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Welcome to the Governors page of the school's website.

School Governors are one of the country’s largest group of volunteers with over 300,000 people contributing to the development and improvement of schools.

The Local Governing Board represent a cross section of stakeholders and includes members of staff, parents and the local community.


Governors have 3 core functions:

· Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

· Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and the performance management of staff

· Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure money is well spent

At Stoke Damerel Primary Academy the Local Governing Board meets approximately 6 times each year helping to set the school's overall aims and ensuring that key areas such as the curriculum, standards of attainment and progress, finance, personnel and the building and site are regularly monitored to ensure value for money and the best possible outcomes for the whole school community.

As well as regular meetings, Governors visit the school and communicate with pupils, staff and parents to help them in their role of monitoring and evaluating what is happening in school and then supporting the school in developing future goals.



Governors at Stoke Damerel Primary Academy


A Local Governing Board has now been established at Stoke Damerel Primary which currently consists of  3 Trust appointed governors, 2 parent governors, 2 staff governors and the headteacher. The Trust Board can also appoint another governor and the intention is to fill this roles over the coming months with someone who have links with the community, Arts, industry, sustainability and outdoor education.


The Local Governing Board has appointed Nick Buckland OBE as Chair of Governors who has extensive educational and governance experience who is looking forward to working with the school, parents, staff and pupils to continue the good work already underway.


Tina Boon -  Staff Governor

  • Responsibility: n/a
  • Elected by staff
  • Term:  23.03.21 - 22.03.25
  • Attendance 2021-22: 0/1
  • Declaration of interests: None


I am the Office Manager for the school and was recently voted onto the Board of Governors as a member of the support staff.

As the Office Manager, I deal with parents, pupils and staff and hope to be able to bring a balance to my new role as Staff Governor through my various interactions and communications with people.

I have a background in administration, business management and staff management from my 25 years of working within the NHS prior to joining the school in 2018.  My last role within the NHS was in Health & Safety, Fire Safety and Security and these are skills which I have brought with me and help with ensuring the school is a safe environment for everyone.

I believe that it is important that the pupils in school feel happy, valued and safe and that learning should be fun and every child be encouraged to reach their full potential.  School is a place where learning and having fun should be integral and linked together for all – children and staff together.




Nick Buckland OBE (Chair) - Trust Appointed Governor 

  • Responsibility: Early Years, Health & Safety and Equality Link Governor
  • Appointed by Trust Board
  • Term:  12.05.21 - 11.05.25
  • Attendance 2021-22: 1/1
  • Declaration of interests:  Joint owner of Ditchen Farm, Chair of Parnall Group Trelonk Ltd / Parnall Aircraft Company / Riverford Organic Trust / Plymouth Waterfront Partnership / St Petroc’s School Trust / SA Certification, Director of Talklight Ltd / TWSW Ltd, Trustee of Theatre Royal Plymouth / PML / PMF, Chair of Governors of UTC Plymouth / Stoke Damerel Primary School, Fellow of IMA, RSA, IET, BCS, CMI and Member of IoD / RI. Spouse is a Quality Manager for Cornwall Adult Education.


Nick Buckland OBE has extensive experience of governance across a wide range of organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. He was the Chair of Governors and Pro Chancellor of the University of Plymouth and currently Chairs UTC Plymouth, a specialist STE(A)M school in the city and Millbay Academy. He previously sat on the board of the Regional Learning and Skills Council and other school and college boards. He is a Mathematician by education and spent a number of years in the IT sector before embarking on a portfolio career. He is excited to be able to work with Stoke Damerel Primary on its journey of continuing success.


Jennie Hartley -  Staff Governor

  • Responsibility: n/a
  • Elected by staff
  • Term: 23.03.21 - 22.03.25
  • Attendance 2021-22: 1/1
  • Declaration of interests: None


I have been a teacher for 3 years. Before I trained to teach, I worked in the media including five years at Heart Radio where I worked up from the street team, to an unpaid internship and then to a permanent job helping develop ideas to go on the air! My head turned to teaching because I wanted a job where I could do something different every day and make a difference.

Most people in the school will tell you that my passion is reading. My favourite children’s books I have read include The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and His Dark Material series by Phillip Pullman. I am currently looking forward to reading Little Woman and Animal Farm on the Year 6 book shelf!

I lead on the International Awareness element of the curriculum. This includes developing our partnership with Nav-West Basic School in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. I also help with reading especially looking at how we can foster reading for pleasure within school.




Lindsey Leary -  Parent Governor

  • Responsibility: Finance Governor and anti-racism link Governor
  • Elected by parents
  • Term - 18.03.21 - 17.03.25
  • Attendance 2021-22: 0/1
  • Declaration of interests: None


I am the parent of a year 4 child at Stoke Damerel Primary Academy and recently became a Parent Governor for the school. I am an Intensive Care Nurse and also a Clinical Educator within ICU. I hold a BSc (hons) degree in Adult Nursing, and also a BSc (hons) in Psychology. I have worked and lived all over the world, notably within a Children’s Home in South Africa, as an ambulance medic in South Africa, for an American Investment Firm in the Middle East and for the NHS on their corporate side in London. I qualified as a nurse in 2014 and have lived and worked in Plymouth since then. I have been involved in school activities since my boy started in Foundation and spent a year as the Secretary for the PTA, then a year as the PTA Treasurer. I also worked with another parent to regenerate the wildlife area, clearing and reinstalling the pond, replacing the fencing and arranging a fire pit and bug hotel area. I am very committed to improving the school environment for the children, the teachers and all associated staff.



