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Shipham Church of England First School

School Governance

Governance within a Multi-Academy Trust


Shipham CE First School is part of the Wessex Learning Trust, a multi-academy trust that is responsible for a number of academies across Somerset. Governance for a multi-academy trust operates at two levels. 


At trust level, there are Trustees.  The Trustees are accountable to the Department for Education and external government agencies, including the Charity Commission, for the quality of the education the trust provides and the effective use of the associated academy funding. They are required to have systems in place through which they can assure themselves of quality, financial probity, safety and good practice.


At a local level, each academy has a Governing Body comprising of Governors with different areas of expertise and responsibilities.  Governors are responsible for holding Headteachers and their leadership teams to account for the quality and effectiveness of the academic experience of the students under their care with the aim of securing effective school improvement.  They do this through monitoring performance against an annual academy improvement plan, through monitoring risks and responses to risks, and by overseeing systems and processes for the safeguarding of children and the health, safety and wellbeing of academy staff.


In addition The Trust brings opportunities for:


  • broader learning and social experiences
  • sharing of good practice across schools
  • a strengthening of the already successful transition experience for pupils moving from our first schools to their future schools
  • further development of the standard of teaching and learning across all schools
  • each school to operate more efficiently through the sharing of resources and expertise
  • joint staff training



Our school governing body is chaired by Adrian Warman. Adrian can be contacted via the school email, postal address or telephone. Click here for our contact details.


Contacting the Wessex Learning Trust

Telephone: 01934 745363


The Wessex Learning Trust
Station Road
BS27 3AQ

Adrian Warman - Chair of Governors

I have been a governor with the first school in Shipham since 2012 and find it to be a worthwhile and rewarding role, contributing directly to the quality of early education on which local children and their families rely. I am privileged to now be Chair to the joint local governing body across both Shipham and Draycott & Rodney Stoke schools – an arrangement which mirrors and supports the joint Headteacher.


I live in Shipham, with two older children in Wessex Learning Trust academies and believe the schools, with close collaboration across the Cheddar Valley, are a central part of our communities. I genuinely value the hard work and dedication of staff focused to deliver excellent teaching and learning for each individual pupil and appreciate the strong link with the Church which supports a caring culture and instils a sense of social responsibility and belief.


I encourage the wide variety of sport, music and extra-curricular or enrichment opportunities which can so often enhance our children’s experience of school, allowing them to recognise their potential and be excited about learning.

Kirk Purnell - Vice Chair

I have worked in education in various forms for the entirety of my career, from my first collaborative venture setting up a gymnastics club in a local primary school at 17 to my current position as Director of Teaching, Learning and Assessment at a large, multi-site Further Education College. My experience in education has taken me around the world and offered a huge range of different experiences in secondary, Further and Higher Education, private language schools and even offender learning in prisons education, all offering a broad range of perspectives and insight.

Since moving to Draycott I have been keen to take an active role in the community and I see the support of our local primary schools as key to this. It is a great privilege to be able to have a guiding hand in the education of our young people and to support these schools to be the best they can be - and to ensure the best in education for my own young daughter when the time comes!

Thea Oliver

My name is Dorothea but the only people who call me that are the bank and the taxman!

Please call me Thea.

I was born in Cardiff and am very proud of my Welsh heritage.

I am part of a very close and supportive family, I have been wife to Richard for 42 years (yes, I was a child-bride!) Richard is a governor at The Kings of Wessex Academy. I am mother to Christian (who is a governor at Lympsham Church of England VC First School), Morgan (who is a governor of at school in north London where he lives), and Mary who works at Shipham Church of England VC First school. I am granny to Henry, Audrey and Hamish who are all attending schools within the Wessex Learning Trust, as did my own children.

I am an animal lover, and I am owned by a very vocal Siamese... so as a means of daily escape I spend quality time walking on the levels with my mostly-Labrador.

Nursing was my teenage vocation and I continue to work three days a week at Wells Health Centre.

We have lived in Draycott near Cheddar for over 30 years and St Peter’s Church has been central to our lives since moving to the village.

I am called to serve as “locally ordained focussed priest” in the Benefice of Cheddar, Draycott and Rodney Stoke. As such my church work is part-time and I am financially self-supporting.

I really enjoyed my time as foundation governor of Draycott & Rodney Stoke First School when my own children attended the school in the 1990s & I find I’m enjoying it just as much now I have returned wearing my clerical collar!

Clerk to Governors - Jo Macleod