What we do

The governing body is a crucial and active part of the school community and acts as ‘critical friend’ to the senior leadership team. It provides strategic direction to the school and acts to provide both support and challenge to ensure sound financial management and quality first teaching across the school.

The governing body works with the school to formulate and implement a vigorous and challenging school improvement plan. It strives to provide all children — regardless of their gender, ability, background or beliefs — with a high-quality education in a caring and nurturing environment.

We also regularly engage with our parents, staff and children using formal and informal approaches. This includes annual parent surveys, the government’s Parent View and ongoing surveys with school children through the school council.

How we work

Our governing body is formed by 13 governors drawn from staff, parents, local authority representatives and members of the local community.  The constitution comprises of:

Posts: 13 – 1 x staff, 5 x parents, 5 x co-opted community, 1 x LA plus Head Teacher

Each governor serves a four-year term of office and is appointed to the full governing body and to one or more sub-committee.

The governing body consists of a < tor_full_governors_20.pdf>full governing body and three sub-committees, each with specific terms of reference (which you can see by clicking the links):


Although governors are drawn from the school’s local community their work is impartial and the school keeps a register of:


Each committee has a chair and vice chair and they meet every half term.  The Children & Curriculum committee also has an additional data meeting each half term which is solely focused upon scrutinising attainment and progress information for each cohort of children within the school. Minutes for these meetings can be accessed here.

In addition to their work in the committees, some governors are also allocated to specific designated roles to provide targeted support and direction to specific school aims, groups or initiatives. Each of these roles has a unique set of terms and reference and the governors responsible have regular focused visits to work with the school leadership team to monitor standards and progress.

As part of these visits, governors may be: scrutinising performance and attainment data; reviewing attendance registers and measures to improve attendance; reviewing incidence logs of behavior, racial or bullying; visiting members of the leadership team to understand their work; talking to children, parents and staff to gauge their experiences and opinions of the school.

Governors are also involved in the recruitment and appointment of all staff. They attend all parents evenings, some special assemblies and prize givings. They are available most days on the playground, have links with the Friends of Watcombe Primary School and help with the annual Christmas dinner.

Contacting your governors

The school governors oversee a number of key areas. Parent governors in particular are here to represent your view and can help you if you have any questions, concerns or complaints. If you would like to speak to a school governor informally, we can often be found on the school playground before school. If you would like to contact us formally or are unable to come and speak to us personally, we can be contacted through the school office on 01803 327419 or in writing by leaving a letter for the attention of school governors.

Alternatively, if you do not wish to contact us via the school or cannot pop into the office, you can contact the governors via email:

Please note: that most committees only meet a couple of times per term so it may not always be possible to answer a query straight away. However, your query will always be acknowledged and we will endeavour to give you a timescale for answering your questions.

Meet our governors

Co-opted governorVacancy

NameRolesCategoryTerm of OfficeBusiness
interests 2019/20
A little about our governors

Fiona Prior

Chair of governors, Data, Personnel, Head’s appraisalCo-opted governorThird term of office 13/12/17 – 12/12/21NoneFiona is the Chair of governors and Chair of the Personnel Committee. She is also responsible for analysising pupil attainment and progress. Fiona is a Senior Content Editor specialising in small business issues including employment law, tax, and marketing. She spent eight years managing and updating the content on the Government’s Business Link website and now works with clients including HSBC and Microsoft. She has a son at Watcombe Primary School and has been a governor since 2009. Fiona is an active member of the PTA and is also treasurer of a local children’s football club.

Rachel Byford

Vice chair of governors, SEND, Head’s appraisalLocal Authority governorThird term of office 25/4/18 – 24/4/22 NoneRachel is vice chair of governors and the Chair of the Children and Curriculum Committee. Rachel has a background in medical research and is also a qualified teacher and has spent time teaching science in various secondary schools in Sussex, before moving back to Devon. She then joined the NHS first working in primary care contracting, then moving to a research network where she supported research in GP practices, and was responsible for analysing sets of data and for leading on national data extraction initiatives. Rachel is now working as a Facilitator for Cancer Research UK where she is responsible for supporting doctors to diagnose cancer earlier.
Steve PorterChair of financeCo-opted governorSeventh term of office 10/12/16 – 9/12/20NoneSteve is the Chair of the Finance Committee and has been serving for over 24 years having joined the governing body as a parent governor when his two sons attended the school. He is a vastly experienced governor and has served under four headteachers – recruiting three of them. Steve also played an active role with the School PTA being Chair for 6 years.  Steve spent 41 years working in various management roles within BT, finishing as General Manager for Work Allocation. In this role Steve controlled the people responsible for delivering work to the engineering workforce across the South of England. Being a large company Steve was responsible for delivering annual budgets in excess of £15 million. Steve took early retirement in 2011 to spend time travelling and getting involved with local cricket and golf clubs, not forgetting his duties as Governor! Steve also volunteers at Citizens Advice on a regular basis.

