Our Team

Senior Leadership Team

Joanne Budge - Executive Head teacher

I am very proud to be the first Executive Head teacher of the Reading Early Years Schools Federation. Bringing together 3 Nursery Schools successfully into one federation has been the proudest time of my career.

Throughout my career I have taught across the primary age range, but my heart has always been with the youngest children and I started working with the Maintained Nursery schools as Head teacher at Blagdon Nursery School in 2015. I am passionate about Early Years Education and ensuring our youngest children get the very best start in their education journey. I am lucky to work alongside 3 talented staff teams who share my passion to drive up standards and provide the best nursery experience that keeps children at its centre. I am married with 2 nearly adult children and a small cockerpoo who helps keep us all entertained.


Jean Read - Head of School BA (Hons), QTS

I have been working in childcare and education for over 30 years in a wide variety of settings. No matter what role I am in I have an innate drive to put children at the centre of all I do. As anyone who has worked with me will tell you; I truly believe that every moment matters. After my secondment to New Bridge Nursery School in 2021, I am now working as Head of School at both Caversham and New Bridge. I very much enjoy working alongside and supporting the teams at both schools and getting to know each of the children and their wonderful individual personalities.


Saliha Akram - Deputy Head - BA.Ed (QTS)

I am delighted to join the REYS Federation working across Caversham and New Bridge Nursery Schools as Deputy Head. I have experience of working in a range of age bands, however, my passion lies in the Early Years.  Prior to joining the federation, I spent 5 years teaching Reception class and leading the Early Years in a primary school. I am determined to develop young children by instilling a love for learning by making every moment matter and challenging minds in a changing world.

Out of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and going for long nature walks.


Claire Simpson - Nursery Manager

I started working at Caversham Nursery School in April 2009. I have an NVQ level 3 in Childcare and an NVQ level 5 in Leadership and Management. 

I have worked in nurseries since leaving school and have experience of working with children aged from 0-5 years old.

In my spare time I like to spend quality time with my two children


Shauni Clifford - Deputy Manager (Currently on Maternity Leave)

I have worked at Caversham Nursery School since March 2011 when I was just 17 years old.   I have literally grown up here and the team have become family. I have worked across all the ages in various different roles from being an apprentice, to a room leader and now the Nursery Manager.  I hold a level 5 diploma in leadership and management. It’s nice to be able to support the team I know and love while also developing myself. I have a great love for food so you can usually find me rooting through my secret snack drawer!



Kate Wiggins - Inclusion Manager

I started in the federation as a teacher and SENCO working at Caversham Nursery School in 2015, having previously worked for 12 years in a primary school. I worked for a while across both Caversham and New Bridge Nursery as SENCO before becoming the Inclusion Manager for the REYS federation in 2020. I now work in all three of our federated nursery schools supporting with SEND. I enjoy working with our amazing staff teams and families and helping to secure positive outcomes for our children. 

Out of work, I look after my family and enjoy taking my cocker spaniel Archie for walks. 


Julie Joannides - Temporary School Business Manager


Brenda Vockings - School Business Manager

I was delighted to join the REYS Federation in November 2023 as School Business Manager for Caversham and New Bridge Nursery Schools.  I joined the federation after spending more than 12 years working as a school business manager at a local primary school and prior to that I worked in a local preschool as well as in the school finance department at the county council.

My role comprises managing the school finance, human resources and facilities management.  I get real job satisfaction from negotiating contracts that bring the best value to our school budgets.

I am happiest when I am by the sea and love spending school holidays exploring the world by cruise ship.  When I have the time, I love to be creative with crafting projects.


Teacher and Room Leaders


Bethany - Teacher

I joinedCaversham Nursery School as the teacher for the Inventors Room in September 2023. For the majority of my career in education, I have worked in Nursery and Reception. I truly enjoy supporting and guiding children in all aspects of their journey. By providing them with a secure foundation, we play a part in helping all children reach their full potential no matter their starting point.

In my spare time, I like drawing, singing, photography and going for long walks. I have 2 cats called Noah and Will who, although brothers, have very different personalities!


Paula - Discoverers Room Leader (Plus Deputy Manager Maternity Cover)

I joined Caversham Nursery in September 2018 working first in Inventors (3-5 room) before moving to Discoverers (0-2 room) in January 2019 where I went on to become room leader in September 2019. I am passionate about caring and supporting children in their development and learning and I have extensive experience and knowledge of working with children from 0-7 years of age and their families since qualifying as an NNEB Nursery Nurse in 1983.

