Introducing the Governing Body

Above: Governor, Christina Woodroffe, in discussion with Director of Specialist Provision, Elliott Willson.

The Team Behind the School

While many of the school's original founders are now governors, the governing body has grown substantially and includes representatives from parents, staff, the local community, and our partners, Duchy College. This is a committed and dedicated team that works hard behind the scenes to support Principal, Joss Hayes, and ensure the Academy's vision becomes reality. Please contact us with any of your questions and comments at

The Governing Body


Richard Bence - Chair of Governors

Lives in Welcombe and has one son. He is also a parent governor at a local Ofsted 'Outstanding' primary school and parish councillor in Welcombe. Richard has worked with teachers in secondary schools for over 15 years to deliver maths and science computer teaching solutions. Contact him at

Gus Grimshaw

Gus Grimshaw - Vice Chair of Governors, Named Governor: Safeguarding

Lives in Hartland. He was head teacher at the Bridge Learning Campus, the first all-through school in Bristol. Gus has over forty years experience in education, including nearly thirty years as a head teacher. He has first-hand experience working with Partnerships for Schools in the re-building of a school in one of the most deprived areas of Bristol.

Sophie Poklewski Koziell

Lives in Launcells and has two sons and one daughter. She is a freelance writer and editor specialising in ecology and sustainability. Sophie has worked as Co-Editor of Resurgence magazine and Environmental Editor at the World Health Organisation.

Dr. Mireille Thornton

Lives in Bradworthy and has two sons. She taught at the London School of Economics and was Co-Editor of Millenium: Journal of International Studies. Mireille has written for the Guardian On-line and the Turkish Daily News in Istanbul where she managed a youth news supplement. She has a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution and a PhD in International Relations.


Anna Ward

Lives in Kilkhampton and has two sons and one daughter. Anna was a Marketing Manager for First Choice Holidays and has a post-graduate diploma in Business Management. She project managed a house build which featured in Self Build Magazine and has played key roles in a range of local charitable organisations.

Sara Grimshaw

Sara Grimshaw

Lives in Hartland. She was a secondary school teacher for thirty years, during which time she was a Director of Specialism in a Specialist College for ten years. Most recently, Sara was Professional Development Centre Manager at the Bridge Learning Campus offering leadership development and training. She also set up an authority-wide scheme for coaching staff.

Christina Woodroffe - Named Governor: Special Educational Needs & Disabilities, and Looked After Children

Christina lives in Hartland and describes herself as a 'career educationalist'. She has been a successful Headteacher, an LA School Improvement Adviser, an Ofsted Inspector, NPQH examiner and a DfE Quality Assurance Adviser. She was a National Adviser in the National Remodelling Team and Assistant Director to Dame Collarbone at the NCSL, working on Leadership Strategies. She has a particular interest in students with Individual Needs and her final full-time appointment before her retirement was as Director of Teaching and Learning at the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth at Warwick University. Since then she has undertaken some consultancy, working with Outstanding schools in the South West for the Schools of Creativity Project.

Jeremy Ward

Jeremy is Business and Project Development Manager for Duchy College. He is responsible for a portfolio of projects, including a 90 acre community farm, restaurant and housing development near Truro, and partnerships with Torbay Coast, Countryside Trust and Dame Hannah Rogers Trust. Before joining Duchy College, Jeremy worked for Business in the Community, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, following on from ten years as a business consultant. Jeremy was brought up in Week St Mary and farmed beef, sheep and cereals in North Cornwall for 15 years. Outside of work, he is chairman of Week St Mary Parish Council. 

John Arkless 

John runs a building business locally, and has always been an extremely active supporter of the Academy. He has two children (10 and 6) and two of his nephews currently attend Route 39.

Rowland Cooke - Parent Governor

Rowland lives in Woolsery and has a daughter at Route 39 Academy. He is Parish Councillor for Woolsery. Rowland runs his own property maintenance business.   

Gemma Rix - Staff Governor

Gemma is one of our English and Humanities teachers, with a PGCE specialism in Geography. She is a trained Duke of Edinburgh expedition leader and a qualified Girl Guide leader. She lives in Clovelly.

How to Get Involved

We always welcome additional support, views and expertise. If you would like to get involved, email us at: