Governance during lockdown and Parent Governor Vacancy

Dear Parents 
The governors are still very much in touch with the school during the lockdown. We have held some virtual meetings through Microsoft TEAMS and we are checking in to school regularly by phone and email to see how the children and staff are getting on in these very difficult times. We love the pictures on the website gallery and are extremely grateful to all the staff for their tremendous effort to keep the school open and to support the children at school and in their homes. 
We have a vacancy for a Parent Governor on our Governing Board at the moment and I would like you to consider if you could give some time to supporting the school by applying to be a governor. 
We will not be able to send out election papers while school is closed, but if you would like to join us when school life returns to normal, do please get in touch with us. You can contact me initially by emailing You will also be able to read about us and the roles we carry out for the school on the Governors' pages on the school website. 
With my very best to you and your families at this time
Jill Mather
Chair of the Governing Board

Meet the Governors


Jill Mather - Chair of the Governing Board

I have had a life-long interest in education:  I taught English in state secondary schools for nearly 40 years and currently work part-time for Exeter University on its teacher training programme. I still do some tutoring in English and work with teenagers at St James’ Church in Exeter. In my leisure time I enjoy allotment gardening, long-distance walking and spending time with our grandchildren.


I have known Newtown since the 1980’s when my children attended what was then Newtown First School. We chose Newtown then because it was a small community school with an inclusive ethos and our children thrived in its friendly atmosphere. I have, therefore, enjoyed getting to know the school again as a governor, and more recently as Chair. In my work as a governor I will be doing my best to try to ensure your children enjoy a safe, successful and stimulating time here, prepared to move on to their secondary schools with confidence.


Philippa Danvers - Vice Chair of Governing Board 

I am lucky enough to have been a primary school teacher for many years, as well as bringing up three children who all went to Newtown during the late 80’s and 90’s. They enjoyed their time at the school immensely and it was a very special time in their education. During my career, I have had the opportunity to fulfil a range of leadership roles as well as writing online plans for teachers and teaching art to large numbers of children!


Saxon Spence

I have lived in Newtown for nearly four years and enjoy being part of this lively community, so welcome the opportunity to support our much-loved local school. My background is that I was a Devon County Councillor with a particular interest in education until I retired in 2013. 


Currently I am a governor of the Learn to Live Federation (Ellen Tinkham & Bidwell Brook Schools) and on the board of the Ted Wragg Trust which includes Isca, St. James’ and West Exe High Schools. Other interests are the Co-operative Movement and food policy.


Sally Herbert


Hayley Back


Richard Westlake M.B.E.

I have been a governor of Newtown Primary School for 10 years, focusing first on Health and Safety, and now sharing responsibility for Special Needs and Inclusion.   For more than 40 years I worked on the railway ending up as a high speed train driver. I was the county councillor for the area until May when I retired.


Currently I am a trustee of the St. Sidwell’s Community Centre and Exeter Food Action, am involved with health, chairing the Exeter Patient Participation Group, and transport issues. Still active  in politics and the Co-operative Movement, in my spare time I like travelling.



Now retired from teaching, I have the time to pursue a range of interests, as well as enjoying my grandchildren. I am still very passionate about primary education and delighted to once again be involved in the life of Newtown


Jane Morris

I am a parent governor and my son, Stan, is in Year 4.  My daughter, Maggie, also came here but is now at Isca.  I live nearby and I absolutely love this school.  I was previously a parent governor (and subsequently Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee) at Newtown when I first moved to Exeter and have recently returned to the fold as I really missed being involved in making our school better and better.

My day job is at Exeter College where I run the Teacher Education department.  It is an absolute passion of mine that education remains comprehensive, inclusive and that the experts are listened to.

In my spare time I like to go camping in our lovely van.  I also play the piano and very much enjoy colouring in and making Lego robots.


Sandra Dalgleish

I qualified as a primary teacher and for some years taught in Dagenham and Exeter. I then transferred to work in the Civil Service and later in Local Government, including working in the Careers Service. Finally, I spent many happy years with a large insurance company dealing with claims and loans. Now retired, I enjoy keeping fit, doing exercise classes and walking my dog. My hobbies include listening to music, gardening and bird-watching. I enjoy going to talks and visiting places of interest with a group I belong to. I also spend time walking with friends who live on the coast.


I am proud to have been a Governor at Newtown for six years, completing several courses to keep up to date with educational matters. I love the diversity of Newtown School and its happy atmosphere.



Mike Cox

I joined the Governing Board in May 2015. Before I retired, I was Deputy Headteacher at St Peter’s C of E Aided School in Exeter. My role included responsibility for curriculum, assessment and reporting, data collection and analysis and the management of the school’s Management Information Systems.


I enjoy working with my fellow Governors at Newtown. It’s a vibrant school serving its local community. With a secondary education background I’ve had a lot to learn but I’ve found my previous experience helpful and the Governor Training very supportive.


