Meet the Governors

Steven Finnemore – Chair of Governors & Safeguarding Governor – Many years ago, Steven worked for the Inner London Education Authority before his career took him in a different direction.  After completing his degree, Steven worked in the computer industry before moving into telecoms where he completed his Masters in Business Management.  Steven spent most of the rest of his career working for Orange based here in the UK and internationally.

After Steven retired, he wanted to support his local community, so he became a parish councillor and joined his local Citizen’s Advice as a trustee.  Steven lives close to Bidwell Brook School and heard there was a need for governors so decided to apply and has been a Governor since 2020.

Laura Boyce – Co-Chair (T&L) & Parent Governor – Laura’s daughter attends Bidwell Brook school and she volunteered for the vacancy when it was advertised in the newsletter.  Laura applied to be a Governor as she felt would really like to give something back to the Federation and help in any small way she could. Laura has a little background knowledge in education which has helped her to understand the possibilities and challenges of school life.   Laura has been a Governor since 2021.



Jodie Came – Co-Chair (T&L) & Co-opted Governor – Jodie joined the board last year and also Chairs the Ellen Tinkham PTFA.




Nicky Reynolds – Co-Chair (CBT) & Co-opted Governor – Nicky is Deputy Director at Future Hearing Service for HM Courts & Tribunals Service, previously having worked at the MoD and UK Space Agency.  Nicky is a member of our T&L Committee and is Careers Link Governor.




Gemma Rolstone – Co-Chair (CBT) & LA Governor (pending) – Gemma runs her own child nursery chain, and has extensive HR experience.




Steve Cleverly – Co-opted Governor (CBT) – Steve has been a Governor at the Federation for over 7 years, holding the post of Chair of Governors for much of that time.  Steve brings extensive experience to the Governing Body through his background in Teaching at secondary level, as a Senior Officer within Local Authorities, and 14 years as a Regional Officer at the NAHT.


Tom Bates – Co-opted Governor –  Tom began working at Ellen Tinkham School in September 2011.  During his time, he has developed and expanded the Rural Skills Department including the set-up, fundraising and ongoing development of all 3 sites, project management of various construction projects (including the Roundhouse and the Craft Lab at Hollow Lane, Outdoor Classroom at Bidwell Brook, and allotment design at Ellen Tinkham College).

Whilst the practical implementation of these projects has been a vital part of forming a successful programme, it has also been of utmost importance to keep the young people at the centre of all we do – expanding areas that interest, engage or motivate them, allowing them to lead their own learning and to create an environment in which incidental and experiential learning can take place.

Playing his part in the creation of a thriving centre for the learning of skills “has been an absolute privilege” [Tom’s words] and he can’t think of a more worthwhile cause to have spent 10+ years involved with.  Tom has been a Governor since 2021 and although his career has taken him in another direction, is still a Governor on our Board.

Jamie McFadzean – Co-opted Governor – Jamie is a civil servant and scientist working for Defra.  He is married with a wife and child, and has lived in Devon for 10 years.  Jamie has joined the Federation’s Governing Body in order to ‘give something back’ to his community.  Jamie’s skills are in budget management, analysis, databases, and science modelling.  Jamie has been appointed to the CBT committee.


Karolina Galera – Foundation Governor (CBT) – Karolina works at the University of Exeter as Strategic Insights and Planning Partner. Originally from Poland, she has been living in the UK since 2006 and moved from Edinburgh to Exeter in 2021. Karolina previously worked at the University of Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in various educational related roles including quality, accreditations, and teaching & student support.

Jordan Conibere – Staff Governor (T&L) – Jordan studied health and social care and worked in the care system, before becoming a Teaching Assistant at Ellen Tinkham school in 2017 – he has also worked at our Bidwell Brook site.  Jordan says; ‘I always knew that I wanted to work with and support people to have a better quality of life, whilst providing a friend, mentor and positive role model.  I have a strong commitment to making sure there are high aspirations for the all the students in the Federation, and achieving the best possible outcomes for them.  I view my job as a vocation rather than your “average job”.  As a staff Governor, I’m not afraid to speak out, and I am committed to the future of the education of our students, as well as staff wellbeing – I feel I provide a familiar friendly and trusted face to our staff and students.  I am learning about the overall running and structure of the Federation from the strategic perspective of the Governance team, and I’m enjoying contributing to this important role in the Federation, alongside my TA role.’

The board believe it is important that we reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. Diverse boards promote inclusive school environments and provide diverse role models for staff and young people. We collect data on the diversity of the board, including age, ethnicity and gender and use this data to inform our recruitment and training needs and ensure there is always a diverse range of perspectives around the table to support robust decision making. We do not publish diversity data online as individual governors could be identified and we have a legal obligation to protect their personal data.

Everyone will be the best they can be; Everyone has a voice; No-one is excluded.