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.


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.



Robert Lumley
Link area: Health and Safety

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: Equality

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.

Staff Governor

Toni Smith – Staff Governor
Link area: Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural

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.


Matthew Barrett – Governor

Link area – Safeguarding and Prevent

Matthew has been teaching for 18 years, since completing his PGCE at Middlesex University, which was followed up with a MA in Teaching. Matthew is currently a teacher of Business and Economics at Shrewsbury School and he has been a boarding housemaster there for the last five years. In his role he has completed the Boarding Schools’ Association Certificate Course and  is fully aware of the relevant policies and guidance surrounding boarding. Matthew is a member of the NEU and is trying to keep up to date with issues affecting the wider education sector. Matthew moved with his family to Shropshire in 2009. Matthew’s wife works for the Shrewsbury Colleges Group and their three daughters all attend comprehensive schools in Shrewsbury.  Matthew is passionate about education and committed in all he does.


David Watts – Vice Chair

Link area: Curriculum

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 Tina Newton MBChB FRCPCH – Parent Governor

Link area: Sixth Form

Tina is the parent of three children at Thomas Adams School.

Tina works as a Consultant Paediatrician in the Emergency Department at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and has additional management roles as lead for the Major Trauma Service and as Clinical Director for Urgent and Critical Care. As a paediatrician working on the ‘front line’, Tina is a passionate advocate for children and young people. Tina has many years of experience in child protection, mental health and of course physical health.

Working in a city centre hospital, she has also had her eyes opened to some of the very real threats facing our young people including violence, exploitation and drugs. The ubiquitous technology that we embrace means these threats are no longer confined to the cities, and our children are increasingly placed at risk despite our rural location.

Tina believes that her skill set and interests align well with the ethos of Thomas Adams School. In particular, she is looking forward to supporting areas such as inclusivity, safeguarding, mental health, physical health and well-being.



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.


Stuart Mason – Parent Governor

Link area: Careers

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.


Robert Hatts

Link Area: Pupil Performance Data

Rob is from the North East of England where he spent the first eighteen years of his life. Secondary education was at the Newcastle Royal Grammar School at a time when it was supported by Local Education Authorities. Thence on to St Mary’s Hospital Medical School at London University. Various medical training jobs followed until in 1984 Rob was appointed as a Consultant Anaesthetist to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where he worked for over 30 years. He also took a year out to work in New Zealand.

Rob joined the Shrewsbury Drapers Guild in 2002 becoming Master in 2009. Always interested in the pastoral side of public service, Rob has become closely involved with the management of the 51 Drapers Almshouses.

He is married with three adult children who have now fled the nest. Rob enjoys tennis, walking and sailing in his leisure time.  Completing the 50 mile Longmynd Hike on a couple of occasions was particularly rewarding.


The Thomas Adams School
Lowe Hill
SY4 5UB 

01939 237000