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 2 elected Sophie Duke

Victoria Needham



Headteacher   Catherine Smith  
Staff Governor   Tom Bracey (05/12/20)
8 Co-opted Governors


  Margaret Moss

Ruth Bettenson

Sandra Scott

Joanne Wibley

Lesley Goldsack

Tom Amery

3 vacancies








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

Summary of relevant business and pecuniary interest of governors at Damers School – 2019/20

Name Directorships, partnerships and employments with businesses that provide goods or services to the school (s) Trusteeships and Governorships Any other potentially relevant interest
Victoria Needham – Parent Governor None None None
Sophie Duke – Parent Governor None None None
Joanne Wibley – Co-opted Governor None None None
Catherine Smith – Headteacher None None None
Margaret Moss – Authority Governor None None None
Tom Bracey – Staff Governor None None None
Sandra Scott – Co-opted Governor None  None None
Ruth Bettenson – Co-opted Governor None People First Dorset None
Lesley Goldsack – Co-opted Governor Supply teaches at Damers First School None None
Tom Amery – Co-opted Governor Co-works with Damers teacher Ed Moore on Boomerang Bags Dorset and Plastic Free Dorchester None None
Vacant – Co-opted Governor      


Governor Directory

  Tom Amery – Co-opted Governor

I was brought up on the Wirral in Merseyside and had an early passion for Horticulture. I studied Commercial Horticulture at Writtle Agricultural College and moved to Dorchester in 2000, where our family of 4 are now based.  Dorset is a fantastic county to bring up children, learn and of course grow my favourite crop – watercress. Being a Governor at Damers First School Governing Body is extremely exciting, Damers offers incredible opportunities for the pupils to learn and develop and it is a pleasure to help with that in any way that I can.

  Ruth Bettenson – Co-opted Governor

My name is Ruth Bettenson; I have lived in Dorchester for most of my adult life.  When my son attended Damers I wanted to become more involved in the school and was lucky enough to be appointed parent governor when he was in Year 1 back in 2007.  I was pleased to have the opportunity to continue as Community Governor when my term as Parent Governor came to an end.  Although my background is in finance, I serve on the combined Finance/Environment committee.  I have a particular interest in Child Protection and have a specific role as link governor for this area.  I believe Damers is a fabulous school, and am proud and happy to be a part of it.

  Tom Bracey – Elected Staff Governor

I am a member of the teaching staff at Damers First School and have worked here since September 2013. Prior to this I worked in local government in a variety of roles including project management and strategic governance. Damers is a creative, supportive and fantastic school and I am proud to have been chosen by my colleagues to represent the school staff on the governing body. This is my first experience of being a governor and I am enjoying assisting the governing body in its work.

  Sophie Duke – 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. 
  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.

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.

  Victoria Needham – Elected Parent Governor

As a mum of two girls and teacher of History and leader of CPD at the Thomas Hardye School, I’m delighted to be a member of the Damers Governing Body as a parent governor.  I’ve been a teacher for 13 years and am very much committed to the Dorchester school community. I’m always slightly in awe of the amazing work that first school teachers do every day in inspiring our very youngest learners and the incredible care, attention and encouragement they provide.

Sandra_scott   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.


joanne_wibley   Joanne Wibley – Co-opted Governor

I am secondary school science teacher and a Damers parent.  I was very pleased to become a Governor in 2012 and I am part of the curriculum committee which links very well to my own career. I wanted to be a Governor as I wanted to offer more to Damers as I believe it is a fantastic school and the enthusiasm and tireless energy the staff have has amazed me and I wanted to give something back.

   Natalie Green – Clerk to the Governors

I moved to Dorset in 2012 following a public sector career in the Home Office and latterly policing where I worked as a training manager for the largest non-metropolitan police force in the country. I have Clerked for a number of Governing Bodies in West Dorset for several years and I really enjoy the flexibility and variety of the work. I also work freelance as an adult teacher and event manager.

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 2019-20, click here.

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