I have two daughters, two cats and a dog.  At weekends I love spending time with my partner, my girls and their boyfriends, going for walks, watching films/drama series on Netflix, or spending time relaxing in the garden.


Lauren S - Explorers Room Leader (on maternity leave)

I started working at Caversham Nursery School in May 2012 as a General Assistant. Three years later an opportunity came up to work towards my level 3 in Childcare, which I successfully achieved in 2015.

I thoroughly enjoy working with young children, as well as their families. Watching them grow and develop in their early stages of life is a real achievement for them, their families and me too. 

In my free time, I enjoy creating memories with my friends and family and going on lovely hot holidays.


Freya - Inventors Room Leader

I joined Caversham Nursery in October 2021 following my move from Kent. I completed my Level 3 qualification in Childcare and Education after I finished school in 2019 and moved to Reading for university. I realised how much I missed working with children and decided to leave and join the amazing team here, and since then, have loved every second of it!  Outside of nursery my interests are travelling to different places and visiting new sights. I also enjoy music, sports, and seeing my family, including my dog Dennis!


Early Years Practitioners 


I have worked at Caversham Nursery since March 2014. I previously worked at Blagdon Nursery School for 8 years before joining Caversham. Seeing the happy, relaxed atmosphere when I dropped my daughter off was also a big reason why I wanted to work here. I am NVQ level 3 qualified which I gained in 2002.




I started work at Caversham Nursery School in April 2010. I enjoy being a key worker and supporting children as individuals; helping them to reach their full potential. Working with children and their families has always been my goal and I went straight into it after leaving school and achieved by NVQ level 3. In my spare time I love spending time with my daughter and following her interests.




I started working at Caversham Nursery as a nurture assistant in August 2010 whilst training to become a level 3 EYP and I completed my training in 2011. I enjoy working at Caversham Nursery and I have worked in every room ranging from 0-5 and in 2018 I was given the opportunity to work as a SEND assistant which I loved. I am currently based in the 0-2 year room and in my free time I like visiting family, walking and shopping. 



Paula ('P')

I was lucky to do my NVQ level 3 placement at Caversham Nursery in 2016, while I still worked in a school nursery. I waited patiently until a position because available for me to apply to work with this amazing team. I became part of the team in 2019 after qualifying as an Early Years Practitioner. I spent the 1st year in Inventors which was fabulous and now I spend my days in Discoverers, which I absolutely love. Supporting the little people and their parents gives me the greatest job satisfaction.




I joined Caversham Nursery working in the Adventurers room in September 2019, I moved recently to the Discoverers room and love working with the babies. I completed my level 3 qualification in childcare once I left school and have worked in childcare ever since.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, swimming and going for long walks.




I joined the amazing Caversham team during the summer of 2019 and I am thoroughly enjoying making every moment matter for the children. My childcare career started in 2003 and I am NVQ level 3 trained in childcare, learning and development. I have experience of working with all children aged 0–11 years in a school and community setting and I have been a family support worker for families of children under the age of 5.  In my free time I like to spend as much of it as I can with my children and grandchildren.




I love working with children.  I started volunteering at Caversham Children's Centre in 2009, and applied for a job at the nursery school as soon as an opportunity became available.  

I love swimming, cycling and spending time with my family. I love animals and reading books.



Sara Garcia

I started work in Caversham and New Bridge Nurseries in 2009 and have experience working across all rooms.  I moved away but rejoined the team at Caversham in April 2023.   When not at work I like cooking, painting furniture and socialising with friends.




Poppy (Apprentice EYP)

I started at Caversham Nursery as an apprentice in April 2022 - I am training to get my NVQ Level 2/3.  I really enjoy being with the children especially outside in the garden.  In my spare time I like getting tattoos and I have a pet tarantula called 'Spidey'.




I started my working life implementing computer systems. When I had children (they’re now at university) I was amazed by the way small people learn everything! I trained to be a primary school teacher when I was in my mid-fifties and have worked as a teaching assistant and a teacher in several local schools. I lived in Caversham between 2012  and 2023, and then worked in a private day nursery in Oxford for 6 months. When I’m not at nursery I enjoy reading, walking and gardening.



Evelyn (Apprentice EYP)

I joined Caversham Nursery as an apprentice in September 2022.  I have two children who I love spending time with.  I also enjoy reading and spending time with family and friends.




