The Governing Body oversees the work of the School and ensures that the School provides a good quality education for its pupils.  The Governors work in partnership with the Headteacher and other staff and are involved in such matters as:

  • Setting the School’s aims and policies;
  • Improving standards of teaching and achievement;
  • Setting the School’s budget plan and monitoring expenditure;
  • Interviewing and appointing staff;
  • Acting as a link between the Local Authority and the School;
  • Drawing up an action plan after an inspection and monitoring the success of the plan.

The Governing Body consists of one Local Authority Governor, two Parent Governors, one Staff Governor, the Head Teacher and eleven co-opted Governors who are elected for a four year term of office.  The Governing Body meets twice a term as does the ancillary committees: Resources Committee (Formerly Finance & Staffing and Premises, Pupil Welfare and Curriculum Committee. The Governors regularly visit the School and observe the work that is being carried out by the staff.

Copies of minutes of Full Governing Board meetings are available from the clerk on request



The Governing Body

Gil Acton

Chair of Governors

Now retired, I have over 30 years’ experience of teaching German and French in British state schools, and teaching EFL in Germany and Austria. I am a volunteer advisor for Bridport and District Citizens Advice and, as a volunteer for the RVS Home Library Service, I deliver books to people who find it difficult to get to the library. In my spare time, I like singing (I am a member of Bridport Choral Society and Beaminster’s own Raucous Chorus), reading and walking. I also run a local classic car club. It is a privilege to be Chair of Governors of the caring and vibrant community that is Mountjoy School!

Rebecca Knox

Vice Chair – Local Authority Governor

School governing bodies are incredibly important and play a key role in ensuring the level of education, health and wellbeing of all pupils lies at the heart of a school. For staff the Governing Body provides that extra independent check and challenge and when all comes together, the school performs to an excellent standard for all. I live in Beaminster and have been involved with Mountjoy since the first plans emerged for its move to the Beaminster site. It flourishes and grows and is a school for the local community, its pupils and their families and staff to be proud of. Thank you for electing me as a Governor, it is an incredibly rewarding role.

John Ryde

Co-opted Governor

My name is John Ryde and have lived in Beaminster for five years. I spent most of my working life as a Science Teacher in Somerset and Dorset, so am well acquainted with the workings of schools. In 2005 my wife and I moved to Thailand to work for 6 years as volunteers for a charity supporting people at risk of trafficking on the northern border with Burma. Currently, I work part time for a company in South Somerset that provides supported living and day services for adults with learning disabilities. I also work for a company that provides supported holidays to adults with learning disabilities, mainly in France. Recently we have become grandparents for the first time – a new and exciting phase of life! If I have any spare time I enjoy music and have sung with the Beaminster Singers and in an acoustic pub band. I have been a Governor at Mountjoy since November 2013 and have a passion for seeing young people achieve their full potential and hope that my role as a School Governor will be part of this.

Janice Pavitt

Co-opted Governor

A little about my background. I retired, in 2007, from a very long career as a nurse, from staffing to Senior Nursing (modern matron), when I moved from Wanstead in East London to Beaminster. I trained as a nurse in a London Hospital and worked for a while as a staff nurse on a medical and care of the elderly wards. I then moved to Manchester to undertake Midwifery and went on the become a Health Visitor. I worked mainly in Cheshire and East London. For many years I worked as a Health Visitor with a case load that was 100% Asian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani and then moved back to hospitals where I worked in Gynaecology, Contraceptive and paediatric services. I gained a Master’s degree at Kings College, London in Child Studies which helped me to establish a Child Protection Nursing post in the hospital in response to the Laming Report on the death of Victoria Climbie. I became more interested in this aspect of my work and eventually I left to become a Designated Nurse for Child Protection in a London Borough where work was often very distressing and extremely busy. During the 1970’s I lived with my husband and 3 children in both Singapore and Kuwait for several years where I learned to love the Chinese food and culture, although did not enjoy the restrictions placed on women in the Arab countries. On my return to the UK I became a Magistrate where I served on the Adult, Juvenile and Family Panels. I Chaired my local court family Panel for 5 years during the massive changes to the 1989 Children Act and when the local London Family Panels joined to become to Greater London Family Panel I became a Vice Chair of this organisation. This was rewarding work but could also be very distressing at times. I love living in Beaminster and feel I am lucky to have found such a beautiful place in which to spend my retirement. I want to be able to give back something useful to this community and feel that some of the skills learned during my career may be of assistance in being a governor at Mountjoy School.

Maureen Granger

Co-opted Governor

I initially qualified as a Primary School teacher mainly working with children from 5-9 yrs old, until July 1999 when I took a Master’s course at Exeter University and qualified as an Educational psychologist. I worked as an Educational Psychologist in East Lothian with a 0-19 age range, providing support to schools, parents and children and the Local Authority, providing consultation, assessment, tailored intervention, research, and training. I specialised in Attachment training, particularly for school staff, and support for Looked After Children. I moved to Cornwall where I specialised in Early Years practice with children, aged 0-5 and their families in a multi-agency Team Around the Child context. In Cornwall I worked as a member of the Educational Psychology Service to introduce, lead, manage and develop an area of specialism in Video Interaction Guidance(VIG). I am now a practitioner, trainer and supervisor in VIG as a freelance Educational Psychologist. I am also a part-time tutor at Exeter University on the VIG strand of the CYP IAPT (Children and Young People’s Independent Access to Psychological Therapies) course.

