Vacancy for the post of Governor on the Newtown Primary School Governing Body


We are looking for a dedicated individual who wants to make a difference in the lives of our children at Newtown.

Governors play an important role in a school, setting and reviewing the school’s strategic direction and agreeing targets for improvement.  The governors are responsible for offering supportive challenge to the head teacher and school leaders to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and help raise standards.  The governors also oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure the budget is well spent.

School Governors work as a team and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. They make a positive contribution to our children’s education by offering their skills, expertise and time. Governors attend meetings and take on a lead governor monitoring role, working initially with another more experienced governor. New governors are given training in the role and are allocated a mentor as they learn about being a school governor.

We are particularly interested in applications from members of the local community with experience in finance, data and statistics and website and communications. However, please do not be put off if you do not have these skills. What is more important is enthusiasm, interest and the willingness to learn.

If you are interested in being a governor at Newtown, please contact the Chair of Governors, Jill Mather, ( or the Clerk to Governors, Jessica Benger, ( to discuss the role.


We very much look forward to hearing from you.

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







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

The Role of the Governing Body

  • 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

Delgation of Authority of the Full Governing Board 1

Meet the Governors


Jill Mather - Chair of the Governing Board

Although I only recently joined the Governing Body at Newtown, I have known the school since the 1980s when my children attended what was then Newtown First School. We chose Newtown because it was a small community school and our children thrived in its friendly atmosphere. I have enjoyed getting to know the school again as a Governor, and more recently as Chair, and I will be working hard to ensure your children also have a happy and successful time here.


I live locally and have had a life-long interest in education, having taught English in state secondary schools for nearly 40 years. I am also a member of St JamesChurch in Exeter and enjoy allotment gardening, long-distance walking and being with our five grandchildren.




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.


Philippa Danvers

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!


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.


Claire Baker

I am delighted to have recently become a governor at Newtown Primary School. I have a degree in Economics and trained as a Chartered Tax adviser.  I am also a parent of a child in Year 2 at Newtown and my son will start in September 2018. Newtown will be a large part of our lives for the foreseeable future and I really value the opportunity to contribute towards its success.  My first impression was that the school would be a safe and nurturing place for my children to enjoy learning. I feel like the school shares my view that children are individuals and should be encouraged to develop socially and emotionally as well as on an academic level.

Through governance I look forward to learning about the education sector and developing my skills to support the school.


In my spare time I enjoy reading, teaching myself to crochet, going to the gym and walking.


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

Earlier this year, I relocated from London to Exeter and am enjoying exploring the city and surrounding area. I have recently been co-opted as a 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.

Jill Mather Co-opted Governing Board Chair of Governors Teaching & Learning Lead Governor 26.02.15 - 25.02.19
Vacancy Parent Governing Board   Parent & Community Links Lead Governor  
Saxon Spence Co-opted Governing Board Chair of Pay & Performance Committee

Inclusion & SEND Lead Governor

Pay & Performance Committee

15.01.15 - 14.01.19
Sally Herbert Ex Officio Right of Office Headteacher   01.09.17 - present
Claire Ward Staff Elected by staff   Teaching and Learning lead Governor 11.01.2018 - 10.01.2022
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
Richard Westlake Co-opted Governing Board   Inclusion & SEND Lead Governor 15.01.15 - 14.01.19
Philippa Danvers Co-opted Governing Board  

Staffing 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 15.01.15 - 14.01.19
Claire Baker Co-opted Governing Board  

Finance Lead Governor

Pay & Performance Committee

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 16.11.2017 - 15.11.2021
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
Victoria Darious Staff Elected by staff   Resigned 01.01.2015 - 10.01.2018
Penny Burnside Co-opted Governing Board   Resigned 15.01.2015 - 01.09.2017
Steve Fearn Parent Elected by parents   Term of Office ended 05.07.2013 - 04.07.2017
Ruth Jones Ex officio Right of Office Headteacher Retired 15.04.2014 - 31.08.2017


Image result for ted wragg multi academy trust

Update on the Stakeholder Consultation for Academy Conversion and Joining the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust


Last term we wrote to you to invite you to share your views with us on conversion to academy status in order to join the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust. We held a consultation meeting on Monday 15th October at 6pm in the school hall and offered other opportunities for discussion over the following six weeks. We are grateful to those of you who engaged in the process. Having consulted stakeholders, the governors are continuing the discussions with the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust with a view to joining it in due course. Let us assure you that we continue to hold the education and well-being of the children in our school at the heart of all our decisions and negotiations.

Consultation for Academy Conversion and Joining the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust

Monday 15th October at 6pm






Academy Order Conversion Process at Newtown


The process


1. On 18.01.16, governors and staff invited a Devon Governor Consultant to talk to us about the Devon situation with regard to partnerships. We discussed the government agenda at the time and the Education and Adoption Bill 2015. We heard about Multi-Academy Trusts, Federations and Cooperative trusts. We were given information about the Devon landscape of partnerships and about Exeter schools, in particular.


2. On 11.02.16, we drew up a list of “non-negotiables” in considering working in partnership with other schools: school improvement would be at the heart of the MAT; our distinctive ethos as a school would be respected and maintained; it would be a local partnership of schools; we would retain our local Headteacher and Governing Body.


3. We set up a working party of governors to explore options. An accompanying paper set out our Strengths; our Needs (so we improve further); our Challenges; our Questions we would ask each partnership we explored. We emphasised again the crucial need to keep our focus on school improvement.


4. On 12.05.16 we invited the Chair of the Ted Wragg Trust and the Executive Headteacher to give a presentation to staff and governors. We were able to ask many questions.


5. In January 2017, after exploring several options (see below), the Working Party met the Chair of the Trust to discuss the capacity of the TWMAT to take on more schools.


6. On 30.03.17, the Governing Board passed the Statement of Intent to join the Ted Wragg Multi Academy Trust:

“The Governing Body of Newtown Primary School commits to initiate negotiations with TWMAT with a view to joining the MAT within a 3-year period.”


7. On 09.02.18, the Chair of Governors and the Head Teacher went to Cranbrook Education Campus to meet the Executive Head and the Director of Operations. We walked around their primary campus and asked questions related to our non-negotiables and discussed next steps.


8. On 09.05.18, the Governing Body invited the Chair of the TWMAT, the Headteacher of Exwick Heights (the lead primary school in the trust) and the Director of Operations for TWMAT to answer a series of governors’ questions.


9. At the FGB Meeting on 24.05.18, the Governing Body voted “to proceed with the academy conversion process and formally join the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust, subject to formal consultation”.


In conclusion, in all our exploration and questioning, the TWMAT was the one which stood out from the others as fulfilling our aims in working in partnership. Its record of school improvement and its commitment to the education of children in the Exeter area is impressive and we believe our children at Newtown will benefit greatly from this new partnership.


Other options considered and rejected


1. First Federation – not a local partnership of schools.

2. The Chair met with a representative of the C of E St Christopher’s MAT – not fitting in with our ethos.

3. Connect Education Trust presented their partnership to the GB – lack of experience.

4. The Otter Valley Federation – a fact-finding visit to explore working in a federation. We felt, however, that we needed to join an established MAT with a proven record of school improvement.

5. The working party also visited other various groupings, such as local federations, and attended a meeting convened by St Peter’s C of E High School and the Stoke Hill grouping to discuss Exeter partnership options.




Letter from Ms Jill Mather, Chair of Newtown Primary School's Governing Body (July 2018)


Dear Parents and Carers


As you may be aware, over many months the Governors at Newtown Primary School have been exploring ways we might work in partnership with other schools to secure the best education and outcomes for the children in our care.


I am writing to let you know that on 24th May 2018, we voted to start the process of joining the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust, and that on 4th June 2018 the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Ted Wragg MAT informed us that our request had been approved.


Our request will now be submitted to the Regional Schools’ Commissioner and the Department of Education to gain permission to convert to academy status in order to join the MAT.


We will then move to a period of consultation with all stakeholders, including parents and staff. Meetings will be arranged to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to hear our reasons for choosing to join the Ted Wragg MAT and to ask questions.


There will be several opportunities to hear exactly why we have chosen to join this local group of schools, comprising St James’ High School, Isca Academy, West Exe School, Exwick Heights Primary School and Cranbrook Education Campus. Let me assure you that school improvement and educational excellence are at the heart both of our decision-making and the Ted Wragg MAT’s vision for education in the Exeter area.


On our Governors’ pages on the school website, you can read the letters from the Governing Board and from the Chair of the Ted Wragg MAT. You can also find out more about the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust from its website:


You can also contact me on


With very best wishes





Jill Mather

Chair of the Governing Board