Meet the Governors


Kate Cairns (Local Authority Governor and Chair)

I started my working life as a community worker. Thereafter, I worked as a social worker. From 1996, I worked as an area manager for Children’s Services, commissioning and developing programmes to benefit children, and managing budgets and staff.

In 1994, I took a Master’s degree in Child Protection (Safeguarding), which included three years of clinical work with families at the Tavistock Centre in London. I have trained a variety of professionals in safeguarding, from hospital doctors and GPs to teachers, student teachers, and nursery nurses.

I have been a governor since 2006 and was elected to the role of chair in 2012. Before I moved to Dent, I was on the governing body of a lower school in Bedford and, for four years, chair of that body.

I am married with three children, two stepchildren, and seven grandchildren. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a member of a book club and a voluntary car driver. I also enjoy dining out and gardening.


Diana Bucknall (Foundation Governor)

I moved to Dentdale two years ago with my husband. We have enjoyed becoming active members of St Andrew’s church.

I graduated from Royal Holloway College, London, in Chemistry. I did a PGCE at Warwick University specialising in Secondary Science. Following this I taught in an 11 – 18 comprehensive school in Leamington Spa followed by 2 years in an independent girl’s school.

I was a supply teacher in a number of schools in Wells, Glastonbury and Street and continued to bring up our three children. During this time, I took a part time RSA Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties.

At Wells Cathedral School, I taught Maths to year 9 and gave 1:1 help with dyslexic students. I also set up some small groups in Maths in the junior school, helping children who were falling behind. I was also asked to re-write the RS course for years 3, 4 & 5. This important challenge involved working with the diocesan education department, which I found stimulating. I subsequently taught RS for 3 years.

My last professional post was Head of Learning Support at Downside School near Bath, teaching year 5 to year 13 on a 1:1 basis with pupils having a variety of additional needs.

Having retired, I now spend my time gardening, reading, sewing & knitting. I am a member of Cumbria Wildlife, I enjoy walking and Scottish country dancing.


Helen Corpe (Foundation Governor)
I was born and schooled in London and moved to Dent in 1990.

I joined the Prison Service in 1997 and have worked with 15-18yr old Juvenile male prisoners, 18-21yr old male Young Offenders and currently work with Adult male prisoners in the Category D Open Estate. I was promoted to Senior Officer in 2005 and have worked at HMYOI Lancaster Farms, HMYOI Hindley and HMP Thorn Cross.

I have a daughter who attended Dent Primary School until 2007 and I was a member of the Friends of Dent Primary School Committee for 12 years; I took the role of chair for the last few years I was on the committee.

Andy Allison (Parent Governor)20211008_154248

Andy is a Chartered Building Surveyor with an MBA in Construction and Real Estate, and is currently the Associate Director of Estates at Leeds Beckett University, with responsibility for the management of the University’s buildings and grounds, landlord and tenant relationships and sustainability. He has previously acted in three separate Governor roles at both primary and secondary schools.

Andy and his family moved to Dent in March 2021 and his daughter attends the school.

Outside work, Andy enjoys mountain biking and walking in the beautiful countryside around Dent.

Revd Andy Burgess (Ex-Officio Foundation Governor)  Andy Burgess July 2023 - Image for website

I am very glad to be able to serve as a foundation governor for the school. As the Vicar of St Andrew’s Dent, I aim to encourage the school in its Christian ethos, as being a place of learning, hospitality, and generosity. Dent Primary School is a place where each pupil is encouraged to learn, grow, and discover their place in this wonderful world, and I am glad to be able to support this.

Becca Gilbert (Foundation Governor)A9A40AB9-357E-4A3F-90D8-6445F04E3432

Becca is an ordained Church of England minister who currently works as the Pioneer Minister in the Western Dales Mission Community. Ordained since 2010, Becca was a Team Vicar in Cambridgeshire where she was on the governing body of her local primary school, before moving with her family to Dent in July 2020. Married to Rich, she has two children who attend the school.  Becca regularly leads lively and interactive Whole School Worship.

John Ashton (Associate Member)IMG_7243

John Ashton was born and raised in Liverpool , studied medicine in Newcastle upon Tyne and after some years as a psychiatrist and family doctor in Northumberland and Hampshire studied Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine before returning to his home city.

He was the North West Regional Director of Public Health for 13 years, Director of Public Health for Cumbria for 6 years and President of the U.K. Faculty of Public Health for 3 years. He is a consultant adviser to the World Health Organisation  and published author. He is visiting professor at a number of universities in the North West and internationally.

