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  • Julie Skinner

    Chair of Governors

  • Rebecca Child

    Special Educational Needs, Ethos & Communication Lead

  • Shahar Lashkor

    Co-Opted Governor

  • Jane Whittle

    Parent Governor

  • Debbie Du Preez

    Parent Governor

  • Jason Nofal

    Staff Governor

  • Pino Butler

    Co-Opted Governor

  • Emma Brennan

    Parent Governor

  • Emily Harper

    Ex-Officio

  • Jo Hill

    Co-opted Governor

Julie Skinner

Chair of Governors

Julie Skinner runs her own Consulting business specialising in quality improvement in the Education sector. Julie has over 25 years’ experience in the FE sector. As a former Vice Principal of Exeter College she is passionate about providing the very best experience for learners. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and her two dogs.

Rebecca Child

Special Educational Needs, Ethos & Communication Lead

I am a co-opted governor and was educated at St Peter’s school and Exeter College. After university I worked in London as a financial services lawyer, and returned to Exeter after my two children were born to be closer to family and enjoy the quality of life that Devon has to offer. I now work in the social housing sector and my role includes visiting housing associations across the country to assess the quality of their boards and overall governance arrangements. I have an interest in languages teaching, and I believe in the value that extra-curricular activities bring to a child’s education. In my spare time I enjoy walking, choral singing and travelling.

Shahar Lashkor

Co-Opted Governor

I am an old Helian who studied at St Peters. I studied English Law at University but unfortunately did not complete the course. My interests include the progress of children in education and their well-being. I am a restaurant chef. I came 2nd in a chef competition at the Houses of Parliament. My restaurant has been voted the best Indian restaurant in the South West. I have held 3 directorships for local businesses. I am also an amateur actor and have been involved in a number of Shakespeare performances. I also enjoy reading, walking and work.

Jane Whittle

Parent Governor

I have lived in Exeter for 25 years, but was educated at a large comprehensive school in Sheffield. In addition to being a mother of two children, I am a professor of History at Exeter University. I have the greatest respect for secondary school teachers who see our children through some of their most challenging years and have an important impact on their life choices. I bring a range of skills including experience of: helping to run a large department of around 80 staff and over 1000 students; appointing, managing and supporting staff; successfully applying for grant income and managing projects; carrying out gender equality audits; collecting and interpreting numerical data; and teaching and inspiring students.

Debbie Du Preez

Parent Governor

I live in Exeter having moved here from South Africa four years ago. This was in order to take on a lectureship position in the Economics Department at Exeter University. Apart from my normal teaching commitments, I am an academic lead for the Widening Participation programme, which helps disadvantaged students gain access to Exeter University. I am responsible for helping those who are studying Economics programmes integrate seamlessly into university life. In addition, I am the lead academic tutor in the Economics department where it is my duty to make sure that all students receive excellent academic and pastoral support during their time with us. I have been in Higher Education (HE) for 18 years now and I believe this gives me a unique insight into what is needed at the secondary school level for students who wish to progress to post-secondary school institutions and HE thereafter. With that said, I would like to help maintain St. James’s high academic standards and well-deserved reputation. Last, but certainly not least, I have a son at St James in Year 8 and I therefore have a vested interest in seeing him succeed both academically and personally.

Jason Nofal

Staff Governor

I am a staff Governor on the Governing body. I have been at St James for six years as a maths teacher and am an assistant Headteacher – leading mathematics. I joined the school early in my teaching career and as my second teaching job. Prior to this I studied mathematics with education at university. Out of school I am a very active person and enjoy the great outdoors. I am truly excited to be a part of the Governing body and hope to be an effective liaise between and staff and the rest of the Governors.

Pino Butler

Co-Opted Governor

Pino Butler is a teacher and education leader with over 25 years of experience working in international secondary schools. She currently works as Deputy Head of Faculty in the Sixth Form of a large outstanding Further Education College. Pino has an Honours Degree in Natural Sciences with Physics and a Masters in Science Education. Pino has extensive experience of implementing and effecting improvement, staff development and appraisal, and of the education inspection framework. Pino has a special interest in widening participation and narrowing disadvantaged gap. 

Emma Brennan

Parent Governor

I have lived in Exeter for 12 years and have two children, one of whom is currently at St James and one who is younger. I was educated in a comprehensive school in Leicester, then after university I trained to be a primary school teacher and taught for several years in London before starting my family. Since then, I have worked in other public sector roles, including in special educational needs, and currently work for the Environment Agency in research and insight. I therefore bring experience in education, inclusion, data interpretation and insight-gathering.

As a governor, my main interest and focus will be on inclusion and for the school to have high aspirations for all. This includes for young people with special educational needs and/or those who receive Pupil Premium, but also for those with a range of other types of diversity. I want every young person not only to attain well, but also to feel welcome, valued, respected and emotionally safe at school, and able to be their authentic selves.

Emily Harper

Ex-Officio

Emily Harper is the Headteacher of St James School and has worked at the school since 2014. Emily was previously Head of Languages, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and most recently Head of School.

Jo Hill

Co-opted Governor

I am an Exeter resident and parent of two children enrolled in local schools. My professional journey started as a Probation Officer but my passion for education led me to retrain as a History teacher with the University of Exeter.  I have enjoyed teaching both History and Sociology, with a keen interest in the pastoral side of school life, becoming a Head of Year, and then a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENDCo) in two mainstream secondary schools. I am now a Deputy Headteacher of a Devon special school for children with communication and interaction needs.

My passion lies in promoting inclusive education and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.