I’m married, have three sons and four grandchildren. As well as spending time with my grandchildren, I enjoy walking, cycling, birdwatching, listening to classical music and photography. I’m a member of Newtown Community Choir and of Belmont Chapel and, along with my wife, run Marriage Courses.


David Thompson

I have relocated from London to Exeter and am enjoying exploring the city and surrounding area. I am a Co-opted  Governor and look forward to participating in the life of Newtown School and contributing to its success.


I studied Biochemistry, was a teacher for several years and then retrained as a tax inspector.  Subsequently I was employed as a management consultant by PwC and IBM. I am now self-employed and work part-time.


I enjoy the performing arts and was a volunteer usher at the Arcola Theatre, which has a strong commitment to diversity and community engagement. My hobbies are long distance walking and writing short stories. I have five children and three grandchildren.


Sean Callard

My involvement with Newtown began in 2018 when, after a career in CX and Product Development, I started volunteering in order to gain classroom experience prior to beginning a foundation course in Primary Education at Durham University. My initial plan to stay for a few weeks was quickly abandoned as I grew attached to the school, and I now spend approximately 3 months at Newtown throughout the year, alongside continuing my studies in Education Psychology at the University of Cambridge. 


During my time at Newtown I have worked with several classes, primarily within Key Stage 2, and have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the life of this wonderful school. As the Parent and Community Lead Governor, my priorities will be to ensure good communication between the school and parents, to promote engagement and collaboration with local businesses and organisations, and to work with FoNS to strengthen the school community through social events and activities.







Please find below details of how our Governing Board is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.


The Chair of the Governing Board can be contacted via the school office or by email

Jill Mather Co-opted Governing Board Chair of Governors Staffing Lead Governor 14.03.19 - 13.03.23
VACANT Parent Governing Board      
Saxon Spence Co-opted Governing Board Chair of Pay & Performance Committee

Finance Lead Governor

Pay & Performance Committee

07.11.2019 - 06.11.2023

Sally Herbert Ex Officio Right of Office Headteacher   01.09.17 - present
Hayley Back Staff Elected by staff   Premises and Health & Safety Lead Governor 01.09.19 - 30.08.23
VACANT Local Authority Nominated by the Local Authority (Devon County Council)      
Richard Westlake Co-opted Governing Board   Inclusion & SEND Lead Governor 07.11.19 - 06.11.23
Philippa Danvers Co-opted Governing Board Vice Chair of the Governing Board

Teaching & Learning Lead Governor

HT Performance Management Committee

26.05.16 - 25.05.20
VACANT Co-opted Governing Board      
Sandra Dalgleish Co-opted Governing Board  

Safeguarding Lead Governor

Inclusion & SEND Lead Governor

07.11.19 - 06.11.23
Sean Callard Co-opted Governing Board   Parent and Community Lead Governor

17.10.19 - 16.10.23

Mike Cox Co-opted Governing Board  

Premises and Health & Safety Lead Governor

Pay & Performance Committee

19.05.15 - 18.05.19
Jane Morris Parent Elected by parents   Teaching & Learning Lead Governor 16.11.17 - 15.11.21
David Thompson Co-opted Governing Board   Safeguarding Lead Governor 19.10.17 -18.10.21
Jessica Benger Clerk to governors Recruited Clerk to Governing body   01.09.13 - present
Claire Baker Co-opted Governing Board  

Finance Lead Governor

Pay & Performance Committee

Jenny Lloyd Local Authority Nominated by the Local Authority (Devon County Council) Chair of HT Performance Management Committee

Finance Lead Governor

HT Performance Management Committee

03.12.15 - 02.12.19
Laetitia Bronchon-Harmsworth Parent Elected by parents Vice Chair of the Governing Board Parent and Community Links Governor 05.07.2013 - 01.09.2019
Claire Ward Staff Elected by staff   Teaching & Leaning Lead Governor 11.01.2018 - 15.04.2019


The Role of the Governing Board

  • to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • to hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • to oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure its money is well spent

Delgation of Authority of the Full Governing Board

Governance Impact Statement September 2018 – July 2019


“Embracing Excellence, Celebrating Diversity and Nurturing Individuality”


This is the annual report from the Governing Body to let you know about the work we have been doing to ensure that our “village school in the heart of the city” is led effectively to achieve the best outcomes for the children and is managing its resources well.


Governors in maintained schools have statutory duties to fulfil, requiring them:

  • to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • to hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • to oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure its money is well spent


The governors have met on 10 occasions as a full Governing Body this year, following an agreed Annual Cycle of Business. The Minutes are published on the governors’ pages of the school website ( along with detailed reports submitted by our Lead Governors, reporting on seven key areas of Teaching and Learning, Safeguarding, Finance, Premises and Health & Safety, Staffing, Community Links and Special Educational Needs.


