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

Helen Farmer

Chair of Governors

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.

Janice Pavitt

Vice Chair

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.

Rebecca Knox

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.

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.

Claire Smith

Parent Governor

I am delighted to be a Governor of this fabulous school, which has nurtured and cherished my son Sebastian for the past 7 years. I am Head of Marketing and Communications at Wellington School, having worked in PR and marketing in London, as well as being Marketing Director at a big Oxford hospital for many years, before skipping off down the A303 to find a better life in the glorious South West! I have two other sons, both at University in London, and we spend our days walking , horse-riding and boating. I originally went to stage school, so can still do a mean tap dance and a cabaret number should the need arise! I have previously served two terms as a governor in my sons' primary school, so am aware of the needs and importance of a strong governing body.

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.

Steve Page

Co-opted Governor

Awaiting information

Carrie Shead-Jones

Staff Governor

Awaiting Information

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

© Copyright 2021–2023 Mountjoy School

School & College Websites by Schudio