There is a part-time Director and an Administrator. The organisation also has part-time core tutors, casual supply tutors and a team of volunteers. Its bookkeeper, Sue Hutter, comes from the A1 group of companies based in Kidlington, Oxon.
Jayne Lacny, Director
Jayne Lacny joined Reading Quest in January 2011, having worked for the charity as a tutor/manager seven years previously. A journalist by trade, Jayne has been in the field of education for the last 15 years and during that time she has devoted herself to helping the disadvantaged improve their skills in literacy and numeracy. After a spell helping children through the Reading Quest programme, she worked in Adult Learning, exploring the difficulties adults had with basic skills, and later managed a department for an early years’ charity. Jayne believes that Reading Quest’s work is life-changing for pupils and is always delighted to hear from people who would like to support such a dynamic cause.
Chris Burton, Chair
Chris is a performance coach, working with senior leaders and teams in business, education and sport to help them raise their performance. He has a business background, with experience in Sales, Marketing and General Management. He has spent time living and working in Asia, as Managing Director for the Mars businesses in Taiwan and South Korea, as well as living in Dublin as Managing Director of Mars Ireland.
Chris has a long term link with Oxford, having studied Chemistry at Oxford University in the 1980’s, and now works with some local businesses, schools and with some of the Oxfordshire cricket teams. Having four children himself, Chris is passionate about helping all children to get the maximum help in developing their skills and confidence.
Alastair is the Chief Information Officer for International Banking at RBS, where he has gained significant experience in running large organisations. He sits on the Executive Steering Group for the RBS M&IB Building Community programme and has worked to develop links with local community partners and secure three days volunteering leave for all staff. Alastair first encountered Reading Quest mentoring a Pilotlight initiative to support a group of RBS graduates working with the charity.
Alastair is also the vice chair of the governing body at an inner city school in Southwark and a Board member of Byte Night, an Action for Children sleep-out raising funds for and awareness of youth homelessness. He has two daughters who are responsible for further developing his already significant interest in education, particularly in Mathematics, Information Technology and the use of IT across the curriculum.
Joe has worked as a tutor, co-ordinator and manager in Adult and Further Education since the early 80s. His principal area of interest has been in adult basic skills – literacy, language and numeracy. In London and, since 2001, in Oxfordshire, he has been engaged in the development of these key skills with local communities. In his current role for Oxfordshire County Council Adult Learning, he manages the Skills for Life (Literacy, Numeracy, ESOL), Family Learning and Learning Disability programmes. This incorporates responsibilities for budgetary and quality management, both areas of direct relevance to Reading Quest.
As a trustee for Reading Quest his focus is around the skills support provided for parents/carers, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. Having worked with Reading Quest in the past, he is very aware of the opportunities opened up for parents by the programme.
Councillor Van Coulter
Van was educated as a political economist at Ruskin College, Oxford. He currently serves as a City Councillor for Barton and Sandhills ward in Oxford. Van is a humanist who seeks to support actions that uphold mainstream inclusion and address inequalities. Van believes that every person counts and calls for the provision of opportunities throughout childhood and adult life to allow for development of the potential within each one of us. Van reads widely, including academic research about early years education. His hobbies include the study of sustainable economic development, mitigation of climate change and international relations.
Christine Plews is a partner at Blake Lapthorn law firm and leads the Family team in Oxford. She specialises in financial matters and cases involving business assets and trusts. Christine has helped launch collaborative law in the Oxford region and remains involved in the development of this area through being a trustee of Oxford Family Mediation. Christine’s charitable work also extends to being the local area representative for CAFOD (including Fairtrade initiatives).
A francophile, Christine spends a lot of time at her house in the south-west of France. She is an avid reader, book collector and a member of a local book group. She is interested in how children learn to read and the difficulties that some children have when faced with this challenge.
Julie St Clair Hoare
Julie is very pleased to be supporting Reading Quest as a trustee. She has been teaching in primary schools around Oxfordshire for over 30 years and was very proud to be head teacher of West Oxford Community Primary School for 10 years. More recently she has been an associate lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, enjoying working with student teachers. She also enjoys singing, swimming, playing the violin (not very well) and of course, READING!
