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.


Fiona Collier – Co-opted Governor – Vice Chair of Governors

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.

Ed Stockwell – Co-opted Governor

My wife and I have 3 children at Seaton Primary School and I was previously a member of the PTA. I have been a financial adviser since 2006, in which time I have developed skills I hope will be useful in my position as a Governor. As a family we love to travel, visit our extended family and walk our dog. I am a keen golfer and in recent years have taking up walking, completing the majority of the Jurassic Coast with various friends and family. I look forward to contributing to Seaton Primary Schools continued success over the coming years


Lizzie Fontes – Associate Member

Lizzie is a Mum to two small boys, one of whom attends Seaton Primary, the other to follow soon. Before having her children she spent 15 years in various management and leadership roles for Tesco Stores Ltd across the country and hopes that some of the skills she learnt and used there can be put to good use on the Governing Board for the school.
Lizzie stopped work when she had her first son and over the last few years has been running her own small business. In her spare time she enjoys cycling, sewing and painting.

Claire Redwood – Associate Member

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. I have completed events from 5k’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.