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Our Governors

Welcome to the Governing Body of Acle St Edmund C of E Primary School.

Governors at Acle St Edmund C of E Primary School are elected, appointed or co-opted for a 4 year term of office.  A Chair and Vice-Chair are elected each year to conduct meetings and be available for contact by the Head teacher.  A Clerk of Governors (Governance Professional) is appointed to provide professional advice and guidance on governance, constitutional and procedural matters.

The Governing body is made up of representatives from staff, the foundation, the local authority, the community and parents.  All are from different walks of life with diverse experiences and so, as a body together, are able to support and challenge the Head teacher from a variety of perspectives. Governors are expected to attend Governing Body and Committee meetings and attend training to keep up to date with any education initiatives.

Scroll down to find out more about our governors, and their backgrounds.

What we do

Role of the Governors/Governing Body

The headteacher of the school is responsible for day-to-day management of the school. The role of the Governing Body is to provide strategic management, and to support the school. As well as supporting the school, governors need to ask challenging questions to be sure that the school is providing the best possible education. This role is often called ‘being a critical friend’.


Governors also have a role in monitoring the school’s progress, including involvement in the school self-evaluation process, and in setting annual targets for the school’s performance and for the headteacher (and ensuring that the headteacher sets targets for other staff).

Governors are also involved in the Ofsted inspection process, and as part of this Ofsted expect the governing body to have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their school.

Schools generally have a delegated budget to cover salaries, running costs, maintenance and equipment; the Governing Body is responsible for overseeing the management of this budget and approving spending decisions where necessary.

As Acle St Edmund C of E is a Foundation school, the governing body sets the admissions policy (in line with County guidelines), makes admissions decisions and defends admissions appeals.

One of the most important activities governors will undertake is visits to the school. This allows them to learn about the school, to see the school at work and to get to know the staff and the children. The governing body at Acle undertakes a monitoring morning once a year where they observe lessons and speak to staff and children. Each year has a different focus.

Governors will hear or read sensitive information whilst undertaking their duties and great care must be taken not to breach confidentiality.


The Full Governing Body meets once each half – term (six meetings per school year).

In addition, there are two committees, the Standards, Teaching and Learning Committee, and the Strategy and Resources Committee, which also meet at least once each  term. Each governor sits on one of these committees.


The school purchases a support package from the LA, as part of this, training courses are available to all governors.


Each summer the Governing Body produce an annual report. Please click on the document below for the Summer 2020 report.

Who we are

Alastair Smyth, Chair of Governors

Having moved with my wife and family to Acle because of the community we saw here, and the role that the Primary School played in that, I wanted to give something back and volunteered to become a Parent Governor shortly after our eldest daughter started school in 2019. 

At the start of the 2020-21 School Year, I was elected Chair of Governors by my colleagues. Having spent the last year getting to grips with all that entails, and the varying challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, I am looking forward to continuing to work with Mrs Clarke and the School Leadership, and our evolving Governing Board to support the School to achieve our vision 'From a tiny seed ... all things are possible'.

Professionally, my experience includes working and consulting on change management for large and small businesses across the private and not-for-profit sectors, and I hold an MBA and Professional Consulting Diploma. As well as change, my experience covers strategy development, governance, communications, training, people management, finance and budgets, risk and project management.

I can be contacted via the school office.


Sarah Belgrave-Lock, Foundation Governor

I first became familiar with Acle Primary School when my oldest daughter, now 24, started in Mrs Brown’s reception class. Following this, I volunteered on a regular basis before becoming a teaching assistant at the school. Because of my passion for giving the children the best possible start in life, I decided to stand in an election as parent governor and have been a governor for approximately 10 years, taking on various roles, with a particular interest in being a Foundation Governor, with a focus on Safeguarding and Recruitment.


Claire Mackay, Foundation Governor

I am an NNEB Nursery Nurse with many years’ experience of working with children of all ages and in a variety of settings. Although I grew up in Norfolk I have lived and worked abroad and been lucky enough to visit many other countries. I first came to Acle Primary in 2003 when I was appointed as an LSA working with a child diagnosed with autism. In 2015 I rejoined the school as an MSA when my granddaughter started in Reception and since then I have done cover work and helped in all classes in the school. I currently serve on All Saints Beighton PCC and represent them on the Benefice Council.

I have only recently been appointed as a Foundation Governor but I am looking forward to working with the other governors to ensure that the school continues to provide a safe and nurturing environment where all children are valued and can flourish.


David Stephenson, Co-opted Governor

I am father to two girls. My eldest is in Year 1 at Acle Primary School, and my youngest will be joining the Reception class next year. I have lived in Acle for just over 6 years. Prior to then I had lived in Berkshire/Hampshire for 10 years. My wife and I relocated to Acle to be closer to our families when we were expecting our first child.

I am a design engineer by profession (system design and electronics design). Therefore I am a natural supporter of STEM subjects and am keen to promote STEM whenever the opportunity arises. I have some prior experience in promoting STEM to school children (sponsored by my previous employers) such as; providing class presentations, organising a collaborative school engineering challenge, and mentoring GCSE students (for a brief period).

At home, my main passion is amateur theatre/dramatics. With the arts taking a severe hit in recent times (amateur theatre included), I have focussed my hobbies instead on teaching myself microprocessor programming.

I have recently been co-opted onto the Board of Governors. I very much look forward to working with the Governors in supporting the Headteacher and the school staff in providing the best care and education for the children, particularly in these Covid-19 times.


Ellie Tovell, Staff Governor

I've worked at Acle Primary as a class teacher since 2010 and have recently become the school's Deputy Head. I previously served on the school's governing body from 2011-2015 and am happy to return to the role of teacher governor this year. My main responsibility will be to share reports, ideas and changes relating to teaching, learning, assessment and curriculum with the rest of the governing board.

Judeline Nicholas, Co-opted Governor

I work with organisations to enrich opportunities to develop their people to be the best they can be.  With over 30 years’ experience of supporting clients in public, private and charitable sectors, I provide consultancy services and courses in the UK and US.  My passion is People Skills with my niche being - equity, diversity, and inclusion matters and I am committed to using my skills to benefit the community.
I was highly commended for my work on EDI by the Institute of Directors, I am a IoD Ambassador for Diversity, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Royal Society for Arts.  I also coach Senior Leadership Teams, Boards, and aspiring leaders.  I chair Race Equality and Human Rights Norfolk, I am part of the Independent Advisory Group for the Police and Crime Commissioner and I am also a Trustee for a group of academies.

Sarah Carter, LA Governor

Ekaette Eka, Parent Governor

Debbie Spinks, Co-opted Governor

David Wynne-Fitzgerald, Foundation Governor

Helen Paterson, Governance Professional

As a Governance Professional I provide advice and guidance on governance, constitutional and procedural matters to ensure Boards discharge their statutory responsibilities and operate both effectively and efficiently.  I have experience in a variety of different school settings including maintained, MAT and independent schools.  My experience also includes supporting disciplinaries, grievances and complaint investigations.

I have worked in Education for over 10 years, firstly in the set-up of Educate Norfolk and have been a Clerk since 2017. Previously I have worked in both the public and private sectors in a wide variety of administrative roles, including working on local and European based projects.

I have lived in Norwich since the age of 10 and moved to Brundall in December 2019. I am married with no children and have adopted 2 elderly “rather chunky” cats.




all things arePOSSIBLE