Welcome to Thorncombe St Mary’s Primary School.  Ours is an extremely happy school, providing a caring environment in which each child can feel truly valued. We have dedicated, well-qualified teaching staff who provide a high quality education supported by well trained classroom assistants.  The curriculum is rich and varied and we make the most of our environment, trips out and visitors to enhance the pupils’ experiences. The children can select from a number of extra-curricular opportunities which help them to develop their talents and interests to the full. Our small school has high expectations of the pupils in all they do and this underpins activities whether in the classroom, on the playing field, or on day or residential visits.

The Christian ethos pervades the life of the school. We want our children to feel cared for valued and safe, and, in turn, to care for and value others. We want all the children here 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 ever improving facilities such as outside play spaces including a large field, a newly developed garden, an Anglo-Saxon style roundhouse and wild areas including an established wildlife pond. In summer, we have access to the community swimming pool adjacent to the school.  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 come to Thorncombe to meet the head of school, staff and pupils to see if 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
  • Executive Headteacher: Luke Owen
  • Staff Governor: 
  • Parent Governor: Kate Green (26/11/2015 – 26/11/2019). Kate is a resident in Thorncombe and has children at the school. 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.
  • Zoe Aspinall (07/05/2017 – 06/05/2021). Zoe lives in Chard Junction and has a child at the school and another at Woodroffe. She works as the School Secretary and her husband works for Magdalen Farm, which provides outdoor learning opportunities for the school.
  • Catherine Davis (6/11/18-6/11/22), lives in Thorncombe after a career in corporate communications and customer service and living abroad for 20 years. Since moving here has embraced village life – becoming chair of the swimming pool committee and becoming a governor at school.
  • George Eyre (2/10/16 -2/10/20) owns the Sadborow Estate and has had a long history of interest in the school.

Governors who have resigned in the past year:

  • Robert Cahn resigned as a Co-Opted Governor in January 2019 
  • Cerri Killworth resigned as a Co-Opted Governor in January 2019
  • Philip Butcher resigned as a Governor in October 2019

Chair of Governors:  Patti Barnes

Vice Chair of Governors: Kate Green

Safeguarding Governor: Patti Barnes

Clerk to Governors:  Charlotte Sharp   e-mail:

Parent Link Governor: Kate Green


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

Latest News

General Election 2019

Our Key Stage Two children were watching democracy in action today as part of their learning on British Values - here they are at our local polling station on election day.

Just One Tree

On Friday 22nd November, our school took part in the "Just One Tree" initiative and held a non-uniform day. Each child donated £1, which funds the planting of a tree in Haiti, Mozambique, Kenya and Madagascar. The children raised a total of £39 and the Thorncombe...

Auction Night 29th November

Our PFA (Parents and Friends Association) are holding an Auction Night this Friday 29th November at Thorncombe Sports and Social Club at 7.30pm. Items and vouchers have been kindly donated for the PFA to auction to raise money for the school - see list below! All...