Introducing the Governing Body

Above: Governor, Christina Woodroffe, in her role as Named Governor for Specialist Provision, meets regularly with our SEN Coordinator, Sam Sansom.

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 the Principal 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 / E-Safety and Maths Responsibility

Richard lives in Welcombe and has one son. He has been a parent governor at a local Ofsted 'Outstanding' primary school and is a 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

Sophie Poklewski Koziell - Vice Chair of Governors / Literacy, Oracy and Create Responsibility

Sophie 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.


Anna Ward - Teaching and Learning, and English Responsibility

Anna 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.

Christina Woodroffe - Special Educational Needs & Disabilities, and Looked After Children Responsibility

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 - Community Responsibility

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 - Safeguarding, Premises and MFL Responsibility

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.

Colin Smith - Performance Management and PE Responsibility

Colin is a retired UK Chief Police Officer who has spent 37 years leading, managing and developing police and criminal justice in conflict environments. He has worked in 1970s Belfast, as well as in Baghdad, Palestine, Kosovo, Pakistan, Lebanon and Somaliland. Security Manager at the 2012 London Olympics. He has extensive project management experience involving multi million pound budgets at local, regional, national and international level.

Catherine Clawley - Staff Governor / Pupil Premium Responsibility

Catherine has a BSc Hon. Biology and Ancient History and a PGCE Secondary Science. She teaches STEM at the Academy.

Lucie Cullen - Parent Governor / Business and CPE Responsibility

Lucie has over 20 years experience in business, accountancy, and budget management, including a £30 million new company build and set up in Plymouth. She has been Chair of Governors of Clawton Primary School, one of North Devon’s 'Outstanding' primary schools. Lucie lives in Chilsworthy with her two children.

Jane Pollock - Parent Governor / Extended Curriculum Responsibility

Jane has a Bsc. and Msc. Degrees in Psychology, and worked as an Asst. Clinical Psychologist in the NHS, supporting senior staff in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health team working with young people with developmental, behavioural and emotional issues. Since having a family, Jane has stayed at home to look after her three children and run the family business. She lives in Morwenstow.

Gareth Smith - STEM Responsibility

Gareth is an architect with considerable experience of both new build and refurbishment projects in various sectors, including education. Having worked for many years as an architect at Charter Consultant Architects, most recently as Chairman, he is now a Monitor for Site, Supplier and Company Registrations with the Considerate Constructors Scheme. Gareth lives near Holsworthy.

Alan Emery

Alan was Financial Director and General Manager of Harrison of Birmingham, where he worked for 15 years. From 1986 he worked as Chief Executive of Trent Valley Plastics and Nenplas Extrusions, handling their merger with Homelux. Since retiring in 2013, Alan moved to Welcombe with his two daughters, who both run holiday businesses. He has used his financial and business skills to support the village shop. He was also a trustee of the Gaia Trust.

Full appointment details for each governor, their roles, and the committees on which they sit, can be found by clicking here.

How to Get Involved

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