Polly Lovell – Trust Appointed Governor 

  • Responsibility: Safeguarding, Child Protection and Looked After Children
  • Appointed by Trust Board
  • Term:  08.07.21 - 07.07.25
  • Attendance 2021-22: 1/1
  • Declaration of interests: None


Polly Lovell is the Executive Headteacher at Millbay Academy and UTC Plymouth, a local 11 - 19 engineering college. She also leads on STEAM and vocational education for Reach South Trust. Polly is an experienced governor having been a parent governor at her children’s secondary school, a staff governor at Lampton School, Hounslow and recently deputy chair at Stoke Damerel Community College. Polly also brings experience to the board as a trained SENDCo, Designated Safeguarding lead and STORM Mental health lead. Polly has led the UTC PLYMOUTH through a journey of improvement as is well versed in school restructures and developing data led instruction.


Gemma Smith - Trust Appointed Governor 

  • Responsibility: Statutory Grants
  • Appointed by Trust Board
  • Term:  12.05.21 - 11.05.25
  • Attendance 2021-22: 0/1


Gemma has worked in the arts in Plymouth for 10 years.  Over that time her work has crossed many different disciplines and involved a range of projects as diverse as community radio, public art, theatre, sculpture, mass dance, stone carving, tour guiding and orchestral outreach.  Always at the heart of these projects has been a desire to work with people, to support new audiences and communities to experience and enjoy artwork for the first time or to grow their passion for the arts in a new direction.  Gemma has worked with Take A Part for the last 9 years; starting as programme coordinator before moving on to become the Creative Education Director.  In addition to her work with Take A Part Gemma has worked on Arts Council projects ‘iOrchestra’ and ‘Horizon’, both within an engagement capacity, and drawing on her experiences at Take A Part.  She has also worked with Plymouth Dance and The Barbican Theatre and is a freelance dance teacher, photographer and occasional performer.  Gemma is Plymouth born and bred, she is an individual with a passion for the arts, a desire to support the local scene to cross-pollinate, share projects and flourish, and to then share this local knowledge more widely to shine a light on Plymouth and grow the reach of creative work and projects to other areas of the region and beyond.





Samantha Smith – Headteacher 

  • Responsibility: Whole school
  •  Ex-officio by virtue of office as headteacher/principal
  •  Term: 23.04.19 -
  • Attendance 2021-22: 1/1
  • Declaration of interests: Governor at UTC Plymouth


Samantha has been in the Education profession for 25 years, and has experience both in the UK and internationally. Her first experience of working in primary education was as a consultant for and NGO in Calcutta, India. From this point, she made a decision to develop her knowledge, skills and understanding of education so that she would be able to effectively support the provision of high-quality education for all. Samantha was previously a Headteacher of an inner London primary school for 10 years. Samantha’s clear vision for ensuring the best possible education for every child. Along with strong leadership and management skills, has delivered improved outcomes for all children regardless of their starting points.




Katherine Turner -  Parent Governor

  • Responsibility: SEND & Inclusion
  • Elected by parents
  • Term: 18.03.21 - 17.03.25
  • Attendance: 2021-22: 1/1
  • Declaration of interests: None


I am a parent to a son in Foundation, have a younger son starting in September 2021. I admire how the school has focused on the pupils’ and parents’ wellbeing during the pandemic, and am very much looking forward to supporting the school through hopefully brighter times ahead in my role as a parent governor.


I currently work as an Evaluation Officer for Next Steps South West based at the University of Plymouth, which provides targeted higher education outreach. Before moving to Plymouth, I was a Senior Scrutiny Officer at the Professional Standards Authority, responsible for assessing the performance of the health and care regulators, such as the General Medical Council. I have also been a Caseworker at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, making final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS. My background means that I can offer skills in performance assessment, evaluation, data analysis and complaint handling to the role of governor at Stoke Damerel Primary Academy.


My eldest son has additional needs. I am passionate that every child should be met where they are at, supported to develop a strong sense of their self-worth and that the whole child should be nurtured.




Governors of the previous 12 months 

Interim Executive Board Governors until 31.03.21:

Mark Elms

Polly Lovell

Nick Buckland

    Contacting the Chair of Governors

    The Chair of Governors is Mr. Nick Buckland OBE and he can be contacted via the school office or by email via the clerk:

    Stoke Damerel Local Governing Board Meeting dates 2021-22


    Wednesday 29th September 2021

    Thursday 2nd December 2021

    Thursday 27th January 2022

    Thursday 31st March 2022

    Thursday 26th May 2022

    Thursday 14th July 2022


    Meetings 10am -12noon

    To find out more about Reach South Academy Trust governance, click on the following link: