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Meet The Governors

Cerne Abbas VC CE First School is part of an informal Collaboration of schools including Prince of Wales First School, Cheselbourne Village School, Broadmayne First School and St Mary's Charminster.  It is  called the Learning First Alliance.

Our Governing Body diversity is predominantly white British. There are currently 9 female and 2 male Governors.  The age range is 80's-30's

If you wish to contact a Governor please email the clerk on or ring the school office 01300 341 319

Our Chair can be contacted directly on the email below

Chair of Governors


Retired Clinical Oncologist 

Involvement in Medical education and committee experience -

Accredited teacher for London University

Practical approaches to training and teaching and demonstrating the success of these  methods is of particular interest to me.  

Interests - Trained to licentiate standard in Piano and music theory.

Gardening and Forestry, Stone and slate carving, Fishing

Barbara Southcott - Chair

All committees

Special Responsibilities - Health & Safety, Music

Co - opted Governor




I have worked at Cerne Abbas CE VC First school since 2014, initially as the Head of School and then I became the substantive Head Teacher in 2017. I have been in teaching for 29 years and my experience includes being an Acting Head Teacher and a Co-Head teacher in previous settings. I have 2 children, my son who has recently  achieved a degree at Brighton University and my daughter who has just started University in Bristol. I attend a local church in Dorchester and my passions include cooking and walking.
Catherine Cresswell All committees
Head Teacher01/09/2014 - present


I am now retired and live in the village but my career has been in Education, mainly early years and Primary. Moved into Higher Education, doing HR, Management and Trainer Training, and was involved in the development and verification of  higher level NVQs. I'm currently volunteering in the County Museum helping with the education programmes. 
Judy Burnham

Committees - Teaching & Learning (Chair)

Pay & Personnel

Special Responsibilities - English, History, Geography

Foundation Governor





I have four children and three grandchildren, my husband and I retired to the village nearly 6 years ago.  In my career I managed a range of early years settings within Hampshire.  Taught, assessed EYE practitioners and apprentices at further education colleges.  My project in the village was to start in the Little Giants Preschool in the village. 


Having worked in the Early years sector for over 35 years I look forward to becoming a governor for the school, where I hope to continue supporting its valuable work for the community.

Valerie Champion

Safeguarding - shadow Gov

Local Authority Governor13/09/2021 - 12/09/2025



I have been a school governor for well over 30 years, and have retained an interest in education ever since my own children were small.  I grew up in Weymouth and did my doctoral research in New Zealand;  subsequently I lectured for the Open University for 40 years, ran my own geological consultancy, involving trips to the Middle East, Europe and Kazakhstan, and delivered numerous Earth Science workshops to science teachers in UK.  Having recently retired, and living in Cerne for the past 13 years, I hope to pass on some of that Earth Science knowledge.  Hobbies include swimming (not particularly wild!), cycling, choral singing, botanical painting, gardening and monitoring butterfly and cowslip populations.  I attend Cerne Abbas church and sit on the PCC (Parochial Church Council).

Fiona Hyden

Committees - Pay & Personnel (Chair)

Special Responsibilities - Safeguarding, Science, Educational visits monitor, Staff welfare

Foundation Governor05/05/2021 - 04/05/2025


I’m Becki, I live in Cerne Abbas and this school was the main reason for my family moving to the village in 2019. I have 2 boys, my eldest already attends the school and my younger son is looking forward to starting the ‘Ducklings’ class for Pre-School. Prior to becoming a mum, I was a Research Scientist with a background in medical biochemistry, physiology and immunology.  My PhD was particularly focussed on how the immune system is involved in the development of type 2 diabetes. I put myself forward for the role of Parent Governor as I am keen to be involved with the school and to help support the staff to ensure it continues to achieve and to maintain its excellent reputation.
Becki MacmillanSpecial Responsibilities - Maths & French.  Science - Shadow Gov
Parent Governor28/06/2021 - 27/06/2025



I’m Jenny, I live in Cerne Abbas and have two children at the school, and another at St Osmunds. I am a Research Nurse at Dorset County Hospital, with a background in cardiology. 

I became a co-opted governor in September 2020 as I wanted to become more involved in the school. 

Jenny Rees

Committees - Pay & Personnel

Special Responsibilities - EYFS

Co-opted Governor14/09/2020 - 13/09/2024


I live in Forston with my wife and young child, who is at the school.  I am a Chartered Quantity Surveyor working for Wessex Water and have a vested interest in career support for our children and young adults with responsibility across several areas.  I manage Wessex Water's QS degree apprenticeship programme and am founder/chair of an RICS Collaboration Initiative comprising major employers in the region, who provide support to candidates on their pathway to becoming professional.  I am also an official RICS mentor, as well as a Wessex Water Enterprise Advisor for a local Dorchester middle school.

Justin Rush - Vice Chair

Committees - FR&E - Chair

Special Responsibilities - Computing & E Safety

Co-opted Governor28/06/2021 - 27/06/2025




Alex Ryan

Committees - Finance, Pay & Personnel

Special Responsibilities - SEND, PE

 Staff Governor - School Business & Finance Manager25/09/2021 - 24/09/2025


I am Jonathan Still, Vicar of Cerne Abbas since 2011.
Rev Jonathan Still

Special Responsibilities - Religious Education

Ex- officio Foundation Governorsince 01/06/2016



I have two children at Cerne Abbas First School school and as a governor (and parent) I am keen to help support the school in creating the best environment for the children to learn and grow in.
I moved to Cerne Abbas in 2012 and set up Quince Art School; art classes for adults and children in Dorset. Prior to that I was a secondary school Art teacher in London. I strongly believe everyone can learn to draw and paint, it just requires supportive teaching and enthusiasm. 
As a governor (with a special responsibility in Art & Design) I hope to share some of my skills and experience in supporting the school
Special Responsibilities - Design Technology & Art.  Shadow Gov for Music
Leonora Phelan
Co-opted Governor06/09/2022 - 05/09/2026





Andrea SchaferAs well as being clerk, I work in the school office
 Clerk to Governors01/09/2015


Cerne Abbas CE VC First School - Governing Body

Summary of Relevant Business and Pecuniary Interests 2023/2024


Name of GovernorName of BusinessNature of Business

Nature of Interest

Barbara SouthcottNo business interest declared 


Catherine CresswellNo business interest declaredEducationHead Teacher
Fiona HydenNo business interest declared  
Alex RyanNo business interest declared School Business Manager.  Also SBM at Nicholas & St Lawrence, Weymouth
Rev Jonathan StillNo business interest declared 

Parish Vicar

Governor at Buckland Newton School

Jenny ReesNo business interest declared Parent
Judy BurnhamNo business interest declared  
Leonora PhelanNo business interest declared 



Becki MacmillanNo business interest declared Parent
Justin RushNo business interest declared Parent
Valerie ChampionNo business interest declared  


A positive, purposeful and enthusiastic atmosphere

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