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Welcome to the Governing Body


In January 2018, Okehampton Primary School joined the Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust. The Trust operates a number of Academy Committees and Okehampton Primary School operates as a standalone committee within the Trust. Information about our Trustees can be found on the Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust website using the link below.






The Academy Committee has a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
• Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction:
• Holding the head teacher 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.


The Academy Committee consists of 17 Governors, a mix of Staff,  Parent,  and Co-Opted Governors.  There are six Academy Committee meetings each academic year.  There are a further three committees that meet throughout the academic year, each has its own elected chair and vice chair:


The School Improvement Committee

The Resources Committee

The Strategic, Planning and Evaluation Committee  


Governing Body Details


Meet the Governors 



Richard Parsons - Chair of Governors 

Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor

Committees served: SPEC, Pay and Performance, Appeals and Resources Committee

Lead Governor: Ethos

Contact address:

R Parsons Chair of Governors

Okehampton Primary School, Glendale Road, Okehampton. EX20 1JP


I live in Okehampton with my wife Deborah, we have four children and ten grandchildren, three who currently attend OPS, along with many school runs each week I also work as a volunteer two days a week, in a Year 1 and Year 4, together with some pupil coaching. I have previously been involved as both Governor, Vice Chair and Chair of Governors of the primary school in which our four children attended and maintained supporting the village school even when they moved to senior school. During my time as Vice Chair and Chair we went through two early Ofsted inspections, with good positive results, all due to our Head and teachers, parents, stakeholders and our governors working with energy to maintain high standards and move our school forward year on year.

My work background at the time of retirement was within social housing, working with a number of London housing associations handling referrals of anti-social behaviour, working with a mixed group of tenants, closely coordinating with many external agencies, local authorities, social services and mental health teams, and of course much daily working relationships with Police, family solicitors and County Courts. I have much positive energy to offer to our local community and intend to make a valuable contribution to the Governing Body of the primary school.







John Lawlor 

Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor

Committees served: First, Pupil Discipline, Headteacher Performance Review Committees

John has been a governor for seven years and prior to that for twenty years as a governor at a similar sized school in the West Midlands. This combined with a career, before his retirement, as a senior project manager in the aerospace industry means that he has able to contribute to many aspects of the school life. He is a Foundation Trustee of the Dartmoor Multi-Academy Trust where he chairs the Audit Committee.  He is a Trustee of the new St James Primary School and also Chair of the Carey Federation of Schools. "I believe that Okehampton is one of the best primary schools in the country. All the staff are focused on maximising the potential of all our children. It is a joy and privilege to be associated with the school."



Gareth Bridge

Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor

Committees served: SPEC

Lead Governor: Equalities 


I am an enthusiastic and passionate member of the Okehampton Primary School teaching team, having joined the school in September 2016. In my first year here I taught Year Five, before moving to Year 2 so I have hopefully got to know most of the school in a short space of time. I am also the PE Co-ordinator at school which has been a fantastic opportunity to work with a large amount of pupils who I wouldn’t otherwise have worked with, whilst having amazing fun at different events. My favourite aspects of teaching are the ability to have a lasting impact on a child and their future progress. The satisfaction of seeing a child thrive academically, socially or emotionally is unrivalled, especially when reflecting on their progress throughout the year. I also enjoy taking risks in the classroom, and seeing children gain independence by embracing their own curiosity for different subjects. Having previously lived in Nottingham, Salisbury and London, I am now enjoying settling in the relative quiet of Devon. Outside of school I am a keen sportsman playing baseball and football.


Emma Goodwin

Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor

Committees served:  School Improvement

Lead Governor: Mental Health and Wellbeing


I am a dedicated, reliable teacher at Okehampton Primary School, who is always keen to provide the best education for the children in our school. During my 20 year teaching career, I have taught across the whole primary age range, though my comfort zone remains in Key Stage 2. I am continually reflective about my teaching and always eager to develop new strategies for improving children’s attainment and progress. Helping children overcome barriers to learning, develop emotionally and make progress is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. With my degree in Environmental Science, I have particular interest in teaching children about sustainability and fostering a love of the outdoors. I am looking forward to working with other governors, parents and the wider community in preparing our young people for becoming creative, assertive and compassionate citizens of the future and ensuring our school provides the best education possible for each and every child.




