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Meet the Governors

Maggie Carter - Foundation Governor (Chair of Governors)

Maggie is currently the Chair of Orchard Manor School Governing Board.

She started her career as a special school teacher and then worked as an educational psychologist for 20 years, before moving into education management, becoming assistant director of Children’s Services in Plymouth in 2005.

Since retirement from that role in 2013, she has maintained her passion for special education, and is a governor at Mill Water School in East Budleigh as well as at Orchard Manor.

She also works part time for Scomis, part of Devon County Council that supports schools with their ICT needs.

She enjoys singing in a choir, and singing holidays, Pilates (exercise lying down!) and cooking for family and friends .

Mary May - Co-opted Governor (Curriculum/Co-Vice Chair)

Mary began her career teaching English and Drama. She taught in the secondary sector for twenty years, assuming many different roles and responsibilities. Her experience includes literacy development, curriculum development and pastoral care, leading teams and chairing committees. She has extensive knowledge of accreditation and the different pathways available for pupils.

Mary later made the decision to retrain as an expert in SEND, studying under Morag Hunter- Carsch at Leicester University. She became an SEN Advisory teacher for Central Warwickshire, with a caseload of six comprehensive schools and ten primary schools. Mary continued with rigorous CPD and extended her knowledge of her specialist areas: Specific Learning Difficulties and Autism.

Since moving to Devon, Mary has developed a range of voluntary activities. She travels to Brasov, Romania every year, to work at a day centre for adults and children with learning and physical needs, mainly on the autistic spectrum. She works at CEDA, in Exeter, as ‘Artist in Residence’ and her groups have exhibited their work as part of Exeter Art Week. Mary has recently set up a charity that seeks to support individuals with complex learning difficulties. She is knowledgeable in the areas of Charity Law, the role of Trustees and Safeguarding responsibilities across a range of different organisations.

Mary joined the Governing Body of Ratcliffe School in January 2016. She has chaired the Curriculum Committee and she has been Vice Chair of Governors for the past year. Mary is a co-opted governor of the new Governing Body of Orchard Manor School.


Brenda Steel - LA Governor (Safeguarding/Co Vice Chair)

Brenda is a Local Authority appointed governor to Orchard Manor School.

She is an independent education consultant who has been working in school governance for 20 years beginning in North Tyneside and then Somerset Local Authorities.  She has been a governor for 28 years and was chair of governors of a First School and a Secondary School in Northumberland before her move to the South West in 2005.  Brenda is currently a director of St Christopher’s Multi-Academy Trust and a Member of the Vector Learning Trust.

Brenda is an associate trainer with Babcock LDP providing governor training and development in the Devon, Plymouth and Torbay areas.  She provides an experienced and knowledgeable approach to school governors and senior school leaders based on specific needs and requirements.  She is passionate about governing bodies and the role they play in school improvement.

At Orchard Manor, Brenda is the Lead Safeguarding Governor.

In her spare time, Brenda enjoys performing in musical shows at the local theatre and playing golf.

Vicky Eul Barker - Foundation Governor (Residential)

Vicky has been a governor at Ratcliffe School since September 2014.  She was originally a parent governor, when her child was a residential pupil at the school. She is currently a co-opted governor. 

Using her experience of working in change management she has supported the schools to enter a management partnership with Oaklands Park School, then a Federation and more recently the merger to become Orchard Manor School.  Over the last year Vicky has used her skills as a surveyor to Chair the resources committee, and has been lead governor for Personnel, Residential Care and Property and Premises.

Vicky has a particular interest in Autism and has attended many training courses and conferences and met Tony Attwood and his team.  She has previously been Chair of a community pre-school, a primary school TA, and worked with Devon Parent Partnerships (now DIAS).  Vicky has a small holding with chickens, ducks, sheep and cattle where she also runs a holiday cottage business.  In her spare time she enjoys running and yoga.

Vacancy - Co-opted Governor (Pupil Data)

We are looking for a new Governor to fill this vacancy.