Tony Hobbs, Financial Advisor
Tony is an accountant with experience in many sectors, having qualified in 1992. In 1986, Tony joined Chapman, Robinson and Moore accountants in Oxford and is today the Managing Director. As the Managing Director, he has an overview of all activities at CRM, but has a particular interest in business development. This has evolved through a combination of working closely with clients on the financial management of their business, and background studying and courses. Tony acts as the Financial Director for a number of clients, helping them to ‘make the numbers work’ in their business.
Sue Hutter works for the A1 Group Ltd, who are qualified and experienced in all areas of bookkeeping and payroll. She previously worked in the banking profession until re-training as a bookkeeper in 2008. She enjoys all sports and still plays hockey and is chairman of her local team. She is an avid reader and, having seen her own daughter struggle to overcome her own reading difficulties, is happy to be able to help the charity by looking after their day to day bookkeeping and payroll activities.
Mandy King, Literacy Consultant
Mandy has over twenty years experience in primary education as a teacher and senior manager in Buckinghamshire primary schools, a literacy consultant with Oxfordshire LA and as an independent consultant for literacy and learning. She was awarded a MA in Education (Language and Literacy) with distinction in 2004 and Accreditation as a Local Consultant for improvement in Primary Support for writing in 2010. Passionate about improving the life chances of all children through the effective learning and teaching of literacy, she believes in the importance of engaging children in the exploration of high quality texts and developing all four aspects of literacy together to establish a strong foundation of skills, knowledge and understanding from which children can grow and flourish.
Mandy also runs her own literacy consultancy company called Amanda King Education Support Ltd and you can contact her on email@example.com
Mary Hopper, Literacy Consultant (Northamptonshire)
Mary Hopper, who works in partnership with Reading Quest, is an Independent Literacy Consultant and self-confessed grammar geek! From Old English runes to modern classroom practice, Mary specialises in English language professional development. Until 2011 she was the Lead Advisor for Primary English at Northamptonshire Local Authority. She continues to support schools, charities and individuals to develop children’s English through her company, Three Bears Literacy Consultancy. Mary is also the author of forthcoming publications Outdoor Literacy and Unlocking Speaking and Listening in Every Child.
As a primary school teacher Penny was inspired by children’s energy and drive to learn, but she was frustrated by seeing children who just hadn’t managed to learn to read. Reading Quest grew out of research she did for her MA at Oxford Brookes. It took shape on a rough estate where school failure spelt trouble. Seeing children succumb to the magic of books and stories was a constant thrill, as was working with adults who shared her passion to get children reading.
Interns and Volunteers
Reading Quest is lucky enough to currently have on board a group of wonderful interns. These interns are invaluable to our charity through supporting various aspects of our work including marketing, promotion and fundraising. The time they dedicate and the work they do means Reading Quest is able to continue supporting vulnerable children and their families.
Amy supports Reading Quest through raising awareness in Oxfordshire schools and fundraising with Oxford University. She graduated in Classics from Brasenose College last year and lives in Oxford with friends. She is also doing an internship in the Education Department of the Wallace Collection in London, and is a volunteer at several of the museums in Oxford. She really enjoys becoming more involved in the Oxford community through her voluntary work.
Clare is at Oxford Brookes University studying to become a registered children’s nurse, having previously gained a BA in Chinese and International Development at the University of Leeds. She has always been interested in the voluntary sector and in the past has volunteered with the RNIB and in China with Voluntary Service Overseas, and has participated in fundraising projects for various charities. Clare is passionate about children’s literacy as she believes it can ensure children have a brighter future with more options and is excited about being part of Reading Quest.
Georgia is an undergraduate student at Oxford University studying Human Sciences. Alongside her academic studies, Georgia swims on an international level for New Zealand’s disabled team. She has enjoyed much success in her swimming, currently holding two national records, as well as a third for 50m breaststroke within the Asia-Pacific region; she hopes to compete in the International Swimming Championships 2013. Georgia also used her swimming abilities to raise funds for Reading Quest by undertaking a sponsored 15K swim in May 2012. Although originally from New Zealand, Georgia spent her secondary school years in Singapore and became active in volunteering with various literacy projects across the Asian region. She has worked for charities in India, Indonesia and Cambodia, all with the aim of improving childhood education and literacy. Georgia is passionate about the literacy cause and hopes to form permanent links between Reading Quest and the University through fundraising events throughout the year.
Catherine is a solicitor with Manches LLP in Oxford where she has worked for many years. Now her 2 children are in their teens, she has more time for volunteering. She has helped out on occasion for Helen and Douglas House and works regularly in the village community shop. Needless to say she has always loved reading. She really appreciates the good start her own children were given when first learning to read, and would very much like this to be the case for all children.
Dominic currently works as a trainee accountant for Wenn Townsend, Oxford. His work with Reading Quest includes finding the literacy and numeracy news for the website, managing our Twitter page and researching into literacy literature. A Biochemistry graduate from Imperial College, London, he currently lives in St Clement’s, Oxford. This is his second spell of volunteering, having previously helped run the local cubs and scout groups in his hometown in Norfolk. Since reading can make such an important difference to our lives, he feels privileged to be able to help such an important project.
Having previously worked as an Administrator for Reading Quest, Daniel continues to support our charity. After leaving he worked in strategic operations for Advance Housing and Support Ltd through the Charityworks programme. He is now on secondment to the Department of Health as a Policy Adviser. He has worked across the charity sector in a variety of roles and is currently a board member for an international development charity. Having benefited from a similar scheme to Reading Quest as a child, Daniel wants all children to be able to enter the wonderful world of books. Daniel particularly helps Reading Quest with strategic and IT matters.
Phil helps Reading Quest through offering administrative support in the office. He enjoys being a part of the busy team and seeing all the staff members and tutors going about their work. Alongside volunteering, Phil is learning sign language and often helps out with local deaf meetings, which are very rewarding. In the future, he hopes to take his sign language further by studying it at university. Phil is a keen reader and believes that the work that Reading Quest does is vital as it is important every child gets to experience the joys of reading.
Tim helps out in the (busy) Reading Quest office regularly. He tries to balance part-time work alongside volunteering, and he plans to travel to the east and west of the world as part of his gap year. He aims to study English and Linguistics at university and feels the work of Reading Quest can only help his overall experience. English is his favourite subject, and although he is not the most enthusiastic reader these days, he loves the use of words, jokes, accents, puns and pronunciation – anything English-related! – which is why the charity’s work appeals to him. His spare time includes, sport, FIFA, jiving to his ipod, thinking about ‘the need to exercise’ and much-needed sleep!
Mundita is a History and Politics graduate of Oxford Brookes University. She helps with the administrative tasks in the office as well as fundraising. She currently lives in one of the many villages surrounding the city of Oxford. As a child, she suffered from terrible shyness and it was through reading that she finally found her confidence. She would like children to discover the joys of reading and the benefits of good literacy in general. She greatly appreciates the work that Reading Quest does and would like to increase awareness of the organisation’s work.
Having joined the Reading Quest team through his university, Charles is excited to be able to contribute in his administrative role in the office. He is an Oxford Brookes student studying English literature. He is an avid reader and his favourite book series is Game of Thrones. In addition to volunteering, he also contributes as a writer to his university publication, Oxford Observer. He hopes to gain invaluable administrative skills to help aid him in his own ‘quest’ to become a successful journalist after university.
Alex is a dedicated volunteer who helps in the office and with family libraries. She studied biochemistry at Exeter College, Oxford and Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes, and hopes for a career in conservation education. When not with Reading Quest, Alex volunteers at a local primary school, is the subject co-ordinator for Teach Green, helps deliver food with the Food Bank and is a learning volunteer at London Zoo. She also organises events like the Action Day against Climate Change and enjoys gardening at OxGrow Community Garden. She volunteers for Reading Quest because she feels the best way to learn is to read, so you need to learn how.