Andrew Hartley, Headteacher
I arrived at MECE by a long and circuitous journey! I began teaching in the 1990s at Little Heath School in Reading before enjoying a few years teaching in Kuwait. On my return I was worked at Edgbarrow School in Crowthorne as Head of History followed by a spell as Head of Year and four years as Head of Sixth Form. I then moved to the Downs School in Compton where, as Assistant Head, I oversaw the Sixth Form in particular. Whilst here the school achieved some phenomenal exam results which led to some national recognition and speaking engagements at large conferences. From here I was made Deputy Headteacher at Brakenhale School in Bracknell. I feel very privileged to have been part of a team that transformed the school in a matter of four years leading to the first student successfully gaining a place at Oxford University in the schools 50 year history, to a very successful OFSTED inspection and to a hugely oversubscribed school after many years of decline and underperformance.
I am passionate about comprehensive education and all the benefits it offers society. MECE is a great school to lead; the perfect mix of students from all backgrounds which allows us to stretch and develop the most able and also support the most vulnerable to succeed and develop. I can’t wait to see where it goes!
Out of school I spend most weekends on the touchline or courtside watching my children play sport. When time permits I still play a bit of football, a bit of golf and go for the odd run.
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!
The full staffing list for the school can be found in the attachment below.