Bringing Reading Schools Closer Together

About Us

What we do

The RGA is a training, networking and mentoring organisation for school governors in and around Reading. We pool our resources and expertise for the benefit of Reading’s schools, and those surrounding schools which Reading children attend.  Our membership currently stands at 42 of 65 Reading schools, and covers maintained schools, single academy trusts, multi academy trusts, independent schools, grammar schools, nurseries, primaries, secondaries and special schools.

We recognise that the title of ‘Governor’ means very different things across the variety of educational establishments in today’s landscape, and we have wealth of experience in the different nuances between roles, responsibilities, laws and finances that apply to our schools.

We regularly host professional speakers and networking events and we can help you get support from and access to local and national leaders in governance.

Our five core functions are outlined below:

Who we are

The RGA is a voluntary organisation with a constitution.  Officers are elected by members at the Annual General Meeting.  The Principals are then decided by the officers.  We also have Associates who are experts in the fields of school improvement and governance, to help us identify and deliver key information of a high quality.


Chair – Julia Cottee

Julia is Chair of Governors at The Wren School, and also governs at The Willink School in West Berkshire and the REYS (Reading Early Years Schools) Federation of Blagdon, Caversham, and New Bridge Nursery Schools.

Vice-Chair – Richard Rolfe

Richard is Chair of Governors at Micklands Primary School, part of the North Reading Schools Partnership.  He recently became Chair of the Schools’ Forum in Reading.

Treasurer – Chris Robinson

Chris is Chair of Governors at The Kennet Federation of Katesgrove and Southcote Primary Schools.

Clerk – Hazel Archer

Hazel is a very experienced clerk and used to work for Governor Services at Reading Borough Council.  She is currently Clerk to Governors for Geoffrey Field Infant School.

Other executive officers

Matt Espley

Matt is Chair of Governors at Coley Primary School, and the School Business Manager for Ditton Park Academy in Slough.

John Ennis

John is Chair of Governors at The Holy Brook School, and also governs at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School.  He is a Reading borough councillor for the Southcote Ward, currently Lead Councillor for Housing.

Yvonne Newman

Yvonne governs at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School.  


Alice Boon

Alice is the Senior School Standards Officer, the Under Performing Groups Lead and the Service Manager for School Standards at Brighter Futures for Children.  She governs at St Michael’s CofE Primary School in Oxfordshire.

Sarah Shortt

Sarah is the Governor Services Manager at Brighter Futures for Children.  She governs at Denefield School in West Berkshire.

How we started

The RGA was formed as the Reading Governors’ Association in 2007, to provide a forum for school governors to meet, share experiences, and get the chance to hear speakers on a range of topical subjects.  The formation of RGA was encouraged by Anna Wright, the then Head of Education at RBC, who had experience of a similar arrangement in Surrey, where she worked before coming to Reading.  From the very beginning, RGA established regular meetings with senior education officers at Reading Borough Council to provide a forum for exchanges of ideas and discussion of issues affecting schools.  

Affiliated to the National Governance Association (NGA), it started with a membership of 45 schools, under the leadership of Liz Proctor from Prospect School.  Peter Kayes took over as Chair in 2008 and continued in that role for 5 years before handing over to Liz Woodhouse, who stood down in 2018.  Richard Rolfe then took over as Chair, and swapped into the Vice-Chair role in 2021.

A number of notable individuals have come to speak to RGA members.  Examples are:

Professor John West-Burnham, an independent education consultant, who discussed the shift in education policy and contrasted the UK with the Finnish education system, regarded as the most effective in Europe with no inspectors, no tests, and no exams until the school-leaving exams at age 18.

Sir David Bell, then Vice Chancellor of Reading University and previously a Headteacher, Chief Inspector of Schools and Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and Skills, came to talk about Education beyond 2015 and warned about the likely cuts in school funding which he thought would occur, and estimated would be from 5% to 10%.  He was, unhappily, accurately prescient – funding has fallen in real terms by 8% since 2009 (source: Institute for Fiscal Studies). 

One of the benefits of forming RGA has been the opportunity to attend NGA conferences and meetings.  NGA is an influential national body representing the 300,000 voluntary school governors across England.  RGA officers have regularly attended NGA conferences and brought back to Reading the information shared at those events.  Local Associations like RGA and schools who are members of NGA are able to send delegates to these conferences and other events at no charge.  



As volunteers, executive officers are unpaid, and only claim expenses for attending national conferences.  Members’ subscriptions are spent on speakers’ fees (where charged), facilities hire and refreshments, remote learning software licences and hosting, fees for our clerk, plus any one-off services such as website provision.  Annual accounts are presented by the Treasurer at the AGM.

Minutes of our meetings are available upon request.  Please use the form on the Contact Us page.





AGM & Summer Conference
Scheduled ical Google outlook
The Wren School, 61-63 Bath Road, Reading, RG30 2BB