Who’s who? Pen portraits.

Chair of Governors: Jenny Sharp


I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself as the elected Chair of Governors. I took over from Michael Parle who had been the Chair of the Federated Governing Body for the previous year, I worked with him as Vice Chair and I was on the governing body of Meavy for a number of years. I have lived in Meavy for just over 13 years and my daughter, Rebecca, attended Meavy School, she is now in year 8 at PHSG. I work at the University of Plymouth in the School of Computing and Maths where I have a varied role. I teach on the Mathematics Degree programme, on the BEd Primary Programme and also I teach some of the mathematics on the Business Degree Programme. A major part of my job however is working with schools and their pupils. I run a programme of mathematics enrichment activities for pupils from year 5 to year 12. Both Lady Modiford’s and Meavy have sent pupils along to the year 5 and year 6 workshops that I run and I am sure that they will continue to do so. All of the governors and staff feel that the Federation is working well, we are still in our early days and so there are still things that we are learning but we are very pleased with the progress so far. Each school has its own unique identity which will remain but there are so many ways that the two schools, staff and pupils, can work together to improve both schools. I am known quite well by most of the parents at Meavy and through my visits to Lady Modiford’s (I had an excellent supper a few weeks ago at the Cafe Day!) I am starting to recognise some more faces. I have included my photograph so that you can start to recognise me, please do say hello if you see me, be it at school, at the Co-op in Yelverton, at the Saturday Market at Walkhampton or if you stop for eggs from my ‘shop’ in Meavy. I have put together a photo board of all the Governors which will be displayed in both schools. This will help you to see who we all are and hopefully you will get to know us and find out a bit about why we volunteer our time and skills to work with the staff to provide the best possible education for your children and for generations to come at our wonderful village schools. If you need to contact me you can do so by letter which you can leave at either school or by email: jennysharp@meavy.org.uk

Parent Governor: Colin West


Having now completed my first year as parent governor and been “awarded” the portfolio for premises / health and safety with James Watt….I am now in a better position to appreciate what each fellow governor puts themselves forward for.  I\\\’ll comment on the role later but first a little background history on me. Married to Sarah, we moved to Yelverton in 1997.  We took parenthood up quite late and now as a more ‘mature’ father in age – not necessarily in actions – ask my two children, Archie and Phoebe, have become more involved in community events.  Having reasonably active children necessitates that I need to keep reasonably, not obsessively, fit myself.  Keeping fit is achieved by either partaking in a favourite past time – cycling (whether it’s off or on road) or fighting my children.  Have to say fighting is ‘rough and tumble’ and don’t worry about A & P…..it’s more often the case that it’s me that gets ‘nobbled’. I grew up in Mutley, Plymouth.  Myself and my 2 brothers grew up in a sportingly competitive street.  We had street leagues in football, table tennis and subbuteo – there was, what appeared, an open house policy; we also played badminton in the church hall where we also attended scouts.  Willowby Park is a similar street in many respects where a number of children, predominately Meavy pupils, are encouraged to drop the X-box and to get out and play, attend Brownies, Cubs ballet etc. In an era of where many people have a necessary degree of mobility in their careers, I am one who has bucked that trend.  Thirty something years ago, I joined Devonport Dockyard as a mechanical technician apprentice.  Several dockyard operators later (currently Babcock International) and after several role changes, I am still clinging on. It has meant that I have been able to savour in depth, the varying delights of this south west corner of Dartmoor and Devon.  Although coming from Plymouth myself, my children are the third generation of the Wests that have attended Meavy School.  My Aunt attended during the war when she moved to Clearbrook as a 14 year old to work on her Uncle’s – Mabor Farm. There were at least 2 others that attended in the 50′s & 60′s. My observations so far? There are challenging times ahead for both Meavy and Lady Modiford’s Schools.  Together, they have a great chance of surviving so that this and future generations can experience the benefits of attending the unique learning environments.  The schools, whilst federated, both manage to maintain their individuality.  Both have skilled/dedicated teaching and support staff.  Both are supported by their own energetic PTAs and both are driven by a common body of governors committed to steer the schools so that the best possible tools and environments are put in place to allow our fantastic generation of children to thrive. I thought I\\\’d get a reasonable introduction into governorship as parent governor, but unfortunately the Premises portfolio lost  two of its key role holders in quick succession.  James and I were coaxed into taking the portfolio over.  With two ageing schools, we have quickly recognised what \\\’character\\\’ means.  It means that there are almost weekly issues to contend with on top of all the annual statutory checks that have to be completed.  We are fortunate to have absolute quality in the form of administrative secretaries at each school (Jill and Kath) who deal daily with these issues.  This is a great example of where two individuals have come together to make a strong team with benefits for both schools. I have to say the parent governor role has not caused me too many issues. Children and parents on the whole seem more than happy with structure of education and ambience at the school. This is reflected on the ofsted parent view website. That\\\’s not to say it\\\’s perfect, we accept that there numerous areas where we can improve – we must not stand still and to that end, if you have issues please come to me, I know many of you – tell me your concerns, give me your ideas – big or small, support the schools with me.  I’m enjoying the experience, you can and should too….. with your support we can make the children’s years at the school unforgettable.  We can play our part in developing a great group of kids! regards Colin  PS If you have skills that can be transferred to help maintain the structure of the buildings and want to help….Please step forward. I won’t abuse your generosity. HONEST!. Whether it’s clearing drains, keeping the grounds in good nick, painting, power washing, whatever. When we work together we can achieve big things – it is normally good fun and it saves us digging into the limited school budgets.

