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Our Governors

Welcome to the Governors of St Mary's School

The governing bodies of St Mary's and Wraxall primary schools have recently combined to form a single governing body.  This hardworking and dedicated team of governors has the ongoing success of both schools' pupils, staff and communities uppermost in their minds, and are looking forward to them flourishing further under the expertise of a very dedicated Headteacher and her teachers.

Who are our Governors?

Information about the Governors

The DfE requires schools to publish specific information about its governors, including those who served during the previous school year.  The list below, therefore, includes our current governors, and those who left the governing body of St Mary's CE Primary School during the 2022/2023 school year.  Governors undertake many activities in support of our school's success; their meeting attendance rates represent only a small part of this.

Cath Campbell: Co-opted Governor and Chair of Governors

I became a governor at St Mary’s in September 2018 and Chair of the Local Governing Body in September 2020.

My focus as a governor is ensuring that the children and young people in the school receive high quality education within a safe environment, which enables them to learn, and ensuring the sustainability of the school in the village. 

I am a community governor, but I don't have any children at the school.

My working life is spent regulating healthcare and I have an understanding of good governance. My husband is a secondary school teacher, so I have an understanding of the environment which pupils, teachers and schools work within and the challenges they face.

I enjoy working as part of a strong team of governors to ensure that everyone in the school is able to be the best they can be. 

  • Co-opted Governor: 1 September 2018 - 31 August 2022 and 1 September 2022 - 31 August 2026
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: none
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 100%
Craig Thomson: Parent Governor and Vice-Chair of Governors

I live in Portbury village with my wife and our children, a daughter and a son.  I became a parent Governor in 2017 holding the safeguarding role.

  • Parent Governor: 9 December 2020 - 8 December 2024
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: parent of children at St Mary's CE Primary School
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 100%
Revd Morey Andrews: Foundation Governor and Rector

I have been a governor of various schools for nearly 20 years and also a Director of a school Academy in Oxford. I am positive about the joining of the two governing bodies to ensure the schools grow from strength to strength and that staff, pupils, parents and carers feel they are supported in all they contribute to the schools. I also have a passion to maintain the Christian Ethos of the schools and will be working closely this year with all interested parties to ensure this happens.

Outside of work and governing, I have a family with 4 older children and am passionate about sport. You may see me plodding the lanes and fields as I endeavour to keep a resemblance of fitness!

  • Foundation Governor: 5 February 2022 - 4 February 2026
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: Rector at All Saints' Church, Wraxall
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 100%
Paola Davis: Co-opted Governor

Paola moved to North Somerset in Summer 2020 with her husband and two primary-age children, as they wanted to give their children a similar countryside upbringing to that they both had.

Paola became a co-opted governor at Wraxall in December 2020.  One of the main reasons that she wanted to be a governor there was how the school's ethos and values really struck a chord with her. 

In her day job, Paola is an event manager.  Having worked client-side and freelance, she is now agency-side.  She also had a three-year stint working in marketing for an educational charity in Bristol.

When not working, Paola loves spending time with her family exploring their new neighbourhood and going on local walks, as well as reading and playing board games.  In recent years, she has volunteered her time with the NCT Bristol branch, TEDxBristol 2015, and managed the Bristol chapter of the Event Organisers Network, as well as helping out at numerous PTA and school trips at her children's school.

  • Co-opted Governor: 9 December 2020 - 8 December 2024
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: none
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 70%
Lindsey Pitchell: Parent Governor

Lindsey moved to Nailsea in 2012.  She has two children at Wraxall Primary School.  Lindsey has a professional background in education as a lead-practitioner and Director of Mathematics in secondary schools in London and Bristol.  She attended a school very similar to Wraxall when a child.

Lindsey became involved with Wraxall Primary School in 2018 when her son started in reception and served on the committee of the Friends of Wraxall School Association (FWSA) for two years.  With a passion and enthusiasm for teaching and education, she became a governor at Wraxall in January 2021.

Her key areas of interests, along with maths, are pupil well-being, enrichment and excellent outcomes.

  • Parent Governor: 1 January 2021 - 31 December 2024
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: parent of children attending Wraxall CofE Primary School
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 50%
Ellie Speed: Staff Governor
  • Staff Governor: 8 October 2021 - 7 October 2025
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: classteacher at St Mary's CE Primary School
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 100%
Revd Astrid Tiesema-Samsom: Foundation Governor and Rector
  • Foundation Governor: 21 August 2018 - 20 August 2022 and 25 November 2022 - 24 November 2026
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: Rector at St Mary's Church, Portbury
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 50%

I am the Rector of St Mary’s Church, the church next door to the school. There is an established connection between the school and the church that is of benefit to the children’s development into the best people they can be.  My role as a Governor has a focus on RE but within the whole picture of learning and flourishing.  I am also a Trustee of Wellspring, a counselling service for teenagers and young people in North Somerset.

Amy Townsend: Headteacher Governor

Amy has been a governor at St Mary's since December 2021, and at Wraxall since January 2019.  Prior to that, she was a governor of two other federated schools for three years.

Amy is headteacher at both St Mary's CE and Wraxall CofE Primary Schools.  She enjoys leading these very special schools and seeing the children's enthusiastic approach to learning.

