Governors Who's Who

A school's governors are its strategic leaders and have a vital role to play in ensuring every child gets the best possible education. There is a basis for this in law, which states that the purpose of the governing body is to "conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school".
School governors have a focus on three strategic functions:
a. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
b. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
c. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
As our school is Voluntary Aided the Governors also have additional responsibilities over staff employment, capital works, admissions and are responsible (in law) for maintaining the Christian ethos of the school.
The Governors are aware of St Sidwell's excellent reputation and are committed to doing everything within their power to ensure high standards are maintained. All the St Sidwell's Governors are volunteers who devote much time and energy to helping move our school forward.
All our Governors, and our Parent Governors in particular, are keen to hear ideas and suggestions from parents and friends. They are also able to give advice and information and to address concerns. The Governors make every effort to be available to parents: some are able to pop in during the school day and attend school events and special occasions but they can always be contacted in writing via the school, or by email. Parent Governor Julian Ghail and Chair of Governors
The complex and rapidly changing world of education makes great demands on teachers and on governors. Central to it all, however, must be the child: your child. With this in mind our priorities are:
  • To give your child the benefits of a full, rounded, first rate education
  • To maintain the highest standards of professional skill and dedication in our excellent teaching and support staff
  • To make the most of opportunities above and beyond the curriculum.
  • Jackie Willey

    Co Opted governor

    Hi I've been involved with St Sidwell’s school for many years. I was a pupil myself and my 3 children have also attended here. I have been a Meal Time Assistant for about 15 years and I'm really proud to be a part of the wonderful family of St Sid's. I have been a governor for 6 years, it is hard work & time consuming but I enjoy doing my best for the children & staff of our school. I am the governor’s link with the St James Forum & Queen’s Crescent project.I raise funds for the governing body by letting the car park out for football parking every home game. I have had a lot of involvement with F.O.S.S.S. and was chairperson for over 10yrs. I still help out with fund raising at discos, fetes, community gardening etc. Those of you that know me are aware that I've supported Exeter City for many years and am a season ticket holder. I also help Exeter & Tedburn Rangers Ladies FC by helping organise games, referees, friendlies, fund raising, etc.

    Register of business and financial interests: Member of staff

  • Richard Smith

    Foundation Governor

    My name is Richard Smith, and I have one child who recently left St Sidwells and one in Year Four (Lottie). I joined the Board of Governors in September 2015 as a Foundation Governor, hoping especially to help support and strengthen the Christian ethos of the school, and currently worship around the corner at Sidwell Street Methodist Church. I moved to Exeter in 2013, after nearly 10 years in Norwich, and before that in many places including Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, and York, Cambridge and Bristol in the UK, although originally from Derby. I am an economist by training, but have worked mostly in University Medical Schools during my career and am currently Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Exeter Medical School. Though I enjoy globe-trotting in my professional life, I like nothing more than being out in our campervan with the family exploring the many wonderful parts of Devon and the South West.

    Register of business and financial interests: None

  • Hayley Dymond

    Deputy Headteacher / Staff Governor

    I have been a teacher at St Sidwell's C of E Primary School since 2001. Throughout that time I have taught across the year groups and key stages. I currently teach PPA and release time in Years 4, 5 and 6. I am passionate about the school and achieving the very best for the children.
    In my spare time I enjoy participating in a range of sports, including running, spinning and bootcamp!

    Register of business and financial interests: Member of staff

  • Vanessa Briggs


    I am very excited to take on the new role as Head teacher at St Sidwell’s C of E School and am looking forward to getting to know everyone in the coming months and working together. I have already been very impressed by the children’s positive attitude to learning. The children, staff and governors have made me feel very welcome and I am excited about sharing in the vision and high expectations to ensure St Sidwell’s continues to be the welcoming and happy school where children can achieve their very best, both academically and socially.

    Register of business and financial interests: Member of staff

  • Julian Ghail

    Parent Governor / Co Vice Chair of Governors / Chair of Resources

    Julian was elected as a parent governor in July 2017

    In the short time I have been involved with St Sidwells C of E Primary School and Nursery, I have seen the benefits of the hard work carried out by the school, governors and parents alike and I wanted to try and contribute to that.
    I have been fortunate to work and live around the world, I therefore understand some of the challenges of integrating and appreciating the differences in culture and ethos we can all bring together. As a parent with a son in reception, I may not be as visible to all parents, but feel free to approach me; I aim to be a good listener and communicator for all parents at the school.
    I have a background in both technology and the building industry. I welcome the opportunity to use my skills in representing the views of parents, the school and governing body, to the best of my ability.

    Register of business and financial interests: None

  • Vacancy

    Local Authority Governor

  • Rev. Ed Hodges

    Ex-Officio Foundation Governor

  • Jane Strachan

    Parent Governor

  • Pete Grigorey

    Foundation Governor / Chair of Governors / Chair of P&P

    I joined the Board of Governors back in May 2011 and am now undertaking a second stint as the Chair of Governors. Collectively we are committed to ensuring St. Sidwell’s is an outstanding school for our children and working hard with the staff to make this a reality. I am married to Marilyn and have one son, Harry, at the school. I have worked for the Environment Agency since 1990 and am based here in Exeter. My family and I worship at Exeter Vineyard Church, which meets at St Leonard’s Primary School. I am a bit of a techno / gadget geek, an avid sports enthusiast as well as an adult fan of LEGO. I'm a big fan of Manchester United and, time allowing, occassionally get time to play golf.

    Register of business and financial interests: None

  • Dave Vinall

    Foundation Governor

    I came to Exeter in 1995 to study Art and have been in Exeter, more or less, ever since. My wife, Sarah, and I are the leaders at Exeter Vineyard Church, a family church that meets at St Leonard’s School on Sundays. I love travelling and experiencing new cultures. I enjoy listening to music, I play guitar and enjoy movies and reading. I am a Spurs fan and regularly feel depressed as we fail to live up to our hype. I enjoy learning interesting things and I'm a big fan of education. We have a daughter at St Sidwell’s and our son was there and is now at secondary school.

    Register of business and financial interests: None

  • David Price

    Foundation Governor / Co Vice Chair of Governors

    I live in Exeter with my partner and two children and work as a flood forecaster at the National Flood Forecasting Centre - which means you are likely to see more of me when the weather’s fine and dry! I am a keen swimmer and cyclist, a swimming teacher, and, true to my heritage, an ardent supporter of the Welsh Rugby team! I am a member of St. Mark’s church.

    I am committed to the ethos and values of St Sidwell’s which I believe help to develop our children’s self confidence and respect for others. I became a Governor because I want to help our school to continue to provide the best possible education for its children, and a safe, happy and stimulating environment within which they, and the teaching and support staff, can thrive.

    Register of business and financial interests: None

  • Ruth Lewis

    Foundation Governor / Chair of TLC

    I moved to Exeter 18 years ago with my husband and 3 children (now grown up) and have enjoyed living and working in Devon since. I currently work for the National Trust, advising places in Devon and Cornwall on how to create great experiences for all visitors, including families. I have recently joined St Matthew’s church as part of the new congregation.

    I trained as a textile designer and then became a primary teacher in the eighties and have worked with a range of ages in schools in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Tanzania, Somerset and Devon. I am particularly interested in how children learn through the arts, heritage and play in the outdoors and am committed to multicultural education in a Christian context.

    I have been a governor before, both as a teacher and a parent and am looking forward to getting involved as a governor at St Sidwells.

    Register of business and financial interests: None

  • Bob Price

    Foundation Governor

    Bob joined the Governing Body in July 2017.

    My name is Robert Price, I am retired & have lived in Exeter with my wife of nearly 50 years, Janice, since 1984. We have 2 sons who were both mainly educated in Exeter before moving on to university. They are both married, one with 2 daughters and the other with a daughter and a baby son.

    My career was mainly with a major international Insurer latterly in management positions ending up as manager of the Exeter branch covering operations in Devon and Somerset with a staff of around 75. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and a Chartered Insurer. I was President of the local Insurance Institute in 1993

    Upon early retirement in 1995 I took up a position managing a well known and respected local solicitor’s practice, this together with my various roles within the Insurance profession has given me extensive practical financial and business experience.

    I’m a bit of a sports fanatic, and locally played for Exeter Saracens rugby club until, at the age of 50 I suddenly found I wasn’t being selected as often as I would have liked. I was chairman of their youth rugby section for about 10 years when I also refereed. I was chairman of Exeter Cricket Club for 20 years up until 2016, where I was closely involved in the new developments there, which produced enviable new facilities and secured the future of the ground. I play racquetball regularly at the Devon & Exeter Squash club and am a keen motor sport competitor and marshal, being particularly interested in classic car competition. Locally often competing at the Wiscombe hill climb.

    My wife & I are lifelong Methodists, attending Sidwell Street Methodist, which has a long and friendly association with the school. I have been active in the church with young people for over 55 years. Currently I am a serving Boys Brigade officer (some school pupils are members of our company), having first joined the Boys Brigade in 1952. I am one of two Child Protection officers at the church and also head up the church property committee.

    All of the above keeps me pretty busy and I’m hoping that my varied experience will be useful in maintaining the improving standards of this excellent school.

    Register of business and financial interests: None

  • Mel Cleveland

    Foundation Governor

    I am very pleased to have joined the St Sidwell School Community and look forward to getting to know you all better. So here is a little bit about me - previously I worked alongside my husband in a busy, multi-cultural parish in Coventry, where I was also a School Governor. In that role I was particularly interested in developing links between the school, the community and the church. Throughout my career I have been involved in supporting families in a variety of ways, so that they can make the best of their situations . I enjoy the company of children and my 4 little granddaughters keep me up to date on current trends.
    By training I am a pastoral counsellor and have lived in India and worked for short spells in Africa. We moved to Exeter a couple of years ago, joined St Matthew's Church and live near the school. I really enjoy being outdoors, bird-watching and gardening and we have an allotment beside St James Park Station.

    Register of business and financial interests: None

  • Jane Lucas

    Clerk to the Governors

    I am very pleased to support the work of the Governing Board in the role of Clerk to Governors. I have a background in school governance which goes back over twenty years, working as a governor advisor as well as serving as a school governor in a number of different schools in Exeter. For relaxation, I like to walk, read, meet friends and plan adventures in my very small camper van.