & 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 (OL)

Sports 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.


Governors can access the GovernorZone

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