Our Governance

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We are a Church of England Voluntary Controlled maintained school, and are a partner school of the Dartmoor Cooperative Learning Trust. Our governing body is made up of representatives from the Local Education Authority, the local Church, elected members of staff, elected parents and members of the community. You can read our Instrument of Governance hereThe Governing body has the important job of raising school standards through the core roles of:

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
  • overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

Effective governance is based on six key features:

Core pillars of the board’s role and purpose:

1) Strategic leadership that sets and champions vision, ethos and strategy.

2) Accountability that drives up educational standards and financial performance.

How governance is organised:

3) People with the right skills, experience, qualities and capacity.

4) Structures that reinforce clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Ensuring and improving the quality of governance

5) Compliance with statutory and contractual requirements.

6) Evaluation to monitor and improve the quality and impact of governance.

We operate a Portfolio structure to enable a better focus on particular areas of school governance. Our Portfolios cover Leadership; Teaching and Learning; Early Years; Finance; Premises, Health and Safety; Personal Development, Behaviour and Wellbeing (including Safeguarding); and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development. In addition to the responsibilities above, Portfolio Leads and Portfolio Governors have the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of the School Improvement Plan, an annual plan which identifies how the school can continually strive to improve our pupils’ outcomes based on the school’s Self Evaluation. For more information about all our areas of work, please click on the hyperlinks below or contact clerk@chagford-primary.devon.sch.uk 

Governing Body Terms of Reference

Governing Body Minutes

Governing Body Newsletters & Report

Governing Body Attendance

Governors’ Register of Pecuniary and Personal Interests

Governor Profiles

Sheila Mead, Chair of Governors

Co-opted Governor. Term of office expires 31.03.18
Portfolios: Leadership and Management (Lead Governor); Teaching, Learning & Assessment; Pay Review Committee.
Class Link 2017/18 for Caterpillar Class Year 2/3


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I moved down to Devon in 2011 with my husband and daughter after living for over 20 years in the West Midlands. We chose Chagford because of its wonderful location geographically and the strong sense of community. Prior to relocating, I worked in Education. For a number of years I taught in the classroom and was Deputy Head of a large primary school in Solihull. I then chose to be a ‘stay at home’ mother for a while before being enticed back into the educational world as an Early Years Advisor and then a Teaching and Learning Consultant for a local authority. Chagford will be my fifth school as a Governor.


Rev. Paul Seaton-Burn, Joint Vice Chair

Foundation Governor. Term of office expires: No expiry date Ex Officio governor.
Portfolios: Leadership and Management; Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural Development (Lead Governor).
Class Link 2017/18 for Grasshoppers Class Year 1 / 2


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I am the Team Rector of a family of eleven Anglican churches called The Whiddon Mission Community and am based in Chagford. I visit our school, and two other local primary schools, on a weekly basis. I have enjoyed a broad range of experience in both primary and secondary schools (as a governor, a parent, leading assemblies and providing pastoral care) and of training adults for ministry. Before being ordained I worked for a major investment management company in the City of London, specialising in closed-ended investment funds. I come from Northumberland and have four children, two spaniels, a cat and nine hens. My youngest son left Chagford Primary School in July 2014 and my eldest son now teaches English at a secondary school in Devon. As we seek to be an inclusive school where every child feels that they belong, that they are valued, I wholeheartedly endorse these words of Rowan Williams:
‘A Christian school is one in which the entire atmosphere is pervaded by the conviction that there is something mysterious, potentially wonderful in everybody…In which the atmosphere has that kind of openness about it; that sense that people are worth spending time with. That people need time to grow and that people need loving attention.’

