Governor Pen Portraits

Mrs Jenny Hersey | Chair Person | Parent Governor | Lead for Core Curriculum & Personnel

I am a mum to 2 daughters who attend Abbotskerswell School and are very happy here.

I have 25 years of experience in primary education starting out as primary school teacher and later working for Manchester LA as a maths consultant.

Being a governor means that I can really get involved at a strategic level, to help our School continue to be the nurturing and lively learning environment my girls enjoy.

Mr Richard Whiffin | Vice Chair Person | Co-opted Governor | Lead for Finance, Premises & Personnel 

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Mr Kevin Martin | Head Teacher

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Mrs Catherine Denning | Co-opted Governor | Lead for Core Curriculum 

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Mrs Joanne Baird | Parent Governor | Lead for Health & Safety 

I have two boys at Abbotskerswell school, who are very happy here. 


I have been a registered nurse for 20 years having worked in a few hospitals, a variety of specialities and various levels of responsibility. 


My experience as a nurse in the NHS lead to and supports my role as the Health and Safety link Governor for the school. 

In this role, I work with the school ensuring the policies and the required checks are up to date, carried out and the school is regularly reviewed, so that our school can continue to provide education in a safe, nurturing and fun environment.

Mr Nicholas Ilston | LA Governor | Lead for Communication & Community Links

My name’s Nick,

I’ve spent most of my career in the outdoor industry. I ran an outdoor centre in Wales for 5 years that focused predominantly on bringing elements of the wider curriculum to life. We worked with a broad demographic but were praised for our work with SEN and EBD.

We moved to Abbotskerswell in 2016, 2 weeks before our eldest was born. We wanted to lay roots in a community. After all it takes a village…

I’ve had a rollercoaster of employment since moving down. I’ve been an operations manager of a charity, a business consultant, a fruit and veg vendor and door to door salesperson.

I am now developing an online business that aims to help individuals build lives and businesses of purpose and fulfilment. More importantly I want to be the best parent I can be to my two children.

Mr Ryan Chidler | Staff Governor | Lead for Communication & Community Links

I first came to Abbotskerswell in 2016 on a university teaching placement, right from the first moment I met the staff, children and families I knew it was the type of school I wanted to work at upon qualifying. Luckily for me, I applied for a full time teaching post at the school to begin in September 2018 and was successful in being offered the job. I have been teaching in Years 1 and 2 since I began at the school and took on extra responsibility of the computing curriculum in Septmebr 2019, this was also when I began the role of staff governor.


I work alongside Nick Ilston leading 'Communication & Community Link', in this role I work with the PTFA as well as ensuring the school website provides the statutory information, the school keeps good relationships with parents and the wider community and that the complaints procedure, GDPR and confidentiality policies are in place.

Mr David McNee | Co-opted Governor | Lead for Wider Curriculum

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Mrs Gemma Nalder | Co-opted Governor | Lead for SEN, Inclusion & Pupil Premium

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Mrs Heidi Reeves | Parent Governor | Lead for Wider Curriculum

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Mrs Louise Walker | Parent Governor | Lead for Safeguarding

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Mrs Suzi Small | Co-opted Governor | Lead for Finance & Premises

I’m Suzi a Market Relationship Manager for Barclays Bank in South Devon, I enjoy my role being able travel around the beautiful countryside and meeting many different people. Outside of work my 2 daughters’ energy and love for adventure keep me busy.  Since my eldest daughter started Abbotskerswell school this has lead to a new interest and becoming a School Governor which I naturally found myself involved on the Finance committee. I thoroughly enjoy being a Governor and understand the importance of Abbotskerswell school providing the best learning enviroment for its pupils. I strive to achieve a balance between family life and a successful career and to be a role model for my daughters.

Mrs Marie Farrelly | Clerk to Governors

I have been the clerk at Abbotskerswell since 2018 and find the role varied and interesting. It can also sometimes be challenging but I am well supported by the Board. I need to keep up to date with any changes and try to always be one step ahead!
The main purpose of the clerk’s role is to:

• Provide advice to the governing body on governance, constitutional and procedural matters.
• Provide effective administrative support to the governing body and its committees.
• Ensure the governing body is properly constituted.
• Manage information effectively in accordance with legal requirements.

Happy  |  Responsible  |  Respectful  |  Successful