If you are interested please contact : 

Clerk to Governors - 01626 862363  


Charles Wilson - Parent Governor (Premises/Health & Safety)

Charles has worked as a consultant for the Royal family in Abu Dhabi for over 20 years.  He was the founder and director for Abu Dubai’s Premier Children’s Nursery from 2000 to 2010 with over 180 children enrolled.

Additionally he was the founder and managing director of Acorn Independence in Somerset from 2016 to date.  Acorne Independence provide residential care and support for young people between 16 and 18 years of age.

Charles has had 11 years’ experience of Autism within his own personal life and he has an extensive experience in business concept planning, strategy and development as well as project planning and management.  His key skills are in leadership and people management.

His hobbies include golf and gardening.

Vacancy - Co-opted Governor (Parent & Community)

We are looking for a new Governor to fill this vacancy.

If you are interested please contact : 

Clerk to Governors - 01626 862363 




Janet Haley - Staff Governor (Parent & Community)

Janet Haley joined the school in 2015, after nine years in her previous school.  Janet has spent her whole teaching career in special education and brings a wealth of experience.  She believes that the focus of education must be on the individual child and that it is therefore important to know and understand the child's context, background, home, abilities, gifts and needs.  Janet believes that formal education is complemented by developing the whole person, including communication and social skills, self-confidence, self-esteem, good manners and consideration for the feelings and well-being of others and that only in this way can children move towards developing their full potential. 

In her appointment as staff governor, Janet considers that it is her responsibility to give voice to the staff and that it is important that every staff-member feels valued and affirmed and has a sense of being part of a community committed to excellence in education and learning.  Personally, Janet aims to be approachable, a good and trustworthy listener, who sets and exemplifies professional standards, reliability and responsibility. 

Outside of school, when she has time, Janet enjoys dress-making, needle crafts, classical music, professional football, theatre, cinema, cooking, travel and her Rough Collie dog.  She is married and has four children.

Joe Belso - Parent Governor (Finance)

Joe is the newest member of the school governor team, having joined at the end of 2018.

Professionally, Joe has worked for HM Prison Service for 27 years and has served at several prisons across the country as a Prison Officer before gaining promotion through the ranks, progressing to Prison Governor in 2010. He is currently based at HMP Exeter.

Within his professional role, Joe has experience in managing major incidents, oversight of public sector budgets, as well as meeting performance targets and staff management, skills which he hopes will transfer well to his school governor position. Joe has strength in working across partnerships and this has been recognised nationally with a Butler Trust commendation - one of the highest awards in the criminal justice sector.

Joe has a vested interest in the success of Orchard Manor, as his son attends as a pupil.

Joe is currently enjoying the early stages of his role and has already spotted a number of areas in which he believes he can provide support to help drive forward progress at the school. He has a strong understanding of the need to provide value for money to the public purse which he hopes will help within his assigned role.

Away from work, Joe is a keen supporter of Exeter City FC and volunteers for the club on matchdays - helped by his son. He also enjoys travel, playing golf (badly) and horse racing when time allows!


Rachel Manifield - Co-opted Governor (Personnel and Staff Wellbeing)

After graduating from university with a degree in Languages, Economics and Politics, I worked and travelled across France and Australia before returning to the UK to join the police service. Twenty-three years later, I am still a serving officer, now at the rank of Inspector and retain a passionate commitment to public service. I have had a varied police career including response, command and control, and training. One of my proudest moments was receiving a Commendation for saving a life in custody.

I now specialise in Custody and Criminal Justice. This challenging role finds me both influencing on local and national issues as well as advising on day to day tactics for our custody units.

I firmly believe in contributing to the communities we are part of and this new role of Governor will hopefully be a good use of the skills I have developed as a Police Officer as well as offering me a new perspective and challenge.

I am married to Paul, who also works for Devon and Cornwall Police, have a young son who has just started attending Orchard Manor, and two, rather elderly, black Labradors.