Gill Smith, Joint Vice Chair

Co-opted Governor. Term of office expires 19.10.2018
Portfolios: Leadership and Management; Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare; Priority Schools Building Programme.
Class Link 2017/18 for Dragonflies Class Year 3 /4



I am a relative newcomer to Chagford having moved here from just outside Doddiscombesleigh about 7 years ago. We had however lived in the Teign Valley for some 25 years before our move and so our three, now grown up, children were all raised and educated in rural Devon. We are now very happy to be living on the edge of the moor with horses, black sheep, dog and cats, enjoying all the fantastic benefits of our community, playing tennis badly and using the pool on those wonderful hot tranquil days! I read philosophy at the University of Birmingham before qualifying as a solicitor and going on to gain a masters degree at UCL. I have worked as a lawyer in Exeter throughout our time in Devon, initially as a partner with Foot Anstey and more recently as a partner with Michelmores LLP. My practice area is corporate restructuring which gives exposure to a wide range of legal issues. My one nod to the teaching sector is that I am an examiner for our professional exam, the Joint Insolvency Exam for solicitors and accountants. I have always been a working mum and so I am familiar with the need to juggle and prioritise work and family life. I am also passionate about the importance of excellence in education and strongly believe this is the best gift we can give our own children and that this in turn will be passed down to successive generations. I welcome the opportunity to become involved as a governor with Chagford Primary School which I view as an essential component of our village life and hope that I can contribute towards its continuing success.

Liz Wiseman, Headteacher

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I was appointed as Headteacher from Summer 2015, having been the Acting Head since Easter 2014. My previous career was in Personnel management within Government run organisations. I live in the village of Drewsteignton and moved down from Rutland in 1999 with my family, after visiting Chagford School with my then, 6 year old son. He was rather taken with Chagford School when we looked around as new parents and the friendly, family like feel to the school finalised our decision to bring our family up in this wonderful parish community. I began working at the Pre School (as it was then), as the Administrator, joined the school as a teaching assistant for the next 7 years and finally decided to train to become a teacher. I taught in Cornwall for several years but finally the position of Foundation Stage Unit Leader came up at Chagford and the rest is history. I have been involved with Chagford School for 15 years and both of my children have attended the school and enjoyed every moment. This is a very special school with staff that have a genuine passion for children’s education and social and emotional well-being. I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to lead this School into an exciting future and to work with the whole school community to achieve the best that we can for each and every child, here at Chagford School.

As Headteacher, I sit on all the Portfolio groups.

Catherine Mount, LA Governor

Local Authority Governor; Term of office expires 09.02.2020
Safeguarding / Looked After Children Governor
Portfolios: Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare (incl. Safeguarding) (Lead Governor).


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(née Endacott, a long-standing local family). I was elected a parent governor in Autumn 2011. I attended Chagford Primary myself and have very happy memories of my time there. I went on to Okehampton College and after my A levels chose to study Hotel and Catering Management at Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University). I returned to Chagford and worked at Gidleigh Park Hotel as General Manager for 18 years until the birth of Harry seven years ago, at which time I reluctantly had to accept that my hotel hours were not conducive to family life with a young child! My husband, Chris, and I now own and run Blacks Delicatessen. Harry loves his school life. Chris and I have always taken an active interest in his education at Chagford Pre-School, Montessori and now at Primary School. We have enjoyed fund-raising for Pre-School and School by hosting Lent Lunches and have recently sponsored the sports kit for the newly-formed cricket team. I am also a member of the PTFA. I very much enjoy serving as a school governor and do so with enthusiasm and dedication. I consider myself a people person in touch with and understanding the local community. I feel that all children should be given an equal opportunity, and that the school should be at the heart of our thriving community.

Wesley Cutler, Foundation Governor

Foundation Governor. Term of office 17.07.2017 to 17.07.2021
Portfolios: Personal Development, Wellbeing and Behaviour. SMSC (Social, Moral Spiritual and Cultural)
Class Link 2017/18 for Bees Class Y6


I have worked in Chagford over the last eight years for On The Edge Youth Work Project and run The Mess Youth Centre in the middle of Chagford. Over the last 3 years I have also been working with Rev. Paul for the Whiddon Mission Community. One of my main aims is to serve the communities I have the privilege of being a part of. I was born and bred in Exeter where I went to school and then Exeter College, like a number of young people in Chagford. After working in a nursing home for a few years, I decided to study for a degree in youth and community work with CYM (Centre of Youth Ministry) and Gloucestershire University while living in Chagford. Straight away I could tell that Chagford was a very special and unique community with so much going on. It was so easy to get involved and my role with OTE helped. Over these eight years I have developed some great relationships with people of all ages in the community and more recently, specifically in the school. I am excited, but also nervous about this new opportunity to serve the school, but hope that my experience and understanding of working with young people will be of benefit and help Chagford School continue to be the place that we all know and love.