In September 2018 we identified our strategic direction and priorities for the year ahead to be:

  1. Standards: to ensure all pupils make substantial progress and develop a positive attitude to learning so that the school is judged at least “Good” at its next Ofsted inspection.
  2. Community: to celebrate and promote the values of “Embracing Excellence, Celebrating Diversity, Nurturing Individuality” to the Newtown Community through our website and all our communications. 3
  3. Leadership: to enhance the leadership of the school – within Newtown, by developing new leaders; by joining the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust; by continuing to secure effective partnerships with local schools.



Pupil Progress and Learning

The children’s learning, progress and well-being are central to all our discussions, questioning and decision-making. We have received detailed reports from the Headteacher which, taken alongside our Lead Governor reports, offer us a picture of the children’s progress and give us opportunities to challenge and question the Headteacher. Individual governors have also visited the school to join pupil interviews with staff, to carry out learning walks and to take part in book scrutinies. Their reports are brought to the Governing Body meetings. In November, we held an extra training meeting on the specific targets for improvement set by Ofsted in its last inspection. Our SEND Lead Governor also met, in an extra meeting, the Headteacher and SENCO to talk about the provision for our children with special needs in these times of challenging budgets. From our Minutes you will see that we have been monitoring the progress in maths with the introduction of the Hamilton maths scheme; we have been receiving regular reports on the progress of all year groups and specific groups within year groups; and been informed on the school’s progress in its curriculum review in readiness for September 2019.


Keeping Children Safe

In September 2018 we joined the staff in its Level 2 Safeguarding training. Each time we meet as a Governing Body, or visit school as individual governors, we monitor and report on safeguarding procedures or issues. The Headteacher reports to us regularly any exclusions made, the attendance figures and the pupil roll. The Chair and the Headteacher also meet each week.


We have altered our practice on email and storage of information in the light of GDPR. Governors have also walked round the school conducting spot-checks to monitor the security of information and data.


Finances and Budget

You will no doubt be aware of the national crisis in school funding which has been a huge challenge for us at Newtown this year, with our falling roll, due partly to the changing demographic of our area. We spent many hours in our meetings in the Spring term receiving various options from our Bursar and Headteacher and detailed reports from our Finance governors in order to set our budget for the next two years. This was no easy task and some difficult decisions had to be made.


Pupil numbers and projections indicate that next year we will operate with 6, rather than 7 teachers, meaning that all classes except Year 6 will span two year groups.



Keeping in Touch

We have taken every opportunity to attend school events, such as Parents’ Evenings, school shows, concerts and the May Day celebrations. We do hope that you feel you can talk to us then as we can do our job better if we know how you feel about your children’s education. We send out a yearly questionnaire and we would encourage all parents to complete this each year so that we can respond to your feedback. You can also email us through the school website at or


Part of a Community Team

We continue to be grateful for the work of the Friends of Newtown School (FONS) for their fund-raising and social events. We have supported the Headteacher in making links with local schools and working with Newtown Community Pre-school to access the after-school club. There is a strong Newtown Community Association and our children regularly attend events, with our choir singing at the Respect Festival, Exeter Cathedral and Exeter City Football club. We are also fortunate to have the support of one of our local Devon County Councillors, Su Aves, a former Chair of Governors at Newtown Primary School.



Restructuring the teaching team

New leaders have been appointed this year to lead subject areas and curriculum development. As some of the subject leaders have been on maternity leave for part of the year, we are pleased to report that other staff have been able to step up to take on more responsibility.


The Ted Wragg Trust

Our plan to join the Ted Wragg Trust group of schools has been delayed as the Regional Schools Commissioner advised the Ted Wragg Trust to agree a budget before formalising our partnership. (Other schools joining the Trust have been asked to do the same.) Consultation with the Trust continues.


Other Working Partnerships

The governors have encouraged and supported the many working partnerships Newtown has been developing in the recent year. Newtown teachers have been working closely with the staff at other local schools to share best practice and to moderate standards of pupils’ work; St Luke’s High School supports us in our sports provision; we have continued to be supported by the Local Authority advisers. These working partnerships are so important to us, as a small, distinctive school, allowing us to promote our core values and to learn from others. We believe firmly that we are stronger together, celebrating our diversity as we work together for our children in Exeter.


Looking forward to 2019 – 2020

From September, we will continue to focus on school improvement, standards and developing our partnerships with the community and other schools. Alongside our statutory duties, we will monitor the impact of the new curriculum; the effect of the introduction of mixed age groups in classes; the teaching and learning in English and maths; and the effectiveness of school initiatives to promote wider reading and productive homework.


And finally…

Thank you to our Headteacher and to each and every member of staff for working so hard for the children at Newtown. Thank you to the children for working hard, for cooperating with others and for welcoming newcomers. Thank you to parents and carers for your daily support for the school and for coming along to as many of the events as you are able throughout the year.



Jill Mather On behalf of the Governing Body July 2019