Caleb Stevens

Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor

Committees served:  School Improvement and SPEC

Lead Governor: SEND


As a Teaching Assistant at Okehampton College and formerly a Child Workforce Enabler for Children with Additional Needs, I have understanding and knowledge of supporting and enhancing the learning of students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Alongside my employment, I also work within the Ministry of Justice for Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service as a Magistrate within the Cornwall District Bench, a Youth Referral Panel Member for the Youth Offending Team in Plymouth and an Independent Monitoring Board Member for HMP Exeter. I also preside as a Trustee Lead for Mental Health, Safeguarding and Prevent for multiple organisations across the South West Region, including but not limited to Tor Support Services in Okehampton. I have been a Governor for Exeter College and am currently the Vice Chair of Trustee’s for the South East Cornwall Multi Academy Regional Trust. I am also currently studying a University Degree in Public Services at Exeter College and enjoy living next to Dartmoor and taking advantage of the amazing scenery and what it has to offer. Education is the foundation of every individuals’ life and is an overriding necessity to ensure a successful and rewarding future. I therefore have a deep passion and interest for providing outstanding education to students within Okehampton Primary School, alongside providing the correct support and guidance, to enable every student to progress into independent and successful people in the future.


Jo Arnold 

Category of Governor: Parent Governor

Committees served: SPEC, First, Pupil Discipline and Headteacher Performance Review Group. 

Lead Governor Early Years


Jo lives in Okehampton and has two sons, Callum who has attended Okehampton College since September 2016 after completing his primary education here at Okehampton Primary school and Caiden who started his primary education here at Okehampton Primary school in September 2016.Jo works in Food retail as a Store Manager and has done for 25yrs, She currently manages The Co-op Food store at Brook Street in Tavistock.As many parents with children and a full time career she does not have much time to spend on her hobbies and interests, and if she does find any ‘spare time’ the boys have it covered with their social lives and activities, whether it is Rugby, Football, Swimming or just play dates. Jo is outgoing, social, loves purple, and admits to being a bit of a technophobe!!! Oh and finally... She loves to listen, and talk about anything and everything!!!





Neil Payne

Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor

Committees served: School Improvement, Pay and Performance and First. 

Lead Governor: Pupil Premium


Neil is a Co-Opt  Governor with two children at the school.  He wanted to become a Governor to make more of a contribution to the school and to promote educational values within the community.  As a Deputy Headteacher at a Secondary School he has a great deal of interest and experience in education particularly within Religious Education, PSHE and Citizenship, SEN, Safeguarding and the Curriculum.  Neil has also served as a Governor at two schools in Torquay where he is originally from and has also been a member of the management board of a Pupil Referral Unit.  Presently Neil is also a Director of a Pre-School Company, attached to the school where he works.  Neil is keen to use his role to promote continued high standards and to support the school in the next phase of its development.




Ian Meese
Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor
Committees served: School Improvement and Appeal.

Lead Governor: School Website


I have been working in  Customer service within the Automotive industry , Currently with Audi UK for a large part of my life since I left school which is longer than I wish to remember.  I have managed a couple of public houses in between, I am a keen listener and love problem solving. Within in my role at work I manage my team and problem solve events throughout the day I believe I will be a great asset to the current Governors and am looking forward to the opportunity to work within Okehampton Primary school. And help to achieve an outstanding mark. 


Andy Brint

Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor - Vice Chair of Governors 

Committees served: Resources, Pay and Performance, First, Pupil Discipline and Headteacher Performance Review Group. 

Lead Governor: Finance and Sport


I was born in Okehampton and have lived in the area all of my life. I am married to Lucy and we have a son, Oscar, who is in year 6. I became a co-opted governor in March 2015 and sit on the resources committee. I have a background in business management, having been General Manager at The Manor House Hotel for 15 years, until the end of 2014. I believe my experiences of budgetary controls and strategic decision making will be of benefit to the governing body in moving the school towards achieving its ‘outstanding’ target. My wife and I now own a local business in Okehampton. I enjoy most sports including football, rugby and golf and currently help coach Okehampton under 11’s.


