Devon Hospitals Short Stay School

Meet The Managers

Stephen Owen - Chair of Managers

I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as the new Chair of Managers at the Devon Hospitals Short Stay School. I follow two excellent predecessors so I certainly will have a hard act to follow.

This is an excellent school and in the short time that I have been Chair, I have been very impressed by the dedication of the Headteacher and all of the staff to the children in their care. There is a lovely atmosphere in the school and I know how much as parents appreciate the work that the staff undertake. Likewise, the staff and the Managers very much appreciate the support that you give us.

I have been involved with teaching and education for not far off 40 years, starting as a History teacher and a Deputy Headteacher and acting Headteacher 13 years before becoming an Ofsted inspector and becoming the Deputy Head of school standards and provision for an inner London borough.

Natalie Ellor – Local Authority Manager

I have worked in education for nearly 20 years, serving in a number of schools across the county. I have always had a passion for supporting pupils with special needs and disabilities and am an experienced SENDCO. I now work as an Inclusion Officer, supporting young people to remain in school and thrive. I am excited to have recently joined the DHSSS team and I am looking forward to helping make a difference to the young people we serve.

Mike Walton – Community Manager

I have a passion for working with, and helping, young children that started from as young as 14 working in a local sport centre helping with holiday clubs and gymnastic classes.

This then became my full-time passion when I joined and worked for 2 years as a sports leader in a local activities centre in Lyme Regis, which then took me to University to study Outdoor leisure management and educational studies.

From this grew a passion which took me into becoming the youth development officer for Axminster town football club which then took me into education, working as a 1-1, SEN TA and working and running alternative curriculum classrooms in schools across Dorset, Devon and Somerset. During this time I learnt skills in all aspects of primary educating and none moreso important and passionate than sensory therapy, leading me to become the sensory lead at a school in Dorset.

After, 10 years working in education I left to continue the growth of mine, and my partners, business of running a Dog hotel. However, I still work with young people in a large way as I am Level 3 Foster carer for 2 siblings in which I use many of my learnt skills on a daily basis.

I believe that educating children in a way in which is centred around them and their needs is crucial to a child’s development and this is why I am so proud to join the management board of Devon Hospitals Short Stay School.

Samantha Collett – Staff Manager

I have been a teacher for 29 years  and have spent the majority of my career teaching in Primary schools (particularly in Key Stage 1 and Early years), as well as teaching abroad and specialising in languages and PE. I have recently completed the National Award for Special Needs Coordinators and have a particular interest in working with young people with additional needs and anxiety. Outside of work, I like to walk, read and cook and I especially like to get out on the Estuary on my paddleboard when the weather is good enough!

Fran Lowery

I am currently a programme manager at the Royal Devon Hospital, working across north and east Devon. I support projects which help to improve our services across the hospital and community for our patients and staff. I have previously worked as a physio working with children, as well as a manager of the paediatric service here in Exeter, so I was keen to become a school governor to support developing our services for our young people. I help to link the operational aspect of the school with the hospital to enable the teachers to provide excellent education both in hospital and in children’s homes.

I live near Exeter with my husband and 2 children. I enjoy walking, canoeing and cycling, as well as looking after my 2 pigs and ducks on our small holding.

Thomas Ralph

Thomas Ralph is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Exeter and is currently the Head of Initial Teacher Education. His research focuses on investigating how resistant pupils occupy space and make their voices heard in school. He has also recently been involved in research with Devon and Cornwall Police investigating practices to reduce youth reoffending. Thomas previously worked as a mathematics teacher and Head of Department in several comprehensive state schools in London and Dorset.