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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 2022 report.

Who we are

Alastair Smyth, Chair of Governors

My wife and I moved with our family to Acle due to the community here and the role the Primary School played in that. I wanted to give something back and volunteered to become a Parent Governor in 2019, shortly after our eldest daughter started school. I now have 2 children attending the School.

I was elected Chair of Governors by my colleagues for 2020-21, and after a challenging first year with the Covid-19 pandemic, have worked closely with Mrs Clarke, the Senior Leadership Team, and my fellow Governors to embed the School Vision 'From a tiny seed ... all things are possible' across all that we do.

For Governors, this has included a particular focus on ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction for the School, alongside our other principle responsibilities of holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the School and overseeing the School's financial performance to make sure public money is well spent. Having seen the excellent progress made by the School in spite of external challenges over the past 2 years, I am looking forward to continuing this work in 2022-23.

Professionally, I have worked and consulted 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 have two children who attend the school, one in KS1 and the other in KS2. When my children joined Acle Primary I wanted to be more involved with the school. That opportunity soon came along in the form of the board of governors. I was co-opted onto the board in 2020. In the past two years I have learnt a lot regarding the role of the board of governors for schools. I am proud to be a member of the team helping Acle Primary shape and achieve it’s strategic direction. This year my governor colleagues elected me for the roles of Vice-Chair of the board, and Chair of the Curriculum Committee. 

I am an advocate of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths (STEAM). In my day to day profession I am a senior electronics and systems design engineer for a medium sized design and manufacturing firm in Norwich. It is a job I thoroughly enjoy. Although it is also a job that’s not without its frustrations.

In my personal life, my main passion is amateur dramatics. There is nothing more exhilarating than the sheer fear and nervousness that comes with walking on stage to a live audience on the first night of a show! My daughter will soon to be joining the youth theatre where I perform, so hopefully she will be treading the boards alongside me one day.


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

I moved to Acle from London in 2018, as my husband had a dream to be closer to his boat so we could sail on The Broads more regularly. We both love the community spirit of Acle. We married in St Edmund's Church in 2020 and certainly feel that we have made our forever home here. I was co-opted to the Acle Parish Council in September 2020 and this led to me being co-opted as the Local Authority Governor for the school. I am a paramedic by background having worked with NHS Ambulance Trusts for almost 20 years. I now work for the Norfolk & Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB – Formally the CCG) as Head of Urgent & Emergency Care for West Norfolk. I am passionate about health and wellbeing of people and supporting through my leadership and coaching roles to bring the best out of people so that they can grow and flourish for a happy, health life balance. Although I am newly appointed governor I believe that we have a solid team who are working closely with the headteacher and the school leadership team to provide the best care and education for our tiny seeds.


Ekaette Eka, Parent Governor

I am Ekaette Eka, I have two children in Acle Primary School who continuously bring me joy as well as inspire and challenge me in many ways. Becoming a governor in their school was a natural decision as it gives me an opportunity to contribute to improving the quality of services in the school. I am a governance administrator with expertise in quality improvement, risk management and company law. I am trained to master’s degree level and hold a qualification from the Chartered Governance Institute.


I currently work in the NHS, where apart from my daily governance role, I am heavily involved in equality, diversity and inclusion projects. I am co-chair for the Black Asian minority ethnicity staff network, and I am currently chairing the task and finish group for developing a 5-year equality and diversity strategy for the Trust I work in.


I enjoy listening and dancing to African music and watching romantic movies. Sometimes my day-to-day schedule is overwhelmingly busy, but I would not have it any other way as the projects I take on are projects that I am very passionate about and that bring me much joy.


I hold Acle Primary School very dear in my heart as the school not only nurtures my children but has given us the gift of a community which we belong to. (The parents and 

their children have become our extended family). 


Debbie Spinks, Co-opted Governor

I'm faculty leader for science at a large 11- 18 comprehensive school in Norwich.  I have chosen to become a governor in a primary school to gain a better understanding of the sector and the experiences students have before starting secondary school. As a science and curriculum specialist I hope to be able to support the school in the interesting curriculum journey it is currently embarking on.


Andrew Knell, Parent Governor

I have lived in Acle since 2017 and I have two children that attend Acle St Edmund C of E Primary School. Like any parent I want the very best for my children’s education, which is why I volunteered to be a parent governor so that I can help to make sure the education that the school is providing is the best it can be for every child.

I have a very academic background, with a PhD in mathematics and I also lecture for the UEA on a voluntary basis. I’m a qualified Actuary and have been working in finance for over ten years.


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