Meet our Governing Board

Terry Hardie - Chair of Governors

I joined the REYS governing board in March 2021 and became Chair in September the same year. I am a retired HR Manager with experience in all areas of HR Management. I was born in Reading and have lived here all my life. I have assisted Caversham Nursery School on a voluntary basis for the last 10 years or so especially around Christmas time! I am a keen advocate of Maintained Nursery Schools and believe they are fantastic at educating, entertaining and caring for the children they look after.


Alison O'Donovan Troth - Co-Vice Chair

I’m mum to one little boy who attended Blagdon Nursery School . I have a background in early years education, having trained as a Nursery Nurse.  I have since retrained and continue to work with children now as a Safeguarding Social Worker.  I love spending time with my family, and enjoy taking trips to the theatre, holidays and reading.




Julia Cottee - Co-Vice Chair

I have a professional background in accountancy, specialising in internal audit and financial controls in the private sector. I first became a school governor twelve years ago, and currently sit on three governing boards including the REYS federation, whilst also an officer of the Reading Governance Association. Having already gained experience as a Chair of Governors in primary and secondary schools, maintained schools and academies, in both Reading and West Berkshire local authorities.  I welcome the opportunity to support Reading's excellent nursery schools and extend my learning.



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.

Sarah Cooper - Parent

I became a parent governor of New Bridge Nursery School in November 2018.

 I have 3 children, two of whom have attended New Bridge Nursery School before moving on to primary school and one who is currently attending her second year at New Bridge. They have all thoroughly enjoyed their time at the nursery and I have loved seeing them flourish in the setting.

I am a primary school teacher at a local primary school, and I am passionate about making sure all children have the best start in life. 

I am delighted to continue serving as a governor as part of the REYS Federation.  

Edward Martin - Parent

I became a parent governor in November 2022. 

Currently, I have a two-year-old daughter who attends Caversham Nursery School where it has been a delight to see her grow and flourish.

I am accountant by background specialising in Internal Audit and Assurance with experience in working in the public and education sector. As a Governor I am excited to apply these skills to an already outstanding group of nurseries and assisting in any way I can for my term.

Alex Stevanovic - Associate

I have been a Governor since November 2022. I am a proud dad of two; one who attends Caversham Nursery School, and another in primary school also in Caversham. 

My professional background is in management consulting, strategy and transformation, working with large companies to help solve their most complex challenges. During lockdown, I developed my longstanding passion for food into something more, which eventually led to a career break, working as a chef in fine dining for 6 months. 

As a Governor, I’m excited to bring my experience of good governance in the private sector and see the REYS Federation build on its already outstanding provision. I am particularly passionate about children’s nutrition and teaching children about healthy and sustainable choices.

Rebecca Dunn - Co-opted

I joined REYS Federation as a governor in April 2022. I have a background in fundraising within the charity sector. I also have prior experience in marketing and events in Higher Education.

I have two children, both of whom attend Caversham Nursery School, they love going to nursery and are thriving there.

In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors, spending time with my family and friends and baking.



Tamina Kulsoom - Co-opted

I joined the REYS Federation as a governor in February 2022. I have been teaching for several years in secondary education. I live locally and am looking forward to joining the team, contributing my skills and extending my own learning within this excellent federation.




Melanie Aurelius - Staff

I have worked at Caversham Nursery since 2012 but previously did my NNEB training at the original Caversham 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 and playing games whilst camping with friends & family.



Sam Clifford - Staff

I am NNEB qualified and have been working at Blagdon since 2006.  I was originally a key worker in Blagdon and then three years ago I became the Two Year Coordinator in the Willows. I am also a Designated Person for Safeguarding. I enjoy cooking, being with my family and I love music and dancing.

After working at Blagdon for a very long time, I became a staff governor for the first time in 2021. I am finding my role very interesting and am gaining lots of knowledge and insight into the day-to-day and long term planning and strategies across the federation.    


Mandy Mullarkey - Staff

I originally worked as an Administrative Assistant for the MOD, before getting married and having my family. My children inspired me to embark on a new career working in Early Years. I began by working in a pre-school as a nursery assistant. Then a year later started a two year mature student course at Reading College and completed the NNEB. In 2003 I joined the team here at New Bridge.  I am passionate about children learning through play and have a keen interest in the arts and the natural world, which I love sharing with the children. For three years I ran a Babysitting course with another member of staff.



Jean Read - Associate

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. As Head of School at Caversham and New Bridge, I am invited to attend meetings as an Associate.


Charlotte Jennings - Associate

I have worked at Blagdon Nursery since 2008.  I have worked in nearly every room at Blagdon and have loved each one.  I have worked in schools in the Whitley area my whole career; I am now starting to teach the children of pupils I taught many years ago!  I am a qualified teacher; I have a BA in English Literature with QTS status and I also have the NNEB qualification.  I live with my daughter who is now 10.  She came to Blagdon when she was younger; she started in Willows when she was 9 months old.  My hobbies include running, yoga and shopping! As Head of School at Blagdon, I am invited to attend meetings as an Associate.



Angela Harwood - Associate

I joined New Bridge Nursery on a temporary basis in April 2019, having previously worked for 17 years at a primary school in Reading. Having worked across our federation of nursery schools, I am now based at Blagdon Nursery School.

My eldest daughter lives in the New Forest and works with animals, my other daughter is a lawyer in Poole and my son is a primary school teacher in Manchester. In my spare time I enjoy walking with my 2 dogs Louis and Pierre, and love travelling when that is possible, I am also a season ticket holder with Reading FC.  The one thing everyone knows about me is – I absolutely love chocolate!! I am invited to attend finance committee meetings as an Associate.


Jackie Dalgleish - Clerk to Governors

My background has been as a secretary in the banking industry, initially in Reading but eventually in the City as Corporate Director’s Secretary. My 30 year old twins attended New Bridge and I was delighted to gain the role of secretary/admin officer when the opportunity arose. I intended to stay for 2 years but eventually stayed for 22!  I retired from my post at New Bridge in August 2022 but am continuing as Clerk to the Governing Board for the REYS Federation.  My hobbies are pottering about in the garden, listening to music, singing (I joined a local choir where we sing all types of music) and going to the theatre.