  • Headteacher Governor: from 1 January 2019 (Wraxall) and 1 January 2022 (St Mary's)
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: headteacher at St Mary's CE and Wraxall CofE Primary Schools
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 100%
Zak Verry: Foundation Governor
  • Foundation Governor:  21 August 2022 - 20 August 2026
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: parent of child at Wraxall CofE Primary School
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 100%
Zoe White: Parent Governor
  • Parent Governor: 9 December 2020 - 8 December 2024
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: parent of child at St Mary's CE Primary School; MD of Novas Insurance; Director of Portbury Village Hall
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 63%

I am a local business woman, living in Portbury with one child at St Mary’s school. I have many years experience in business and thought that some of my expertise could be useful in the role as Governor and I can give back in the area that’s most important to me, being my child's education.

Clare Wilkinson: Foundation Governor

Clare has lived in Wraxall for 15 years, since moving from London, and her three children all attend Wraxall CofE Primary School.  She became a foundation governor because she wanted to support the school vision of nurturing all children in a faith-filled family environment, whilst maintaining and growing strong links in the community and with the parent body.

Clare worked as a primary school teacher and school leader in London and North Somerset before moving to youth work.  She is an active member of a local church, as well as volunteering in other community organisations.  Her background in education makes her passionate about inspiring everyone to achieve their best, particularly in all things reading- and writing-related.

In her spare time, Clare likes to read, cook, run, garden and socialise with friends, and believes that education should include all these things.

  • Foundation Governor: 15 January 2021 - 14 January 2025
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: parent of children at Wraxall CofE Primary School
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 100%
Previous Governors
Jessica Vallentine: Foundation Governor
  • Foundation Governor: 7 September 2018 - 6 September 2022 and 7 September 2022 - 31 October 2023  [resigned]
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: parent of children at Wraxall CofE Primary School; Wraxall & Failand Parish Councillor
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 90%
Helen Cave: Community Governor
  • Community Governor: 18 September 2019 - 31 August 2023  [released]
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: parent of child at St Mary's CE Primary School
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 0%
Stephen O'Callaghan: Community Governor
  • Foundation Governor: 1 October 2021 - 31 August 2023  [released]
  • Business & Pecuniary Interests: parent of child at St Mary's CE Primary School
  • 2022/2023 Meeting Attendance: 0%

What is a Governing Body?

Governing bodies are accountable for:

  • The use of public funds,
  • The quality of education provided,
  • The wider contribution to the community.

The school's Governing Body is a Board made up of Church representatives, parents, teaching staff and members of the local community.  They are the strategic leaders of the school and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education.

We have:

  • Three Parent Governors: Lindsey Pitchell, Craig Thomson, and Zoe White
  • One Staff Governor: Ellie Speed
  • One Headteacher Governor: Amy Townsend
  • Seven Foundation Governors: Morey Andrews, Astrid Tieseman-Samsom, Zak Verry, and Clare Wilkinson [and three vacancies]
  • Two Co-opted Governors: Cath Campbell and Paola Davis

Parent governors are elected by the schools' parent and carer communities.  Staff governors are elected by school staff.  Foundation governors are appointed by the Diocese of Bath and Wells, on the LGB's recommendation.  Co-opted governors are appointed by the Lighthouse Schools Partnership, on the LGB's recommendation. 

Our Chair of Governors is Cath Campbell

Our Vice-Chair of Governors is Craig Thomson

Our Clerk to Governors is vacant

What does the Governing Body do?

The Governing Body has three core responsibilities:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction,
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils,
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

The Governing Body fulfils its responsibilities by:

  • Helping to establish the aims and policies of the school and how standards of education can be constantly improved,
  • Ensuring that a broad and balanced curriculum is delivered and that it meets statutory requirements, while promoting high standards and monitoring progress during the year,
  • Appointing, challenging and supporting the Headteacher,
  • Acting as a link between the local community and the school,
  • Helping to set and manage the school budget,
  • Ensuring the health and safety of pupils and staff.

We meet as a Local Governing Body six times a year but also as committees, where certain aspects of the school are considered in more detail. 

At present, our committees are:

  • Ethos Committee: Responsible for ensuring the schools' ethos is reflected in al we do.  Chaired by Morey Andrews.
  • Admissions Committee: Responsible for reviewing the school's admissions arrangements
  • Pay Committee: Responsible for reviewing staff pay an appraisal recommendations.  Chaired by Craig Thomson.

At St Mary's CofE Primary School, all Governance duties are carried out in close collaboration with the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team. It is often said that Governors should aim to act as a “critical friend” to the Headteacher. Every decision made is done so with the best interests of pupils, staff and parents very much in mind.

Our governors take full advantage of the training available to them in all aspects of their responsibilities in order to be as effective as possible. 


The LGB appoints lead-governors with specific responsibilities for key areas of the school's activities and its development priorities.

  • Finance: Zoe White
  • Health and Safety: Ellie Speed and Clare Wilkinson
  • Inclusion (including SEND and Disadvantaged Pupils): Zak Verry
  • Safeguarding (including Attendance, Behaviour and Online Safety): Paola Davis
  • School Development Plan: Cath Campbell

Governor Vacancies

We currently have three vacancies for foundation governors.  If you are interested in finding out about being a governor (as a foundation governor, or in another capacity), please do get in touch through the School Office, who will pass your enquiry on to the Clerk to Governors.