Mark Cooper Headteacher

Mark started teaching at Thomas Adams in 1996, as a NQT of Physical Education and Business Studies. Since then, the school has played a major part in his life, his wife works at the school and both of his children attended Thomas Adams. Even the family dog, Oscar, goes to work daily as the boarding house dog!

Mark has worked as a staff governor for 8 years before becoming Headteacher. Mark always found the Governing Body forum most useful to discuss the inner running of a school with adults who bring experiences and expertise from other settings, that we can learn from; and feels this is a real strength of governance.

Mark’s aim for all of the young people he has the pleasure to work with has always been the same – to achieve their full potential. As Headteacher, Mark is extremely proud of the school and of its place within the communities of Wem and North Shropshire and he is as committed as ever to continuing to provide high quality education for our school community.

These are extremely challenging times for education, but Mark is confident that the Thomas Adams School community will, as always, meet these challenges and will continue to thrive.


Wing Commander Claire (Dolly) Harrison
Link area: Funding premiums

Wing Commander Claire Harrison joined the Royal Air Force in November 1999 and commissioned as an Air Traffic Control Officer. She is currently assigned to RAF Shawbury as the Officer Commanding the School of Air Operations Control.  RAF Shawbury employs personnel form all three services in a variety of roles and is prominent in the local community. Most of these families have children that attend Thomas Adams School and there is a strong link with the station. Wg Cmdr Harrison is ideally placed to understand the military families’ interests.  She was a governor prior to Thomas Adams joining the Trust and has served on many committees and participated in school visits.


Robert Lumley
Link area: Leadership and management

Robert is an entrepreneur and insurance professional who pioneered rent and legal protection, tenant referencing and legal expenses in the UK. Now he concentrates on helping young entrepreneurs with their start-ups and the family business, which are all based around insurance. 

Robert became a Drapers’ Governor of Thomas Adams in March 2014 and is Chairman of the Adams Foundation Wem which as a foundation traces itself back to Sir Thomas Adams who founded the school in 1650 and who was a Master of the Company of Drapers amongst other things. Hence the association between the Drapers and the School. 

Married to Louise, together they have 3 children who are now young adults and off pursuing their own interests. 

When Robert isn’t working, he can be found in Meribel where he escapes to enjoy the mountains. His other passions are classic cars, motorbikes and travelling. 



Rachel Jennings – Staff Governor

Link area: Safeguarding and Prevent

Rachel arrived at Thomas Adams in 1993 as a student and returned again in 2010, employed as an English teacher. Rachel is passionate about education and ensuring that each and every student in our care reaches their potential, especially those who come from a less privileged background. Rachel was the first person in her family to attend university and her time at Thomas Adams has given her the opportunities and confidence to apply to read Law at Bristol and she’s never looked back. Rachel would like in turn to support the school and local community that made such a difference to her own personal journey.


Gareth Jenkins
Link area: Safeguarding and Prevent

Gareth is a retired dentist based in Shrewsbury. Gareth became a governor at Thomas Adams School following a nomination by the London Drapers Company to represent them on The Foundation board. Previously, Gareth has been a governor at Oxon Church of England School and The Priory School continuously for 24 years. Outside dentistry and education governance, Gareth has been on the board of management of the Shrewsbury Drapers Company, The Gregynog Young Musicians and the Shropshire Magical Society. Gareth enjoys bespoke woodworking and furniture making. Gareth has also performed his magical act nationwide and in Norway, Argentina, Bulgaria, Spain, USA and South Korea.


Jo Hickson Chair of Governors

Jo has been a governor in three different roles; parent governor at her son’s Infant school in approximately 2003 for a year, staff governor at a primary school in approximately 2007 for two years and was voted as parent governor at Thomas Adams School since 2011. Jo was co-opted onto the Governing Body and has held the post of Vice-Chair for 3 years until being elected as Chair in January 2018. Jo works in Education as a middle leader in a special school and trained as a secondary RE teacher. Jo is married and has two sons; one has just completed university and one embarking on an engineering apprenticeship route.



David Watts – Vice Chair

Link area: Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

In his career, David has been a primary teacher for around 20 years, and has spent twelve months as an Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for SEND. David has been a SENCo for about 8 years since qualifying with the National Award for SEN Coordination.  Currently, David is an administrator at a small, local primary school. David is married with two children. They are and have attended Thomas Adams and it has been a joy to watch them develop, during their time at the school, into strong independent individuals with positive work ethics. David was a governor prior to Thomas Adams joining the Trust and has served on many committees and participated in school visits.


Dr James Wentel – Parent Governor

Link area: Infrastructure and Health & Safety

Dr James Wentel is a full time General Practitioner having been a Partner in the Practice in Much Wenlock since 2002. James currently has 2 boys at Thomas Adams and his older daughter was a student at The Priory School, another school within the Trust. James is passionate about helping and supporting the school to achieve and maintain high standards and to support all students to reach their full potential. James believes in the ‘comprehensive’ nature of Thomas Adams and the rich opportunities (and challenges) this brings for the students.


Staff Governor

Toni Smith – Staff Governor
Link area: Behaviour

Toni was born just over the border in Flintshire in a small place called Hawarden. Toni spent her early years living in the outskirts of Chester, moving to Whitchurch when she was 5 years old. Leaving High School in 1982 (SJT) with a bundle of CSEs, her only focus at that time was to join the Army. This was not meant to be as apparently, she had weak ankles.  The next stage of her life was to become a mother, but still hankering to progress, she put myself through College, where she went from strength to strength.  Starting her career in the secretarial world, Toni had the education bug and gained employment at Thomas Adams as a Cover Supervisor, having a brief 2 year working sabbatical in Wisconsin in the USA.


Stuart Mason – Parent Governor

Link area: Careers and Pupil Inspiration

Stuart is a serving Warrant Officer in the RAF. Stuart is a post-14 teacher gaining the Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status in 2012. Whilst employed as an instructor at RAF Shawbury, he attended Telford College of Art and Technology, where his interest in education began and continues to this day.  Stuart is a parent of two children who attend Thomas Adams and is proud to become a Parent Governor. Stuart has previously served as governor at three schools. Throughout these periods he acted as the critical friend of the Headteacher, staff and fellow governors which is key competent to be effective in the post.

Nicola Saltman – Governor

Link area: Finance

Nicola is a Finance Director for a company which she runs with her husband. She has worked in Finance for over 30 years and is a qualified accountant.  She currently has one child at Thomas Adams with a further two to enrol at later dates.

Nicola has a vast array of experience in Finance and HR and has been a school governor previously. She has also completed a course in Children’s Mental Health.

She is committed to helping the school to attain their strategic goals whilst trying to ensure that both the students and the school continue to maintain their high standards.

The Thomas Adams School
Lowe Hill
SY4 5UB 

01939 237000