Katharine Barrau, Parent Governor

Parent Governor. Term of office expires 31.08.2018
Portfolios: Teaching, Learning & Assessment (Lead for SEN).
Class Link 2017/18 for Dragonflies Class Y3/4


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Chagford and its surroundings hold special importance for me. I grew up in Gidleigh and like many other governors attended the school as a child. I continued my education at The Maynard School, Exeter and then the British Institute in Paris where I gained my French degree. I returned to Bath to work in Magazine Publishing and Advertising. With the arrival of our children my work has been fitted into the rare slots available and I have worked on a freelance basis translating and copywriting. In more recent years we have been running our own French Holiday Website and Multi-lingual Social Media Marketing Agency. We returned to live in Throwleigh last summer, which was the achievement of our main goal, to offer our children a healthy, happy and peaceful start to life. From my own experience, growing up on the doorstep of a wonderful wilderness like Dartmoor is a grounding experience. It sounds like a cliché but I feel that we are truly lucky to benefit from living in such natural and tranquil surroundings. Watching the way our children have calmed down after living in a busy city, we have seen first-hand the impact that this has had on their self-confidence and in turn their capacity to learn. We could not imagine a better environment in which to learn and grow. We also feel lucky that this tranquil setting is home to a vibrant and active community offering a vast array of activities enabling people of all ages to continue learning and to feel part of something bigger. As a new member of the Governing Body and with three children at the school I am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute in some small way.

James Warner, Co-opted Governor

Co-opted Governor. Term of office expires 25.03.2019
Portfolios: Finance (Lead Governor); Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare; Pay Review Committee.
Class Link 2017/18 for Beetles Class Y5


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Our family moved to Chagford in 1991, but we knew the town well before this as we frequently visited close friends here. Apart from a couple of years in London I have always lived in rural communities having grown up in the Cotswolds where I attended the local primary school and grammar school before going to Cambridge where I took a degree in Mechanical Sciences. My career was initially in engineering and manufacturing management. Later I became a management consultant with Coopers and Lybrand where I finished up as partner responsible for their manufacturing consultancy. I spent the last ten years of my professional career as an independent management consultant working with a small group of colleagues until a few years ago when I gradually reduced my consulting commitments and spent a couple of years helping my daughter run the new Forge Café. When we first came to Chagford our daughter attended Chagford Primary School. Now our daughter and son-in-law live next door and have two children of 22 and two months I find myself spending far more time with them than I was able to with her when she was the same age. I am really looking forward to being involved with them through their education and beyond. I am now very happy to have the opportunity to make whatever contribution I can to Chagford Primary School and its success.

Emma Moore, Parent Governor.

Parent Governor. Term of Office expires 07.10.2019.
Portfolios: Personal Development, Behaviour and Wellbeing, Teaching Learning and Assessment.
Class Link 2017 /18  Little Robins/ Big Robins



I live in a Dartmoor village with my husband and our two children, two dogs and two guinea pigs. We spend as much time as we can outdoors, enjoying the spectacular natural environment that surrounds our home. The moors and rivers, vast skies and woodlands, have offered us many unique opportunities as a family. Chagford School is situated in a thriving community in the heart of this amazing place. We chose Chagford for our children because we feel that it is a very caring school and that its ethos is consistent with many of the experiences that we offer them at home. I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve as a parent governor because I believe that being involved in my children’s school and in their learning is one of the best ways that I can support them during these crucial, formative years of their life.
My professional background is in working with under 5s and in counselling. Following ten years of working in nurseries and pre-schools, I completed an MA in Early Childhood Education with Care at Pen Green, in 2001. Since then I have worked as an early years tutor on an early childhood studies degree course, in modules across the breadth of the curriculum. I am also a registered counsellor, working with children, young people and adults. I am passionately committed to supporting the well-being of children and young people, and I believe that children learn best when opportunities for learning are embedded within responsive, reciprocal relationships. Through my work I have an awareness of many of the challenges that children face as they are growing up. I hope to bring my skills, knowledge and experience to my role as a governor at Chagford, to support all the children here to thrive and reach their potential, both as individuals and as part of their school community and beyond.