Clerk to the Governing Body: Ann Inman


My husband and I moved down to West Devon in 2004 to be closer to our family and, ostensibly, to retire. My brother, who, at that time, was a governor at Horrabridge Primary School, asked me a few months after we arrived whether I’d care to do “a bit of administrative work for the school’s governing body”. Having been brought up with a very strong work ethic, I am programmed never to say “no”, and this occasion was no exception.  I subsequently did clerking work for several other local schools, including Tavistock College, where I played a very small part in its emergence from Special Measures I retired (again!) in July 2012, but then an offer came to join the West Dartmoor Federation, which I did in February 2013. My strengths are good communication skills, an attention to detail and the determination to improve continuously the quality of the service that I provide to my governing body. If asked, my governors would probably say that I was a benevolent dictator, but I’d take that as a sign that I’m doing a good job! The traditional view of a clerk is someone who takes notes at meetings and writes up the minutes. However, the remit of a governing body has increased enormously, and at a truly frightening speed, since I started working as a clerk. My job is now much more than writing the minutes. I need to ensure that my governors are kept well informed, receive the training they need and, as a governing body, are able to provide the strategic direction for the schools in the Federation. We would all do well to remember that the 365,000 governors around the country give of their time voluntarily.

Foundation Governor Revd Preb Nick Shutt

Hello! I am the “ex officio” governor. That means I am appointed as a governor by virtue of my office as the Rector of the West Dartmoor Mission Community. You will often find me in both schools. I conduct Collective Worship every other week as well as coming into both schools to meet staff, parents and talk with the children. I am the lead governor on Personnel issues. This is a demanding portfolio to look after and involves constantly looking at the staffing resources across the Federation in discussion with the Executive Head Teacher, Chair of Governors and the Full Governing Body. We are very fortunate in having very dedicated teaching and support staff all of whom are hard-working and have the best interests of all the children as their number one priority. I am also the lead governor on safeguarding and liaise with the staff, who have been trained in these roles in the Federation. Up till 2008 I worked as a solicitor in the local area but retired from that role to take up my current full time position within the church. As the Rector of the West Dartmoor Mission Community I am responsible for looking after seven churches across six parishes, sharing people’s joys and sorrows in my work as a priest. It is a privilege to be able to share my faith in Jesus Christ with those among whom I live and work. My interests include photography, music and singing (the children can attest to my strumming on the guitar), dog-walking (one mad Springer Spaniel) as well as being an occasional cook!

Foundation Governor: Sarah Shutt

I have been appointed as a new Foundation Governor for a year now and becoming more involved in the workings of a governing body. I am now the Safeguarding Portfolio holder of the Governing Body and have been involved in updating Safeguarding policies. It has been a great opportunity to understand how the Federation runs on a strategic and operational level.

I am a mother of 3 young children with my eldest, Alex, attending Lady Modiford\’s, alongside Charlotte who will start in the Autumn Term. I am the Chairperson of Walkhampton Preschool. I work as a senior physiotherapist, part-time at Derriford Hospital. I have lived in Walkhampton since 2005 and I am a regular attendee of church services throughout the West Dartmoor Mission Community. I am planning on starting a Sunday school twice a month in the newly refurnished St Mary’s. I am also a member of the benefice choir. In my spare time I enjoy
baking, getting creative, exploring the outdoors and singing.

I believe passionately that children across the Federation receive a broad and balanced curriculum in a safe and caring environment where all are valued and nurtured.

Parent Governor: Justine Branfield

photo justine small

I became a member of the Federation Governing Body in May 2013 as the Parent Governor for Lady Modifords. I have one daughter, Amelia, who started the school in Foundation in 2011.
Having had a long nursing career in the NHS, most recently as Ward Manager of the Critical Care Unit at Derriford Hospital, I have many transferable skills that I can contribute to the FGB. In 2012 I decided to leave my full time position to spend more time with my family, but continue to nurse on an ad hoc basis as family commitments allow. This enables me to be a very active member of the Federation. As well as my role on the FGB as Lead for Finance, I am treasurer for the Out of School Club Committee and support the Walkhampton PTA.
I am dedicated to ensure that all children within the federation reach their own potential whilst enjoying a happy and fulfilling education in a safe and caring environment.

Lady Modiford's C. of E. Primary

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Meavy C. of E. Primary

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