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St James CofE Primary and Nursery School

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St James CofE Primary and Nursery School

Our Governors

Welcome to our Governors information!


St James School is operated by St James Academy Trust. This is a 'single academy trust' and has a Board of Directors who are also the governing body for the school. 


The governing body play a vital role in shaping the education of young people by helping to set the ethos, vision and strategy for school. They provide leadership, support and challenge to the senior management team. 


St James is fortunate to benefit from a highly skilled and experienced governing body. This section sets out how the governing body is structured, the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor. 

Meet the Governors!


The Board of Governors comprises of those appointed and elected individuals. There is no ex-officio position on the Board. The term of office for individuals is four years, after which period Governors are able to stand for reappointment or re-election. No individual will serve more than two terms of office.


Photo: John Searson, Chair of Governing BodyJohn Searson: Chair of Governing Body: Member Appointment

Appointed 28 March 2018


As Exeter Diocesan Director of Education, John supports and challenges the family of 132 Church of England Schools across Devon to maximise pupil achievement and strengthen the schools’ Christian distinctiveness. Prior to joining the Diocese, John was Head of Education and Learning for Plymouth City Council where he was responsible for raising educational standards in the city. John is a 'Foundation Governor' which means he agrees to uphold and promote the Christian foundation of the school. 


Ian Courtney: Vice Chair of Governing Body: Member Appointment

Appointed 28 March 2018


Ian was a senior manager in banking with Natwest / RBS for over 30 years. He has been a school governor for 17 years and a Chair for ten. He is currently the Chair of the Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust and Chair of the National Governors Association. Ian is accredited by the National College of Teaching and Learning (NCTL) as a National Leader of Governance (NLG). He speaks at national conferences, has regular meetings with government ministers and speaks at all party parliamentary groups on school governance.


Hazel Fox: Executive Head: Member Appointment

Appointed 4 June 2018


Hazel has significant experience of being a Head Teacher in the primary sector in Devon in both a small and large schools.


In late 2009, Hazel was asked by Devon County Council take up a short term secondment at Okehampton Primary School which had been placed in Special Measures by Ofsted, after which she was appointed to the substantive post. In 2011, Ofsted judged the school to the Good with Outstanding leadership and management.

In 2015, Devon County Council asked Hazel to support Chagford school with leadership as the school was considered vulnerable. After four months of her support, the school was judged ‘Good’ by Ofsted.


Hazel has chaired two ‘Local Learning Community’ groups of headteachers and delivered the transition of the group to a Cooperative Trust group. She also led the primary phase lead in the conversion process to Multi Academy Trust status.


Amanda French: Co-opted

Co-opted 4 June 2018


Amanda is a qualified solicitor with 10 years legal experience in private practice and in house for a huge variety of companies from the BBC and multinationals to start up companies. In her former role as Legal Manager and Panel Relationship Manager for a Peer2Peer finance business, Amanda recruited a panel of skilled lawyers, maintained high standards from the Panel and delivered new processes and teams. Amanda is a former Company Secretary and Governor of Okehampton Primary School.


John Lawlor: Member Appointment

Appointed 28 March 2018


Prior to retiring, John was a Senior Project Manager in the aerospace industry. He has twenty five years’ experience as a school governor, most recently as the Vice Chair of Okehampton Primary School where he specialised in monitoring the schools’ pupil progress and attainment performance. John has also served as Chair of the Dartmoor Cooperative Learning Trust.


Jeanette Savage: Safeguarding, SEN & Looked After Children: Member Appointment

Appointed 4 June 2018


Jeanette works for Babcock LDP and is an experienced SENCo / SEND Adviser. She is trained by the Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) to ensure that schools are fully aware of and compliant with relevant legislation including the Children and Families Act, Equality Act etc. Jeanette has successfully undertaken Ofsted training (PTSI) and visits schools on a frequent basis, working with a wide range of settings to improve standards of teaching and learning to secure the best possible outcomes for pupils with SEND. Jeanette is a member of the virtual school for Devon.


Rob Taylor: Member Appointment


Rob is a Ranger for the Dartmoor National Park Association and a Forest School Practitioner. Prior to this he was a Musician in the Royal Engineers Band. Rob brings an in depth understanding of music and outdoor learning to enhance the learning opportunities for children at St James.


Owen Wilder: Member Appointment

Appointed 28 March 2018


Owen is currently the Headteacher of Trinity Church of England VA Primary and Nursery School – a brand new school which opened in Exeter in September 2018. Prior to this, he was the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher of the Ofsted rated 'Outstanding' St Leonard's Church of England Primary School in Exeter. Owen brings experience in primary leadership and in establishing a new Church of England school within a short timescale. Owen is a 'Foundation Governor' which means he agrees to uphold and promote the Christian foundation of the school. 

Contact the Governors


Our Chair of Governors, John Searson, can be contacted as follows:


St James Academy Trust
Diocese of Exeter




Tel: 01392 294 938


Key Governance Documents


Effective, transparent and accountable governance is at the heart of St James Academy Trust and St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School. The documents below set out our governance arrangements and demonstrate how we comply with these principles as part of our commitment to best practice.