Ali Hirst, Co-opted Governor

Co-opted Governor. Term of Office expires 19.04.2020
Portfolios: Teaching, Learning & Assessment (Lead Governor)
Class Link 2017/18 for Bees Class Y6



I have been very involved in education for all my adult life and I bring with me a wealth of experience from working as an artist in residence early in my career, to class teaching and then headship. Prior to moving to Devon I was a primary school teacher in Gloucester city, where I developed a keen interest in special education needs and inclusion. I moved to Chagford with my partner in 1999 and really enjoy living in this rural Dartmoor community. I love to be outside and make the most of the opportunities that living on the moor brings. In my experience, Dartmoor has much to offer in the way of educational resources and over the years, I have developed a strong ‘outdoor education’ ethos at the schools in which I have had the pleasure of working. I believe education is a highly rewarding job and I welcome the opportunity to make a contribution to Chagford’s school community. I enjoy working with others, making a difference and strive to be an active member of the governing body and improve the life chances of the children in our care.

Lee Billinghurst, Staff Governor.

Staff Governor. Term of Office expires 01.09.2020
Portfolios: Teaching, Learning & Assessment


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‘Chagford is a beautiful town with a fantastic community. I am proud to be on the Governing body as part of a school that has amazing grounds, children and staff. I have been teaching for nearly five years now, with experience across the whole of Key Stage 2. I am passionate about science, nature and being outdoors with my class. Having been brought up in Devon and then having had the opportunity to travel the world volunteering with monkeys and children (the parallels are uncanny), I am keen that the children of Chagford leave their school with an appreciation of the beautiful part of the world they are fortunate enough to be growing up in.’

Ric Smith, Associate Member

Associate Member. Term of Office expires 13.04.19
Portfolios: Finance.


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I have been co-opted as an associate governor to contribute to the Finance Portfolio. I have lived in Chagford for the last seven years, just out of Chagford towards the moor. I qualified as a chartered accountant, gained an MBA from Exeter and have spent most of my working life helping various organisation through periods of change and improvement – which I suppose makes me a Jack-of-all-trades, but definitely a master of none. Most recently, I completed a five year term as a non-executive director and vice chair of an NHS Trust, where, amongst other challenges, we completed a major redevelopment of a hospital. I believe strongly that education is the best gift we can give our children; I am delighted to have the opportunity to help the school to provide the best possible learning environment for the children of our community in this beautiful town and countryside.

Jon Bint, Associate Member

Portfolios: Spiritual, Moral Social & Cultural Development; Priority Schools Building Programme


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A Foundation Governor since early 2011 I am now enjoying a less active role in school governance, while still continuing with my passion for all things Spiritual and Cultural and to ensure the right building for the school’s future, as well as being a regular at school for Collective Worship to lend my skills playing the piano. I am a trustee of Chagford Gospel Church, and a bell ringer at Chagford & Drewsteignton parish churches. I’ve lived mostly at Rushford in Chagford since our family moved from a farm in Drewsteignton when I was three, and am a former pupil of Chagford CofE Primary (on the old New St site!) – as indeed are my wife, siblings and 2 elder children; my two younger children are still at the school. I graduated with a BMus (hons) degree from the University of Birmingham as a mature student, subsequently trained as a secondary teacher (PGCE, University of Plymouth) and taught in Exeter & Tavistock – the latter included acting as HoD for two years. Either side of that, I have worked variously for SWW and in several “blue-collar” jobs over many years, including as HGV driver & plant operator. Currently my working week is split between driving for our local builders’ merchant and gardening.



If you have a matter that you wish to discuss with the Governors, please contact both Sheila Mead smead@chagford-primary.devon.sch.uk and the Clerk to Governors clerk@chagford-primary.devon.sch.uk or email individual governors below.