Meet the Governors

Mill Water School is part of the SENtient Trust, a cooperative trust made up from 10 special schools in Devon. The Governing Body provides strategic leadership and creates robust accountability, oversight and assurance for the educational and financial performance of the school. It has three core functions:
  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. This involves setting the school’s overall strategic framework, including its vision and strategic priorities. It also includes responsibility for setting and modelling its culture, values and ethos.
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff. Mill Water Governors are the ultimate employer of school staff.
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
If you would like to know more about the Governing Body, or become involved in its work, please contact Bobbie Potter -
Please scroll down to view the member profiles of our Governing Body...

Andrew Gardner – Chair of Governors
Andrew was a Parent Governor from September 2014 until July 2019. He has since been co-opted onto the board and currently serves as the Chair of Governors. Andrew has demonstrated his commitment to improving outcomes for all pupils over his time as a Governor. Having originally studied engineering, he is now involved in business; developing, marketing and selling medical products worldwide.

Andrew has a smallholding that he runs, helped by his son, who was a pupil at the school, breeding sheep and keeping chickens.

Maggie Carter
Maggie is a Local Authority Governor. She currently works for Scomis, part of Devon County Council that deals with IT services for schools, but previously worked for Children’s and Young People’s services in Plymouth. She has many years of experience working with and for young people. She started her career as a special needs teacher.

Maggie enjoys Pilates – exercising lying down! She also likes cooking and eating with friends.

Andrew Canning OBE
Andrew joined the governing body in September 2017. His background is as a Royal Marines Officer with 33 years service. He has been involved in operations worldwide including the delivery of humanitarian aid overseas. Andrew is experienced in emergency planning and crisis response. After leaving the Royal Marines he spent 4 years in Afghanistan managing training and mentoring programmes for the Afghan Police and Army. He now works as an independent consultant but continues to mentor young officers based at Lympstone. 

Andrew has lived in East Budleigh since 2001, follows the Exeter Chiefs and enjoys many sports, gardening, boating and has cycled across Australia twice for charity.

Jason Scholey
Jason is a Parent Governor, with a son in the Lower School. He has over 20 years experience working within Government in a range of roles including project management, product development, user research and marketing. He now leads a team responsible for a portfolio of products sold worldwide to support the safety of international shipping. He is a Chartered Marketer, recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and is keen to use his experience to help the school grow. Outside work, Jason enjoys kayaking and spending time at the beach with his family.
Paul Charlton - Vice Chair of Governors
Paul spent his business career working in a variety of senior roles for a UK based International Insurance Company, including a spell setting up a new business in Singapore. Having worked away from Devon and recently retired he is keen to spend some time lending his wide range of skills and business experience in supporting local causes.

Living in Sidmouth and having been introduced to the work of Mill Water school by one of his daughters, he can think of no better cause.

He loves to travel, is interested in the arts and books - he’s a member of a local book group- practices yoga, enjoys walking and golf.

Julie Cornwell
Julie is a Senior Social Worker and Safeguarding Professional with over 30 years of experience. She is the Safeguarding Lead for the Governors, where she is able to apply her professional knowledge for the benefit of our pupils. As well as working closely with the schools Designated Safeguarding Lead, Julie has also provided bespoke developmental training for the full governing body. 

Julie likes to read and travel. She is also the chair of Devon Link-Up a charity that works with adults with a learning disability.

Sarah Pickering
Sarah is our Head Teacher and also sits on the Governing Body. She is committed to continuing our school improvement and to seeing the school provide the best possible outcomes for pupils.

Away from school Sarah enjoys spending time with her family. She is an experienced musician, who loves to watch a show and has been known to get up on stage herself.

Kayleigh Price
Kayleigh joined the governing body in September 2017. She has been teaching at Mill Water since 2007 when she first came as a university student on placement. She has worked as a TA, a class teacher and is now part of the extended leadership team. Kayleigh has been a part of the school on the Ofsted journey of getting to good and would very much like to play a role in continuing to make progress as we move forward.

Kayleigh loves to run and keep fit. When she was younger she trained as national squad swimmer. 

Debbie Knowles
Debbie was elected as a Parent Governor in July 2019. She has a child in the senior part of the school.