Suzanne Beasley

Personal development, behaviour and welfareParent governorFirst term of office 08/11/2019 – 07/11/2023 NoneSuzanne is a Parent Governor and has held this position for almost two years. Her main role as Governor is to specifically monitor and report on Personal development, behaviour and welfare. She regularly meets with the head, analysing data and conducting walks around the school during breaks and lessons to get a feel of the school and observe children playing/working/ transitioning etc. She also meets with children to get their feedback on a behaviour, bullying, and children’s attititude towards and happiness at school as part of the school pupil survey. She reports all of the data and views to the Children and Curriculum committee, and then to the full governing body.
Gill BratcherCo-opted governorFirst term of office 04/07/2020 – 03/07/2024 NoneGill has been a Property Lawyer at WBW Solicitors for the last 15 years. She currently work in our Torquay Branch and deals with residential property transactions. She lives with her husband and grown up son. She also has a grown up daughter who has now moved out. Gill has been a Governor at the School for  one year and is learning as she goes. She is also on the Financial Committee.

Co-opted governor


Staff governor VacancyKelly SnellSafeguardingParent governorSecond term of office 2/12/16 – 1/12/20Director of Children’s CentreKelly has been a Parent Governor for the past five years with joint responsibility for Safeguarding and e-safety. She has two sons who attend Watcombe Primary School and a daughter who has started in the Pre-School in this September. For the past ten years Kelly has been a Community Midwife working at Torbay Hospital and within the local community which has led her to gain a vast experience in safeguarding which enables her to support the school safeguarding team in their roles.Laura Colman Parent governorFirst term of office 15/01/19-14/01/2023Elly Stevens Early yearsParent governorFirst term of office 26/04/17 – 25/04/21 NoneElly is our newest governor and she has one child within the school and another starting in the school nursery in September. Elly says, “I have worked in the Early years sector for over 17 years and have been manager of a preschool for the past 15 years. I have experience in working with children with additional needs and also I am the child protection officer for my setting. In addition to this I am also on the PTA with the school.”


Note: As governors serve on different committees, the number of possible meetings varies by governor.


Our designated governors and their terms of reference:

In addition to the terms of reference, our governors also have a Code-of-Conduct-for-Governors-2016.pdf detailing their roles, responsibilities and the standards expected of them.

What they say

Child safety

“The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding. Consequently, pupils feel very safe at school and enjoy happy relationships with each other and with adults.” [Ofsted report Feb 2014]


“The two safeguarding governors visit the school at least termly. They demonstrate a strong understanding of policy and procedures and complete independent checks. Minutes of their visits demonstrate the wide range of safeguarding issues discussed with appropriate challenge.” [Karen Gannon, School Development Partner, 20th September 2017]

Child protection

“Governors recognise that supporting troubled families is a priority for the school and that the problems / underperformance of Torbay’s Children’s Services requires the school to take decisive action. The school’s further development and investment in a pastoral team to provide additional early-help is exampled by governors as decisive action taken to further safeguard children.” [Karen Gannon, School Development Partner, 20th September 2017]


“The behaviour of pupils is outstanding. Pupils know the different forms that bullying can take. For example, they are skilled in using computers and know how to stay safe from cyber bullying.” [Ofsted report Feb 2014]


“I don’t think bullying happens, it’s just fallouts.” [Pupil survey 2017]

“If I thought bullying was happening I would tell an adult.” [Pupil survey 2017]

“I used to go to a different school and was really unhappy, since I moved here I’ve been happy.” [Pupil survey 2017]

Improving governance

“Governors take part in training courses, for example on the safe recruitment of staff, and ensure that their statutory obligations are fully met, including safeguarding. These actions have enabled governors to strengthen the way they check on the work of the school and hold the headteacher and senior staff to account. For example, governors visit the school regularly, often checking on specific aspects such as ensuring that pupil premium funding is used effectively and then report their findings back to the whole governing body.” [Ofsted report Feb 2014]

Update Sept 2017: Five governors attended the local authority level 2 Child protection training (Sept 2017).

Governor efficacy

“Watcombe Primary School’s governance is a strong and effective. Using skills audits to secure new governors has ensured the board has a mix of new and experienced governors who are clearly working as a team. The governing body has a clear direction and purpose and is led well by the Chair.” [Karen Powell, Effective School Governance]

You can read the full report here: Effective school governance audit July 2017

Get in touch

The governors are an active and visible presence in school. We are always keen to speak to our parents, carers and children. Your thoughts and feedback are important to us.

If you have any concerns or questions you would like to ask, you can often find one of us on the playground before or after school for an informal chat. Alternatively, you can leave a message in person, by phone (01803 327419) or by letter for us at the school office. You can also contact governors by emailing us at We will get back to you as soon as we can.

Join the team

If you are interested in becoming a school governor, see this guidance from Torbay Council.  If you would like to be considered as a governor then please access the documents below:

Parent governor letter

Election of Parent Governors Nomination Form

All new governors are supported in their work by an Watcombe Primary School governor induction and are assigned a mentor drawn from the governing body. All governors — both new and existing— are also provided with access to a range of training opportunities to keep them informed about their responsibilities and developments in education and to help them perform to the highest standard.

Governor skills and knowledge are audited each year and a training and recruitment plan is drawn up to address any gaps as necessary.