At Decoy Community Primary School and First Steps Nursery, we are very fortunate to have a good-sized, dedicated team of Governors with varied backgrounds and experience who are skilled in their roles and extremely passionate about our school.
Meet the Governing Body
Benjamin Twittey - Co-opted Governor (Chair of Governors)
I joined the governing body of Decoy in February 2023 and sit on both the Full Governing Body and Business Management Committee. In October 2023, I was elected as Chair of Governors. I hope to bring important skills and experience to my role; helping to shape and drive forward the vision and ethos of the school.
Outside of Decoy, I am Head of Operations for a global IT managed services provider.
The Chair of Governors can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Niki Warner - Parent Governor (Co-Vice Chair of Governors)
I am the parent of a child in Decoy. I grew up in Newton Abbot and my family and I moved back here in 2021, after 30 years away. I have two adult children, one is a professional musician and the other a scientist. Having already taken children through every stage of the education process, I am enthused to be on the governing board for Decoy and to help improve outcomes for all children.
My career has been varied and I have been fortunate enough to have always had fulfilling and challenging opportunities. I was appointed as a Communities Ambassador to work within the Communities Secretariat within the Cabinet Office, which I was lucky enough to do for 4 years, but in addition to this Central Government role, I have also worked for large non-government organisations and the private sector. I currently work for Teignbridge District Council. My extensive voluntary roles have included appointments as a Parish Councillor, Director of a disability charity and a school governor in a secondary school setting.
I am a passionate advocate of community cohesion and am a big subscriber to the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. A good school community nourishes each pupil, but an excellent school has the greatest potential to strengthen an entire community. Having served as a governor previously, I look forward to serving as a critical friend to Decoy and playing my part in creating a support for the head and the leadership team at this beautiful school. I am also a member of the business Management Committee.
Helen Murdoch - Parent Governor (Co-Vice Chair of Governors)
I am a former Decoy pupil and am delighted to be involved again in a school which played a big part in my life. I have two children, Evie and Oscar and Evie will be starting reception in September 2022. I am a Town and Country Planner working for a local authority. My husband and I also run a business providing services to a number of the main UK theme parks. In my spare time I enjoy reading, playing tennis, walking, baking and photography although with two children under 5 spare time is a rarity.
I'm really looking forward to being a parent governor, many moons ago my father was chairman of the governors and he has provided me with inspiration to follow in his footsteps and get actively involved in ensuring that Decoy continues to go from strength to strength.
Simon Barnes - Co-opted Governor
I serve on the Business Management Committee and my special interest is in how we help disadvantaged children and the library.
I was originally appointed as a parent governor. When my term of office expired I was co-opted by the governing board.
My background is in law and local government.
Paul Evemy – Local Authority Governor (Chair of LW Committee)
I have been the Local Authority Governor at Decoy School for the past eleven years and am currently Chair of the Learning and Wellbeing Committee. I hold degrees in the biological sciences and a PGCE.
During a long career with the BBC, I worked as a technician on a wide range of programme output, as a line manager and finally lecturer in film and video.
I put my teacher training to good use when I moved to Devon and was fortunate enough to work as a Lecturer at South Devon College for a number of years. My wife was a teacher and my family also work in the education sector.
The Decoy School community is wonderful, it has a dedicated staff and leadership team, supportive parents and talented children who love their school and want to learn. Our aim as governors is to work with the Head and other members of staff to fulfill Decoy School’s aims and values. It has been a real privilege to serve here as one of your governors.
Sandra Cartwright - Co-opted Governor
Born in Cornwall, and educated at the local Girls Grammar School, I began work at a high street bank. Having met my future husband at school, we married in 1978 and in 1981 moved to Dorset, following his transfer within the same bank. We lived and worked there for nine years, and had our first two children, our youngest son being born in Torbay in 1990 following another bank move to Teignmouth. During this time, I had begun studying with the Open University, finally completing my degree in 1998, whilst continuing to work in the bank. In 1999 I was accepted by St Luke’s in Exeter to do my PGCE training, fulfilling a long held ambition to be a teacher, and qualifying the following year. After a period of short term supply contracts, I arrived at Decoy in May 2001 for a maternity cover in Year 3, followed by a permanent appointment in Year 5 in September of the same year, and I resolved never to leave. It has been a real privilege to be part of such an amazing school community - as class teacher, including a period as part of the Senior Leadership Team, and now as Governor.
Andrew McKenzie - Parent Governor (Chair of BM Committee)
I joined as a Parent Governor at Decoy Primary School in October 2021. My daughter, niece and nephew all attend the school, as did my wife and her brother some 30 years ago!
With a career background in local government and most recently as a Town Clerk I am all too aware of the pressures faced by public sector organisations which can have such a big impact on all those who work in them, and not least those who stand to benefit the most from them – our kids!
In the short time I’ve been a Governor I have developed a newfound respect for all school staff with the volume of benchmarking, analysing, planning, and delivering they have to do, not to mention the sheer knowledge they have to possess – it certainly has reassured me as a parent that our children are benefitting from great teaching at Decoy and I certainly hope I can do my bit to help ensure that continues in the years to come.
Gill Quantrell – Co-opted Governor
I’m Gill Quantrell, I was a teacher for 27 years and worked in a variety of primary schools across all age ranges. My last teaching post was at Decoy Primary where I worked as a class teacher and the EYFS lead from 2007-2019. I now work as a Curriculum Developer and Early Years Consultant for Cornerstones Education. I joined the governing board in December 2019, so I can continue to support the school community that is so special to me
Kate Eames – Co-opted Governor
I started primary teaching in 1999 and left my last school in July 2019. During that time, I have led many areas of curriculum, including maths, music, PSHE and the humanities, and taught in all year groups. I have also been a school SENDCO, and my last post was as Head of School in a small federation. Alongside teaching in the school, I have also worked with the Devon maths team as a lead maths teacher and have trained and worked as a Primary Mastery Specialist leading work groups to develop teachers’ subject and pedagogical understanding of teaching for mastery in mathematics. One of my current roles is as part of the Jurassic Maths Hub primary leadership team covering much of Devon and Dorset, visiting schools and supporting maths development. I have a strong belief in allowing children access to an equitable classroom, where they all play a part.
Lex Gainsbury - Co-opted Governor
My experience is mainly in public health, with a special interest in childrens' health and wellbeing, and children's social care. I currently work for UK Health Security Agency, mainly supporting early years and education settings, amongst other settings, around preventing harm from infectious bugs. I am also mum to two primary aged boys and was excited to join the school as a co-opted governor in January 2022.
James Osben - Parent Governor
My wife and I have two daughters. Our eldest just started reception. I hope to support the School, parents and children as a parent governor.
I am a Consultant Nurse in NHS Mental Health services. I have experience of leading NHS teams and delivering high standards of care.
I have training in a range of psychological therapies and mindfulness. I love theatre. I directed Macbeth and I have performed in several of Shakespeare’s plays. I studied classical and modern acting in Bristol.
I hope my skills, knowledge and experience means I have something useful to offer as a parent governor.
Kate Ochiltree - Parent Governor
My daughter attended First Steps Nursery and has just started in Reception and is really enjoying her time at school. Our 2yo daughter is already on the list for First Steps!
I have a wealth of experience from obtaining my Masters Degree (plus CIPD level 7) and working at a senior level in HR, but have chosen to step down to work at a lower level working term time only whilst our daughters are small. I currently work in a local secondary school; so familiar with KCSIE/safeguarding as well as surviving an Ofsted inspection. I would welcome the opportunity to offer whatever useful skills I have to the school to support DCPS in continuing to reach high standards.
Sally Herbert - Headteacher
Having grown up in Newton Abbot, I am delighted and extremely proud to have returned to the area as Decoy Community Primary School and First Steps Nursery's headteacher. The school is a truly special place to work - the pupils, families and staff provide a warm welcome to all.
As a music graduate, I firmly believe in the importance of The Arts in education. I play the oboe in a local orchestra and love to sing in choirs.
I have over 25 years of teaching experience and have been a headteacher since 2015. I have been the headteacher at Decoy Primary School since September 2022.
Scott Parnell - Staff Governor
I first attended Decoy school as a pupil, before returning (some years later) as a Teaching Assistant for 7 years and finally making the transition to teaching, with a degree in education. I have worked in both a supply and class teacher capacity at Decoy for over 3 years now and have enjoyed time in both KS1 and KS2.
This is my first time serving as a school governor and I am looking forward to enhancing my practice and knowledge through this experience, as well as serving the school community in a new role.
Hayley Back - Associate Member
Bio coming soon
Pete Osborne - Clerk to Governors
I am the Clerk to the Governing Body. I ensure that the governing body operates properly within legal frameworks, prepare and present vital data and provide professional support to the Chair of Governors, Headteacher and the wider governing body. I am typically the first point of contact when you wish to contact a governor.
The Clerk to the Governors can be contacted at email@example.com