The local governing body is part of the Trust Board of the Wessex Multi Academy Trust and has a strong focus on three core strategic functions:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  2. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

The composition of the local governing body is as follows:-

2 Parent Governors 1 elected

1 vacancy

Jonathan Dunne (31/03/26)
Headteacher   Catherine Smith  
Staff Governor 1 vacancy    
7 Co-opted Governors


  Margaret Moss

Sandra Scott

Lesley Goldsack

Michelle Cheeseman

Phil Sales

Sophie Duke

Jackie Sonner








(NB The dates in brackets are the current terms of office for those governors)


Governor Directory


  Sophie Duke – Chair of Governors / Elected Parent Governor

After a 12 year career as an Urban Designer, I moved back to Dorchester with my family. I am now a full time mum to 3 children, 2 of whom are pupils at Damers. I have always been impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of all those who play a part in making our school so brilliant and having spent 2 years as vice chair of the PTA, I was keen to become more involved in the school. In 2018, I was elected as a parent governor. I feel privileged to be able to support the staff at Damers in providing fantastic opportunities for learning and in striving to ensure that our school continues to develop and thrive.
I can be contacted via the school office 
  Michelle Cheeseman – Co-opted Governor

I am a Co-opted Governor, appointed by the Wessex Multi Academy Trust Board and serving a four year term.  I am a mum of three, who have all been lucky enough to attend our fabulous school. I qualified as a teacher in 2001 and during a career break ran a local business, before returning to teaching a few years ago. I rediscovered my passion for education, largely thanks to Damers First School and the excellent team of people who make it such a special place. I believe in the power of community and inclusive education and I am thrilled to be part of the governing body at Damers once more, this time as a co-opted community governor now that my youngest child is moving on to middle school. The opportunity to remain involved with Damers and to be able to give back some time for a school that goes above and beyond for every child, was an opportunity that could not be missed!

  Jonathan Dunne – Parent Governor

I have had the privilege of working for a large high street financial services provider for over 20 years and was elected Parent Governor late spring 2022.  I am a proud husband and father to two boys, one of which is a pupil at Damers. Like you, my children are the centre of my world and I know that their first years of education are crucial in their development as little humans. Since the day my son walked through the Foundation gates, I have been spellbound by the warmth, expertise and dedication of all of the staff at Damers. I could think of no better way to thank them than to be on the board of Governors and to support them as they work tirelessly to allow and encourage our children to be their best selves. 

  Lesley Goldsack – Co-opted Governor

I have lived in Dorset all my life and I’m married to a farmer with whom I have four children in their twenties.   I have been a teacher for over thirty years and now do supply work at Damers First School where everyone in the ‘Damers Family’ has a rich, creative and forward thinking vision.  I am passionate about education and I strongly believe that the child must be at the heart of all educational decisions and this is exemplified at Damers.

  Annie Hardinge – Elected Staff Governor

I started working at Damers First School in 2019 where I have been teaching Year 4, and was elected Staff Governor in 2020. I have one daughter who made her way through Damers and therefore know first hand the incredible dedication, opportunities and magic work that is part of everyday life in the school. I am proud to be part of such an innovative and forward thinking team who strive to create the best environment for our children to learn and grow.

margaret_moss    Margaret Moss – Authority Governor

I became a Children’s Services Authority Governor of Damers School in June 2012.  I was a primary school Headteacher in Hertfordshire for 14 years.  I also worked as a School Improvement Partner in Hertfordshire.  In 2011 I retired to Dorset.  I am still a Hertfordshire Improvement Partner and I am working for Dorset County Council as a School Evaluation Partner.

  Phil Sales – Co-opted Governor

I have lived in the local area of Dorchester for over 30 years and now I live with my family in Poundbury, Dorchester.  My son attends Damers and my newly born daughter will also attend in years to come.  I believe Damers is a wonderful school, with a great ethos and the curriculum is exceptionally strong.  I have been a primary school teacher and now headteacher for nearly 20 years.  My teaching career started in Bridport before I moved to Sherborne to be a deputy head.  I am now the headteacher of Buckland Newton Primary School.  I am very proud to be a governor at Damers school and feel excited to support this fantastic school for years to come! 
  Sandra Scott – Co-opted Governor

My name is Sandra Scott and I am a member of staff at Damers First School. I have been a school governor for four years. I am vice chair on the Environment & Premises committee. I decided to serve on this committee as I am interested in making a positive contribution towards a safe and healthy environment for all our children to learn in.

   Vicky Smyth – Clerk to the Governors


   Jackie Sonner – Co-opted Governor


For more information about becoming a School Governor, please click here.  If you would like to contact any of our Governors, you can get in touch with them via the Office.

To view the Governing Body Attendance Register for 2020-21, click here.

Damers First School is part of the Wessex MAT, for more information please visit the Wessex MAT website.   To view the Wessex MAT Register of Business Interests, please visit their documents page.  To read our Supplemental Funding Agreement, click here.  For our Scheme of Delegation, click here.