Briony Bowers, Headteacher
I joined Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge as Headteacher in January 2024.
Following a degree in English literature at Cambridge University, for most of my career I have been a teacher and leader in the two secondary schools in Didcot, progressing through a range of roles from Teacher of English and Literacy Co-ordinator, to SENCO and Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion before taking on Deputy Headteacher roles first at Didcot Girls’ School and most recently at St Birinus School. Both schools are ambitious and high achieving and I bring extensive knowledge and experience of school improvement to my role here at MECE. My particular areas of expertise are curriculum development, improving teaching and learning, coaching and performance development.
Having attended Cambridge university from a comprehensive school and through my experience as SENCO – I have a strong commitment to inclusive comprehensive education and believe strongly that all students should be able to attend their local school and be able to find their passion and fulfil their ambitions.
In my spare time I am a voracious reader; I particularly love psychological thrillers and literary fiction, and am always excited to read great young adult fiction recommended by students. I also love to write my own fiction, blogs and poetry. I live in South Oxfordshire with my husband and our spaniel.
Emma Bliss, Deputy Headteacher
I have been a part of the Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge Leadership Team since joining in 2016 as Assistant Head (Timetable and Data) and now holding the post Deputy Head (Curriculum).
Having completed a Geography Degree at The University of Birmingham followed by PGCE my teaching career started at Pershore High School, Worcestershire a wonderful, community school consistently recognised as Good by OfSTED. Here I secured a number of roles over a 10 year period including Head of Year, Deputy Head of 6th Form and Head of House seeing me develop both pastoral and curriculum experience ahead of my successful elevation to Assistant Headship. In my career to date I have shown a strong commitment to personal development, especially with respect to developing my own leadership style. I have completed a Med in Teaching Studies (UoB), undertaken a bespoke coaching programme to reflect, review and develop on my own practice, successfully applied to be a School Governor and most recently achieved the accolade of a SLE (Curriculum/Data) accredited to the Berkshire Teaching School.
As an enthusiastic member of staff I like to lead by example. During my career I have been involved in a number of extra-curricular activities including trips to Iceland, New York and Italy, as well as taking a lead role in organising the inaugural Zambian Exchange with Sixth Form Students. I actively support the school in extra-curricular and social events, participating in school concerts and productions, CESA fundraising events, and hosting a Murder Mystery Evening. I am an enthusiastic leader of both the Bronze and Gold DofE teams having helped to set up the Gold Award during my time at Pershore. Outside school, I have successfully managed time and pressure to play Sky Sports Televised Netball in the Vitality Netball Superleague, having previously captained British Universities Netball squad, as well as being an advisor to Warrington Wolves Rugby League Club on Pathways and Progressions for their U17/19 Excel Squads.
Nicola Benham, Assistant Headteacher
I have been an Assistant Headteacher at MECE since January 2020, after having worked at Maiden Erlegh School in Reading. I am responsible for the Inclusion area of the school which includes managing the SEND dept, leading the Heads of Year and Pastoral Team, and overseeing students’ wellbeing.
My subject specialism is Modern Foreign Languages, having studied French and German at King’s College London for my BA and PGCE. In 2013 I returned to King’s College to complete my Master’s Degree in Modern Foreign Languages Education.
I started my teaching career in 2010 at Furze Platt Senior School in Maidenhead, specialising in French and German, but quickly turned my career towards the pastoral side schooling. I feel strongly that a student’s mental health and well being underpin their academic success.
I am hugely proud to work at Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge and be part of the Maiden Erlegh Trust, especially given that I am a Maiden Erlegh School alumnus. My whole family is “Reading born and bred” and for this reason I am very committed to serving the Reading community and its schools.
In my spare time I am a keen Ballroom and Latin American dancer, but spend the majority of my time looking after my daughter, Florence, who is currently 4 years old going on 14.
Judy Hills, Assistant Headteacher
I did my teacher training at Oxford University, having completed my Geography degree there. I developed a real interest in how we best learn during my Masters in Learning and Teaching and I join Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge as Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning.
I first worked at Langtree School before being promoted to Cheney School in Oxford, where I went on to become Head of Geography, then Head of the Humanities Faculty and finally Associate Assistant Head for Curriculum.
I am an active member of the National Geographical Association and have delivered workshops and have had articles published for teachers across the country.
In my spare time I enjoy kayaking, travelling the world, walks in the countryside and a good pub lunch!
Annabelle Gehlot, School Business Manager
I joined Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge in September 2022, bringing with me a wealth of experience from working at Maiden Erlegh School for 8 years.
I studied Philosophy at The University of Reading prior to entering into a career in the education sector. Having worked in the industry for a long time, I am continually amazed by the passion and dedication of the staff who seek to provide the best possible future for our students.
As part of my role, I am undertaking a School Business Professionals qualification and I am looking forward to seeing how this can help further support me in my role at Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge. I am passionate about productivity, professional development and staff wellbeing. I have relaunched our staff wellbeing group to ensure that staff feel heard and supported.
I am an avid reader and enjoy spending time crafting, with my new hobby being crochet. I also recently reignited my childhood passion for swimming.