Thorncombe St Mary’s is an extremely happy small school, providing a caring environment in which each child can feel truly valued.  Dedicated teaching staff deliver a rich and varied curriculum and make the most of our fabulous grounds.  Visitors and trips out further enhance the children’s experiences.  Extra-curricular opportunities help them to develop their talents and interests to the full.  Our small school has high expectations for our children whether that be in the classroom, during break time or on trips out.  Our Christian ethos pervades in school life.  We want our children to feel cared for valued and safe, and, in turn, to care for and value others.  We want them to feel good about themselves because we know that happy, confident children will both do the best they can and make the most of school life.

Our managed partnership with Marshwood School and The Acorn Multi Academy Trust supports and strengthens our aims by offering skilled and experienced support and challenge from Andrea Rice, the CEO of the Trust.  The increased pool of management and teaching expertise found across the schools; Mrs Ethelstons CE Uplyme, Axminster Primary, St Andrew’s CE Primary Chardstock, Membury Primary, Marshwood and ourselves, helps the staff to develop and share skills and knowledge and widens the curriculum opportunities for the children.

The school is set in a beautiful location with impressive grounds including: a playground; playing field; a wooded area with an Anglo-Saxon style roundhouse; a wildlife garden and pond; a quiet sensory space; and a Viking ship.In summer, we have access to the adjacent community swimming pool.  We strive to ensure that the school offers a stimulating, welcoming environment for children and parents alike.

The task for the governors is to monitor and oversee the work of the school.  We regularly question the staff and visit the school, as critical friends.  We want to know about standards, behaviour, the safety of the pupils, expenditure and the quality of the curriculum.  We all strive to improve our school and to ensure that it’s vision and ethos are firmly at the forefront of all that we do.

Choosing the right school for your child is a major decision so the governors invite you to visit Thorncombe St Mary’s to meet the head of school, staff and pupils to see how our school will meet the needs of your child.

Patricia Barnes
Chair of Governors

Instrument of Governance including term of office:

  • Head Of School: Emily Smith
  • Staff Governor: post currently vacant
  • Parent Governor: Kate Green (26/11/2019 – 26/11/2023). Kate is a resident of Thorncombe and has a child at the school and another at Woodroffe. She works locally for the NHS as a Physiotherapist and is married to Steve, who is a Deputy Headteacher in Taunton.
  • Foundation Governor:  Patricia Barnes (11/11/2013 – 10/11/2021). Patricia is a retired teacher and has lived in Thorncombe for the last 20 years. She takes an active part of many aspects of village life and is regularly at school including during the Open The Book sessions.
  • Catherine Davis (6/11/18 – 6/11/22). After 20 years overseas in corporate communications, Catherine turned to customer service and training on her return to the UK. She has embraced Thorncombe village life as school governor and chair of the community swimming pool.
  • George Eyre (2/10/16 – 2/10/20) owns the Sadborow Estate and has had a long history of interest in the school.
  • Heather Burnett (11/12/19 – 10/12/23). Heather worked as a cancer research scientist for 15 years until starting a family. For the last 10 years she has worked as a school governor in both secondary and primary phases. She was elected Chair of Governors in one school; appointed Chair of Governors by the local authority in another; and has been Chair of Trustees for a secondary Multi-academy Trust. Heather believes that all children should receive high quality education; her work in schools is on their behalf to that end.
  • David Mitchell (11/12/19 – 10/12/23). David started in the leisure industry, working mainly as a swimming teacher and lifeguard trainer/assessor, as well as being a self-employed luthier (instrument maker) before retraining to become a primary school teacher. He has been teaching since 2010 and currently works part-time at two schools in Somerset as their Musician Teacher, covers general supply teaching in Somerset and Devon alongside being a musician.
  • Sarah Love: (3/3/2020-3/3/24) I have worked in early years and childcare for 30 years. I currently work at Somerset County Council. I am passionate about early years and champion the importance of quality early years provision as the foundation for learning and support raising outcomes for Children and their Families.

Governors who have resigned in the past year:

Zoe Aspinall – October 2020

Chair of Governors:  Patti Barnes

Vice Chair of Governors: Kate Green

Safeguarding Governor: Patti Barnes

Temporary Clerk to Governors:  Jane Burden   e-mail:

Parent Link Governor: Kate Green

Governor Details as at June 2020


Please see the attached files for Governor attendance at Full Governing Body meetings and Committee meetings:

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