Sue Gurney-Legg

Staff Governor

I have taught at Mountjoy since 1990 and its been a privilege to be part of such a wonderful caring school. I see it as my ‘second family’ I guess as I’m still here!!! I am now Early Years Lead, Maths Coordinator, Outreach Teacher and have an SLE for my role with West Dorset schools and training needs. I really enjoy the role of a Governor as I experience the wider perspective of how the school functions as a whole. My hobbies are dancing, creative skills, walking and I love to sing all types of songs. I play the guitar and enjoy making up different songs to entertain the pupils.

Gill Howard

Headteacher, ex-officio Governor

I have been the Head Teacher at Mountjoy since 1st June 2020, but previously worked in the Teaching Alliance of Dorset Special Schools, so Mountjoy has been on my radar for a number of years and I feel very privileged to work in this exceptional school. I have been a school teacher for over 20 years working in special and mainstream, but always specialising in SEN. Previous to this I was a jobbing musician and taught music to inner city children and adults with learning disabilities as well as being in a band. I moved from London with my partner and our 4 children in 2003 and live in Dorset where the weekends bring me joy in the countryside and coast with a beautiful Labrador by my side. My family describe me as an education junkie because of my compulsion to learn and to help others to do so. My drive stems from strong belief in the transformative power of education; it changes lives for the better. Education is not just about maths and English. It is about developing skills and finding talents. It is about learning to communicate for a range of purposes. It is about finding your place in society through understanding other people. I believe I am working for the good of the individual, the community and wider society alongside a great team of teaching and support staff and a strong board of Governors.

Marie Ansell

Parent Governor

The role of parent governor is a new one to me. I am both delighted and slightly daunted by taking on the role, but am keen to be involved in any way I can with this fantastic school. I have two children and my son attends Mountjoy full time. He has a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, and, like many of our community of parents, this has been an interesting, challenging and ultimately joyful journey of discovery for us as a family. Outside of my role as Mum, I work part time as a mental health nurse. I have been in this role for twenty years and have had a variety of experiences within it. For ten years I was Bridport’s Early Intervention in Psychosis practitioner, working with young people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. For the last few years my role has been based in education around mental health and I am now a trainer for the Recovery Education Centre, delivering courses on a variety of aspects of mental health recovery for people with lived experience, their families and supporters, and people who work in the field. I am carving out a niche for myself within this role to take a lead on inclusion, particularly in making our service accessible to people in the neurodiverse and learning disability community. Outside of work, I am a trustee of the local food bank, having volunteered there for several years. I enjoy being with my lovely family and friends as much as possible as people are my main hobby! I also love to read and am a die-hard member of a local book club. I would really like to bring something of my experience from working within healthcare and mental health to my role as parent governor. Mental health is my passion, and I hope that I can support the school’s excellent record on supporting staff and children’s wellbeing and mental health in some small way. Thank you for having me as your parent governor.

Helen Farmer

Co-opted Governor

I have worked in the education sector for most of my life with the last 20 years in Bridport. During this time I have benefited from meeting so many wonderful families and enjoyed watching their children flourish despite challenging circumstances. My husband and I have fostered for over 25 years brought up three children of our own and are now enjoying retirement and grandchildren.

Liz Fraser

Co-opted Governor

My husband and I moved from Essex to Mosterton in 2007. We are both architects, specialising in the education sector, and my particular interest and specialism within that was in Special Need. I started my career at the then Department of Education and Science in the Architects and Building Branch. I was involved there in the research on Special Design which led to the publication of the first Building Bulletin on Designing for Pupils with SEN and the development of area standards which still form the basis of school design today. I later worked as a Local Authority Architect in Essex, involved in the development of units attached to mainstream schools for children with autism, visual impairment and hearing impairment and was a long standing Parent and then co-opted Governor of a large stand-alone Nursery School with a unit for pupils with speech and language difficulties. Later in my career my husband and I headed the Education Division of a medium sized architectural practise, and I became an education design adviser to a number of local authorities, to schools, to building consortia and to other firms of architects on the design of nursery, primary and secondary schools. I was appointed by Lambeth Council to advise on the briefing and the design of the Michael Tippett Special School, a secondary school for pupils with special needs, which won a number of awards. I also became an OFSTED Lay Inspector. I have been a non-executive Director of a General Hospital, and was an NHS Design Reviewer. Since moving here I joined the Board of the Acorn Multi Academy Trust for 18 months. We have 6 lively grandchildren who love coming to Dorset, but I certainly found helping with home schooling very challenging during the various lockdowns. We have 3 hens and a large garden. I enjoy walking, reading, knitting, house and garden visiting and the friends we have made here in West Dorset.

Vicky Reed

Clerk to the Governors

I have worked as the Clerk to the Governing Board at Mountjoy School since October 2014, and I enjoy supporting them as they in turn support and challenge the School Leadership Team. I also work in the school as an admin officer two days a week. Outside of work, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family.

Could this be you?

Co-opted Governor

If you are interested in becoming a Co-opted Governor, please send an email to

Governor Documents

The Key Support Website

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