Meet Our Governors
Zoe Briant-Evans – Co-opted Governor – Chair of Governors
Zoe is the mum of two young and very energetic boys! She has experienced a wide range of governance, sitting as the Chair of a large pre school and early years education charity, a school governor of another Devon primary and sitting at board level for a local harbour board. Zoe’s background in strategic leadership and management follows a 17 year career as an officer in the Royal Navy. She is passionate about improving the outcomes for all children in our schools, particularly those with disabilities and those less advantaged. Since earlier this year she has worked as a governance advisor with Babcock LDP.
Alice McShane – Co-opted Governor – Vice-Chair of Governors
A passionate educator with 30 years of experience as a teacher, school leader, chair of governors and advisor. I have a track record in building highly effective professional relationships which lead to demonstrable improvement in overall school performance.
I qualified as a secondary school teacher in 1989, teaching biology and chemistry in an 11-18 community school in Cambridge. After two and a half years in post I was appointed as Assistant HT. Other roles included the Lead Teacher for Oxbridge and Head of Post 16. During this period this school based Post 16 provision produced the best outcomes at KS5 across the City for 4 successive years.
On moving to Devon, and following the birth of my three children, I became a school governor at Cheriton Fitzpaine Primary School near Crediton for 7 years and was Chair of Governors for the last 3 years, overseeing the building of a new school and the incorporation of a new EarlyYears and Foundation Stage. During my tenure as chair of governors, I worked in partnership with the headteacher and senior leaders to move the school from an Ofsted‘satisfactory’ to ‘good’.
I began working for Devon County Council and Babcock LDP 2007 as Governance Advisor. This role has included managing a team of consultants and an extensive training programme, writing and delivering training for governors/trustees, chairs of the board and headteachers and covering a wide range of governance topics such as induction, school improvement and leadership.
I began my current role in September 2018 as Strategic Area Lead for South and Central Devon providing strategic leadership of school improvement across schools in south Devon. Prior to this I held this post in an interim capacity.
I have worked closely and extensively on behalf of the LA with schools at risk of providing less than good provision for its children and young people and I have a proven track record of delivering improvement in leadership and management. I have written policy and guidance materials for schools on behalf of the Local Authority to enable them to fulfil their legal duties, for example policy and guidance on meeting the 2010 Equality Duty and a suite of tools to support best practice in respect of handling complaints. I have devised evaluation tools for reviewing governance and reviewing parent engagement and carry out bespoke work with schools on all aspects of leadership and of governance.
Fiona Collier – Co-opted Governor
Fiona is an experienced Governance Adviser within the Babcock LDP Governance Consultancy Team in Devon, which is a joint venture with Devon County Council. Fiona is the vice-chair of the South West Coordinators of Governor Services (SWCOGS) group and a is a board member for The National Coordinators of Governor Services (NCOGS). Fiona strongly believes in the power of collaborative working and sharing best practice across the sector. Fiona researched and wrote the Devon Clerks’ Manual and has developed a bespoke training programme for clerks in Devon. Fiona is the editor of Governance Today Magazine, compiles a termly electronic ‘Checklist’ and writes a weekly Governance Alert to update governors, trustees and clerks on both national and local initiatives of interest and importance. Fiona has served as a governor, committee chair and chair of governors in a range of schools, including a federation of small rural primary schools. Fiona has a business background, initially with the Northcliffe Newspaper Group, working throughout the country on a range of publications and organising regional and national exhibitions. More recently Fiona has run a successful business in the heart of Devon where she led the staff to achieve the nationally recognised ‘Committed to Excellence Standard’ from The British Quality Foundation.
Linda Chapman – Co-opted Governor
I am a former teacher and Educational Adviser with 30+ years experience in Devon specialising in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). I am now retired but retain a passionate interest in schools and young people and particularly in vulnerable youngsters who need extra help and support to succeed and thrive. I have more than 11 years experience as a Manager and Chair of Managers at the Devon Hospital Short Stay School and am now looking forward to putting that experience to good use with the Axe Beacon Federation as a co-opted governor. If you see me in school, please do come and say ‘Hello’. I have two grown up daughters and my hobbies include travelling with my husband in our little camper van, nature conservation, reading and needle felting.
Sam Chapman – Co-opted Governor
I have been working in education for over 20 years across a wide range of education settings and roles. Recently I have lead the Early Years team at Babcock LDP with a particular focus on SEND and Inclusion. Since May 2018 I have taken on a strategic leadership role to develop LDP’s approach to the social mobility agenda across all phases. I am a trustee for a small Multi-academy trust and am Chair of one of the individual school boards. I am passionate about supporting and improving the quality of the day to day experiences in the classroom for teachers and pupils which I believe is key to ensure that schools can be the best place they can be for children to thrive and grow – this is what gets me up in the morning.
Sue Nield – Co-opted Governor
I am really delighted to join the Governing Board of the Axe Beacon Federation. I hope that I will bring my experience, skills, positive support and challenge to help school leaders, teachers, support staff and parents to provide the best possible education for every child in the Federation.
I was privileged to be the Headteacher of West Hill Primary School, Ottery St. Mary, for fifteen years until I retired in August 2016. During this time, I was proud to create an ethos based on ‘care’, ‘tolerance’, ‘trust’ and ‘respect’, with key values for leading a good life and living safely and happily in today’s world at the heart of all learning and teaching. The whole school community was characterised by high expectations and aspirations and high standards across the entire spectrum of school life. The school achieved consistently excellent results across the curriculum, often being ranked in The Times Top 100 schools nationally and consistently in the top ten schools in Devon, with achievement in the arts, improving the environment and sport playing key roles in school life. I experienced the many positives and challenges of modern headship which I always approached with clear moral purpose, resilience and a good sense of humour!
As a Local Leader of Education, I supported a number of local schools through ‘Evaluation Visits’ alongside Advisers from Babcock. As Chairperson of Ottery St. Mary Learning Community from 2006 until my retirement, I developed partnership working, provided support to new Heads, created joint policies and instigated many successful curriculum projects. Through Leadership South West and Devon Primary SCITT, I was a mentor for NPQH candidates and provided extensive support to SENCOs as Chair of Ottery and Sidmouth SENCO Group. I served on the Devon Association of Primary Headteachers (DAPH) Executive for five years and represented headteachers on a variety of committees and working parties, influencing education policy across Devon.
Since my retirement, as well as spending more time with my five wonderful, primary school aged grandchildren, I worked part-time for the Co-operative College in Manchester as their School Improvement Co-ordinator for two years, working alongside EdisonLearning. As a Headteacher Mentor, I provided confidential, pastoral support for Headteachers in the Torbay area and I continue to work as a University Mentor for student teachers at Plymouth University.
I believe that the success of an organisation depends on developing positive, trusting relationships to inspire, motivate and enable. I am passionate about enabling children to develop their potential, and, as a Governor, I shall work hard to do my very best for all the Axe Beacon Federation schools.
Claire Redwood – Executive Headteacher
Nic George – Head of School (Seaton)
Nic George started his teaching career in 1991 after graduating from Rolle College in Exmouth with a BEd (Hons) in Early Years and Expressive/Visual Arts education.
Nic has extensive experience of working in a range of different schools and has held the posts of Head of Year, Deputy Headteacher and more recently he was Headteacher for seven years before moving to Seaton Primary School to be Head of School.
He has extensive knowledge and wealth of experience within teaching and leadership.
He has an excellent track record for helping schools to move forward and is a strong presence around the school.
His focus has always been to enable pupils to reach their full potential and to ensure that they receive a high quality education and exciting opportunities within a balanced curriculum.
Aerfen Mills – Head of School (Colyton)
I am an Associate Governor of the Axe Beacon Federation. Previous to this role I was the elected staff governor. I have been a governor for both the Federation and for Colyton pre-federation since 2010.
I am the Head of School at Colyton and also the year 6 teacher. I am very proud of our school and our Federation. Working together in this way ensures that all children in our area have access to an excellent education.
I started teaching in 2007 after completing my degree in psychology at the University of Bath. As part of this degree I spent a year living and working in America at Harvard University, this was a really rewarding experience and I would always encourage people to do this if they can. Upon finishing my degree, I worked as an Assistant Manager of a clothing store before completing my PGCE at Exeter where I was the winner of the Ted Wragg award for Outstanding Trainee. I worked previously at a school in Wellington before starting at Colyton in 2009.
I love being a teacher, especially in year 6. The discussions and excitement that children show about their work and life around them is remarkable. They are on the brink of moving forward, with their whole life ahead of them and I feel it is my duty to help open their eyes to all of the possibilities that lie ahead! I especially enjoy the challenge that the maths teaching can bring as well as talking about current affairs such as politics and more recently – Donald Trump! It is always a big joke with my class that we talk a lot! I love putting on our Shakespeare plays at the end of the year too.
Outside of school I love to spend time with my young family, I have two daughters (4 and 2 years old), and at the weekend we love to watch my husband play rugby (he is getting a bit old for it now though!) I enjoy running as well as reading books and I am part of a book club. In the summer, I especially enjoy lazy days walking down the Byes to the beach and eating huge ice-creams on the seafront!
Lee White – Head of School (Kilmington)
From the age of about eight I always wanted to be a teacher. I trained at Rolle College, as it was then, and qualified over several years ago now. While I worked at Seaton Primary School I was elected as a staff governor and very much enjoyed experiencing the ‘other side’ of the management of a school. After the federation of our schools, the governing body was reduced so I was unable to carry on the role. As I have progressed in my career to become the Head of School at Kilmington Primary however, I am now classified as an associate member of the governing body and therefore am back in the fold, so to speak.
I obviously have a massive interest in education but in my spare time like to keep fit and active and have taken part in a whole range group activities over the years – spinning, running, martial arts, circuit training… the list goes on, I have completed the Exeter half-marathon twice, have a black belt in karate/kickboxing and even tried aerobics once, but it seems that I just don’t have the co-ordination for that!
My husband and I started to enjoy travelling abroad on our honeymoon which gave us the travel bug. We planned a ‘gap-year’ in our thirties, taking in parts of Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America, which was simply the most amazing experience ever and we hope to travel more in the future.
Patrick Germscheid – Head of School (Shute)
Profile to be added
Clerk to the Governors – Bec Davey
I live in Seaton with my husband, 2 children and 2 dogs.
I am also the Axmouth Parish Clerk, the Membury Parish Clerk and Clerk to Governors for West Hill Primary School.
When I am not working I enjoy long walks with my dogs and am a member of the Axe Valley Runners and Axe Valley Pedallers. I have completed events from 10k’s to Marathons, the Grizzly and have recently started cycling and have completed my first triathlon. This year (2019) I took part in the Prudential RideLondon 100 and the 2 mile Swim Serpentine which, along with doing the London Marathon in 2013, has meant I have completed the London Classics. As well as taking part in events, I also volunteer and am one of the Run Directors for the Seaton Park Run and am on the Grizzly Committee.