John and his wife Maggi have lived in Dent since 2002 and have six sons between them.

John has previously been a board member of a variety of public and voluntary bodies including the cubs, state schools, a housing association, the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Charity and he has chaired an urban regeneration organisation in Liverpool.

He has a particular interest in the historic trading links between  Dent, Garsdale, and Sedbergh and Liverpool and the Dales farmers who set up piggeries, dairies  and slaughterhouses and grazed their sheep on the city parks in Liverpool from the nineteenth century . He is an advocate of outdoor education.

David Prescott (Headteacher) IMG_9615

Mr Prescott is the Headteacher. He is currently the Designated Safeguarding Lead. He shares the teaching of Class 2 with Mrs Moss.  He went to school in Toxteth, Liverpool and he received a 1st Class BA hons. in English Literature from Lancaster University. Before teaching he was a sub-postmaster and ran a Post Office business for 5 years. He qualified as a teacher through a School Direct Programme in 2014.  Outside school he enjoys cycling, canoeing, reading and being a dad.  

Mandy Robinson (Staff Governor)mandy

Mandy is a senior teaching assistant, providing specialist one-to-one and whole class support in both Class 1 and Class 2.  She also currently teaches D&T. Mandy is an experienced, qualified teacher with an expertise in Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Mandy holds a national SENDCO qualification and is the school SENDCO. Mandy joined the team at Dent in 2016. She is currently the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead. 

James Fraser (Parent Governor)

James is a dedicated and experienced educator with a passion for supporting children’s development and learning. With a background in psychology, music and special education, James brings a unique perspective to the role of parent governor at Dent Primary School.

Having completed a post compulsory PGCE whilst working as music lecturer at Beaumont College, James has a deep understanding of educational practices and strategies that promote inclusive and engaging learning environments. His expertise in special education and experience working with students with diverse needs make him well-equipped to contribute to the school’s efforts in fostering an inclusive and supportive community.
Currently James works in special education DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance), where he advocates for and provides support to students with disabilities to ensure equal access to education. This experience has given him valuable insight into the importance of providing an inclusive education for all children.
James, along with his family, moved to Dent in December 2022, and his commitment to being an involved parent is evident through his decision to serve as a parent governor. With his diverse background and dedication to education, James is eager to contribute his skills and experiences to support the school community and ensure the best possible educational opportunities for all students. He has three children at the school.

Outside of his professional pursuits, James enjoys exploring his passion for music and he believes in the power of music to inspire creativity and enhance learning experiences.

Recent governors:

Valerie Gornall (Parent Governor) resigned December 2022

Graham Fraser (Foundation Governor): Term Ended July 2022.

Governor Information

The Governing Body of Dent C of E VA Primary School has three core functions:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction,
  2. Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff, and
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well-spent.

The constitution of our school’s Governing Body is as follows:
2 Parent Governors
1 Local Authority Governor
1 Head Teacher
1 Staff Governor
7 Foundation Governors.

The terms of office for all governors is 4 years, except for when a governor is a governor by virtue of their position (Ex-officio), i.e. the Head Teacher and the Vicar.

Foundation Governors are appointed by the Diocese of Carlisle.

Parent Governors are elected by parents for a fixed term of 4 years. Parents are advised in writing when a vacancy for a Parent Governor arises. This could be because a Governor completes their term of office or because they stand down. Full details of the eligibility criteria and the process for nominations and any election are provided at the time.

Local Authority Governors (L.A. Governors) are nominated by the Local Authority and appointed by the governing body.

Staff Governors are members of the School staff who are elected by the staffing body (both teaching and non-teaching).

Associate members are appointed by the governing body to help or advise on a specific matter (recent associate members have been appointed to assist with health-related matters during the Covid pandemic). Associate members do not have voting rights at governing body level (because they are not a governor). However associate members can be appointed to committees and the governing body can delegate them voting rights at committee level. 

We currently have vacancies for Foundation Governors. If you are interested in becoming a Foundation Governor, please speak to the Chair of the PCC/Andy Burgess.

Governing Body Committees

The Education Committee:
Diana Bucknall (Chair), Becca Gilbert, Head Teacher, Helen Corpe, Kate Cairns and Mandy Robinson.

The Resources Committee:
Andy Allison (Chair), Head Teacher, Helen Corpe and Kate Cairns.

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