The governing body 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.

With effect from September 2015 the governing body of Damers First School has been reconstituted in accordance with the 2012 Constitution Regulations. The opportunity provided by this requirement has been taken to review and evaluate the effectiveness of the governing body and ensure that its constitution and membership is fit for purpose. The primary consideration in the appointment and election of new governors is the skills and experience that the governing body needs to be effective.

The new constitution of the governing body is as follows:-

5 Parent Governors 2 elected Sophie Duke

1 vacancy



  3 appointed


Joanne Wibley

2 vacancies

Headteacher   Catherine Smith  
1 LA Governor   Margaret Moss (10/04/20)
2 Staff Governors 1 elected Tom Bracey (06/12/20)
  1 co-opted Sandra Scott (22/05/23)
4 Co-opted Governors


  Ruth Bettenson

Marian Zvara

2 vacancies



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


To enable the governing body to discharge its responsibilities effectively it has appointed the following committees to focus on specific areas of its responsibility:-

  1. Curriculum and Policy Committee, chaired by Joanne Wibley
  2. Finance and Staffing and Environment Committee, chaired by Margaret Moss
  3. School Improvement Group, chaired by Margaret Moss

All governors have voting rights on the committees that they serve on.

In addition, the governing body appoints specific lead governor roles to engage more deeply in key elements of its work. The appointments are as follows:-

SEN and Inclusion tbc
Literacy Margaret Moss
Maths tbc
Safeguarding (inc LAC) Ruth Bettenson
Disadvantaged Pupils tbc
ICT Tom Bracey
Science and Technology Joanne Wibley
Outdoor Education and PESS tbc
Arts tbc
Main School Project tbc
Humanities tbc
Anti-bullying Joanne Wibley
PTA Sophie Duke
Mental Health & Wellbeing Sophie Duke
Sports Funding Sophie Duke
Health & Safety Sandra Scott
Website Compliance Marian Zvara
Foundation tbc
Year 1 Margaret Moss 
Year 2 tbc
Year 3 tbc
Year 4 Joanne Wibley 


 Summary of relevant business and pecuniary interest of governors at Damers School – 2018/19

Name Directorships, partnerships and employments with businesses that provide goods or services to the school (s) Trusteeships and Governorships Any other potentially relevant interest
Sophie Duke – Parent Governor None None None
Joanne Wibley – Parent Governor None None None
Catherine Smith – Headteacher None None None
Margaret Moss – Authority Governor None None None
Tom Bracey – Elected Staff Governor None None None
Sandra Scott – Co-Opted Governor None  None None
Ruth Bettenson – Co-opted Governor None People First Dorset None
Marian Zvara – Co-opted Governor Employed by Dorset County Council None None


Governor Directory

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.

  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.

  Marian Zvara – Co-opted Governor

I have been living and working as a landscape architect in Dorset since 2010 and during that time have had the opportunity to be involved with several school projects including the design and build of the new Damers First School. Throughout my involvement in this project, I was very impressed by the school, especially the enthusiasm and dedication of all staff in making it a very special place for pupils to learn. In 2017 my daughter joined the Reception year at Damers and we feel that this is a fantastic school, providing great opportunities and an environment for learning. I am very grateful to have the chance to contribute and proud to be part of it.


joanne_wibley    Joanne Wibley – Appointed Parent 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.

   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. 
Sandra_scott   Sandra Scott – Co-Opted Staff 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.

  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.

   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 2018-19, click here.