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Governor Profiles

Katie Ayres - Headteacher 

 I graduated from The University of Reading in 2003, with a 2:1 Honours Degree in Education (QTS) and Music. I began my teaching career at a primary school in Reading, where we gained two outstanding Ofsted inspections. During this time I became an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) where I supported local primary schools in improving the quality of teaching and learning.

In 2008 I gained my first Deputy Headteacher post at a large multicultural school in Slough and then later on in my career joined a primary school in Tilehurst as Deputy Headteacher. I have taught in all year groups, passed the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and I am a Specialist                                             Leader of Education (SLE). I feel very privileged to be the Headteacher at                                                 Downsway Primary School.

Madeline Fyans - Chair of Governors

After studying German and Russian at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, I trained as a teacher and worked for more than thirty years in the state sector. Prior to my retirement, I was Head of Department at a girls’ comprehensive school in Maidenhead. On the governing board, I am currently responsible for Safeguarding. I have also recently been appointed Chair of Governors. This is now my fourth term of office as a governor and I remain fervently committed to the belief that every child should have access to the best possible education we can give them.

 Petra Robinson - Clerk to Governors

Petra has been working in educational sector for more than 15 years, starting as a Project Administrator and later becoming an ESOL teacher and Berkshire Programme Coordinator for the WEA.  Currently she is working as a Centre Administrator & Data Analyst for Reading Community Learning Centre which offers courses to adults whose English is not their first language.

Petra completed her degree in Modern Languages in 2011 and is hoping to do her Masters in Multilingualism.  She is very passionate about education and believes in the following motto:

‘Education is a continual process, it's like a bicycle... if you don't pedal you don't go forward.'  by George Weah

Petra is focused, highly experienced in school administration with great attention to details who is excited to offer her skills to the Governing Board of Downsway Primary School.

Paul Dixon - Parent Governor

I was elected a Parent Governor in November 2021.

I graduated from the University of Glamorgan with an Honours degree in Electronic Engineering. I have been a Systems and Requirements Engineer for the past 20 years, working for some of the UKs largest companies. I am currently a champion for implementing new capabilities and processes within the business, alongside being one of the lead engineers on a significant UK project. I am a Chartered Engineer, and also provide mentoring and guidance to fellow engineers.

My two sons both attend Downsway so I have a very keen interest in ensuring the school continues to provide the absolute best to its pupils, such that they develop the foundations to flourish in life. I am looking forward to contributing to the success of the school. 

Lesley Charlesworth - Co-opted Governor 

I graduated from The University of Leeds in 1980 with a BSc in Microbiology and Pharmacology then worked briefly in medical research before moving to live in Brazil. Returning to the UK, I worked in local toddler groups and as a trampoline coach while my children attended Downsway. When they moved to secondary school I worked as a teaching assistant at Downsway. This gave me the chance to experience the challenges and rewards of working within children’s education and encouraged me to become a teacher.

After achieving my PGCE, I was delighted to be offered a teaching post back at Downsway. Since then, I have been privileged to work in several local schools finally stepping down from my post as a Head of School in December 2021 to take up semi-retirement.

I am delighted to become a co-opted governor at Downsway, it seems right after my long association with the school and my experience within education, that I have the chance to contribute to its continuing success.

Matthew Grover - Staff Governor 

I have been a teacher and deputy head at Downsway for fifteen years, with responsibility for maths, history and initial teacher training.

I have also been Designated Safeguarding Lead since 2016. This will be my second appointment as staff governor, having previously served between 2009-2017. 


Craig Duffield - Parent Governor 

Craig works with one of the world's largest international schools groups, helping to deliver professional development to thousands of educators around the world, all with the end goal of continually improving learning outcomes for our students.
He made the move into education in 2019 after 15+ years working for multi-national IT firms supporting large government contracts, and has a keen interests in Ed-tech and all things automation.
He is looking forward using his skills to help the school in their continuing quest for excellence and hoping to learn much himself along the way.

Judith Crimmins - Co-opted Governor 


I work as a Performance Manager for the NHS (Mental Health Trust), before I worked for a specialist Theology and Philosophy University in London.

I gained an MA in Canon Law in 2006 and one of my assignments centred around parents rights to have a Catholic education for their children which centred around my belief and commitment to every child having access to the best education and opportunities from an early age. 

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and especially my three young grandchildren. I also enjoy knitting, sewing, reading, cooking and travel.

I look forward to working with the Governors and staff at the school and contributing to the school’s success.

Karen Hillier - Co-opted Governor 

I have lived in Reading for over 50 years and prior to my retirement I spent my entire career working in Early Years education. Starting in a Nursery School in Caversham I then moved onto Registration and Inspection of education and care, including training as an Ofsted inspector and finally as the Quality Manager for Early Years at Reading Borough Council.

I am the chair of Trustees at Chiltern  Nursery  Training College in Caversham , a charitable college providing training for Early Years  practitioners and day care for under fives.

My grandson is currently in year 1 and my granddaughter will be joining Foundation Stage in September. I am looking forward to getting involved with the governing body and helping Downsway  to continue to provide high quality education and flourish.