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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, PPG and SEND. I have also recently been appointed Chair of Governors. This is now my fourth term of office and I remain fervently committed to the belief that every child should have access to the best possible education we can give them.

Danielle Rackley - Staff Governor 

I graduated from Bath Spa University in 2013 with a degree in Education Studies with Geography. I then spent two years gaining experience as a teaching assistant in Foundation Stage at Downsway before gaining my Qualified Teacher Status via a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Reading University in 2016. I spent the majority of my training based at Downsway, teaching in both Year 2 and Foundation Stage. This is now my 7th year of teaching in Foundation Stage at Downsway and I absolutely love it.  I am also English and Phonics Lead and KS1 lead.

Downsway has played a significant role in making me the enthusiastic, well-motivated and ambitious teacher that I am today and I am eager to continue to learn and grow in an environment I feel so passionate about. Through joining the Governing Board I have become even more involved in the day to day running of the school.

 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.

Matthew Norris - Parent Governor 

"I was elected a Parent Governor in October 2022

I graduated from Reading College with a diploma in Engineering and a BTEC Certificate in Public Services. I am a certified PRINCE2 Project Manager and have worked as a Technical Project Manager for the majority of my career. I currently work as a Product Owner, with overall responsibility for Microsoft Office at a European Bank. My duties include ensuring the availability and stability of the Office product including the governance and compliance with financial regulatory requirements.

My daughter attends Downsway and I have a strong interest in her education and contributing in any way I can to the school. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work a Parent Governor." 

Thomas Marino - Co-opted Governor 


I graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2015 with a degree in French and Spanish and I have since worked in both local and national politics. I have done this as a member of our local MP, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma’s Parliamentary office, as a Tilehurst Parish Councillor since 2018 and as a West Berkshire Councillor since 2019. In May 2022, I was appointed to the Council’s Executive as its Member for Internal Governance and Strategic Partnerships.

I have lived in the area around Downsway for 25 years and I am delighted to now be a part of the Governing Board of the school, ensuring that our children have the best possible education that we can offer them.