Margaret - Cover Staff

I received my NNEB qualification in 1981 and started my career at New Bridge Nursery where I stayed for six years until the first of my three children arrived. I began working at Caversham Nursery in 1998 in its previous location, so I'm not just part of the furniture, I actually came with the building!  Although I stopped working full time at Caversham at Christmas 2022, I love coming back to visit working as cover staff.

When I'm not at nursery I love to travel and explore varied locations. I also enjoy reading and adding to my vast collection of children's books.


Mel - EYP - Cover Staff

I have worked at Caversham Nursery since 2012 but previously did my NNEB training at the original nursery in the 1990's and then worked there until I had my children.    In my spare time I enjoy all kinds of arts and crafts, playing games whilst camping with friends & family and generally sharing a laugh.  I now work at New Bridge Nursery School, but enjoy returning to help out at Caversham.




Nurture Assistants


I joined the team in 2020 after working for many years in a local primary school. I very much enjoy working with children.

I am usually kept busy at the weekends by my two youngest children who are keen footballers and both play for local teams.



Clare - Wellbeing Ambassador

I joined Caversham Nursery in March of 2020 after having a long break from paid employment to raise my two children. They have made me feel so welcome and I enjoy being part of the team. I currently work as a nurture assistant in the Adventurers room. My background varies from hotel management to running a children's home in one of the poorest countries in Europe. I also spent some time supporting children with special educational needs in mainstream and SEN educational settings. Working with children is where I feel inspired and enthused. When I'm not at work I love being outside, especially pottering around in the garden.



My daughter started at Caversham Nursery in Jan 2018, and I thought it was a brilliant nursery.  When the job of nurture assistant came up in July that year I jumped at it. I have worked as a childminder previously as well as teaching fitness/ burlesque classes.




Liz - Housekeeper

I have worked at Caversham Nursery since 2012 and have had a long career in childcare since I gained my NNEB.    Throughout my time at Caversham I have worked with the 2-3’s and the 3-5’s and the team may say one of my biggest skills is providing and teaching children to use new and expressive language. Since 2023 I have been the nursery housekeeper, ensuring the smooth running of the nursery and making sure everyone has everything they need.  I have a very vast bank of songs and books which I spend lots of time sharing with the children too.  In my spare time I enjoy getting out and about and catching up with family and friends.



Both of my children attended Caversham Nursery School and we all loved it. In 2018 I had the opportunity to join this amazing team as a Nurture Assistant. I adore working with children and families. Out of working hours I love to spend my time with my family and go out and about.



Specialist Support

Leighann Littlechild - Specialist Learning Mentor - Level 3

I have been working with Blagdon’s children and families for around 15+ years, first as an NHS Associate Practitioner and then directly for Blagdon Nursery School.  I now work across the nurseries within the REYS Federation primarily supporting children with speech, language and communication difficulties. I have an NVQ Level 3 Allied Health Professional Support (Speech and Language Therapy) and am a former licensed Baby Makaton trainer. I sometimes work in other schools in the Whitley area, which is especially nice for me as I often get to see some of our little ones from Blagdon grow and continue their journey throughout their primary years. At home I enjoy renovating our old house, upcycling old furniture and looking after our dogs, cats and chickens. 


Claire - REYS Family Support Worker - Level 3

I've worked in childcare since the age of 16 if you know my age then you can work out how long I've been doing this!  I've always been surrounded by children, babysitting and now my career is working with children and families.  I've worked in two previous nurseries and moved to Caversham Nursery School in September 2012.  In 2022 I took on a new role across the Reading Early Years School Federation, so I now work in all three of our federated Nurseries supporting with SEND.                      

If you ask any of the teams, they will usually say you can hear me before you can see me.  I'm full of energy and you can usually find me laughing with friends and family or with a smile on my face.

My favourite quote is “Leave a little sparkle wherever you go” and I intend to do this across the REYS Federation. 


Admin Team


Pat - Admin & Support Manager

I started here in 2009 as the Receptionist and then progressed to Admin/Support Manager. As I have been here a long time now the staff joke that I am the ‘font of all knowledge’!  I hold an ITQ2 qualification.  When not at work I am away as much as possible in our Camper van or out walking in the countryside with our dog.



Leighanne - Receptionist

Both of my children attended Caversham Nursery School and loved their time here. When the receptionist Job became available I decided to try my luck and apply for the job. I started in February 2020.

In my spare time I enjoy baking cakes and spending quality time with my children.