Tessa Petts 

Category of Governor: Parent Governor

Committees served: School Improvement

Lead Governor Parental Engagement, GDPR and Deputy Safeguarding Governor


I moved to Okehampton in 2006 to take up a vacancy for work. Having fallen in love with the area and the feeling of a close nit and friendly town I’ve never left! I’m a single mum to Harry who attends the school and I’m employed full time within the frontline emergency services. Through my work I’ve gained valuable training and 1st hand experience of safeguarding matters and felt that I could use these to the benefit of the governing body. I’ve been part of the school governing body for the last 3 years as part of the curriculum and pupil support team- primarily involved with safeguarding, attendance and more recently complaints. I’m an open, honest and friendly person who values listening to and learning from all. With my limited spare time I enjoy being outside in all weather with my dogs, travelling and getting involved in the voluntary sector.


Martin Evely

Category of Governor: Staff Governor

Committees served: Resources 

Lead Governor Premises, Health and Safety.


I am an animated, passionate and dynamic teacher who loves all aspect of school life. I am one of the deputy head teachers at Okehampton Primary and I relish this role as it allows me to share my love of learning with all the staff and children alike. I have been teaching for over 10 years and in this time I have worked in a variety of different schools. I am Devon born and bred – I wouldn’t want to live and work anywhere else! I started at Okehampton Primary as a class teacher before being promoted to the KS1 English leader and then to an assistant head teacher. I have loved all of these roles and have learnt a lot from the amazing staff and children at the school. Additionally, I am an SLE (Specialist Leader of Education) for the Dartmoor Teaching School Alliance which means that I can work with colleagues in many schools across the alliance. Within this role, I help to coach other teachers to improve their practice and the progress of the children in their class as well as learn new ideas to bring back to Okehampton. All teachers are like magpies! There are many aspects of school life that fire me up. I find the most rewarding aspect of the job is the rapport you build with the children and their family. Being a governor also means that I get to check that the school is doing everything it can to improve outcomes for all. Outside of teaching I love spending time with my family and going on holiday. I have six year old twins so life is never dull!


Amanda French 

Category of Governor: Co-Opted Governor

Committees served: Resources, SPEC, Appeal and Pay and Performance.

Lead Governor:  Senior Leadership 


Amanda is very excited about the appointment and hopes that her broad experience across a number of sectors, from legal firms to global retailers, will stand her in good stead to support the governors and school senior leadership team implement statutory and strategic changes. A challenging professional environment has provided a good platform to enable her to effectively probe and ask questions of the school leadership team with a desire to help the school maximise its potential and, most importantly, provide the children with the best opportunities (and of course fun) during their informative primary school years. At work she has managed the demands of complex financial regulation alongside an aspirational national expansion plan, and felt as a result she is well positioned to assist the Resources Committee, a sub-committee of the Governors. Amanda was born in Okehampton and has returned to her roots in beloved Devon with her daughter starting in Reception in 2016. She is a lawyer and passionate about sport and all things outdoors




Rob Hicks

Safeguarding Governor

Category: Co-Opted Governor

Committees Served: School Improvement and Strategic Planning and Evaluation 

Lead Governor: IT (Social media/safeguarding)


I was elected to the Governing Body as a Parent Governor in May 2015. I sit on the school improvement committee and believe this is the area of governance that best suits my skills and personal qualities. I have chaired this committee since November 2016 and despite the steep learning curve I have enjoyed the additional responsibility. At a typical committee meeting we look into a few key areas of school life from an annual cycle, analyse performance data, discuss current success and opportunities, review policies and invite key speakers to give us information about their role and subject or organisation. I am also the Safeguarding Governor. Within education Safeguarding is an area which must be given due resource and attention and I am grateful for the opportunity to be involved in such a core element of our children’s school life. Talking to our children, reviewing school procedures and seeing the staff in action gives me confidence that Safeguarding is an area we are managing well.




Ann-Marie Bowles

Clerk to Governors

Contact E-Mail: