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Sherford Vale School

Sherford ValeSchool

Sherford ValeSchool


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 Cath Farrin - Chair of Governors


Cath has been involved in school governance for over 10 years with experience of being Chair at both a primary and a secondary school.

Cath has been a police officer with Devon and Cornwall police since 1991 and has lived in the South Hams and worked in Plymouth since 2006.  She is currently the Chief Inspector with responsibility for local policing and partnership working in Plymouth.

Cath maintains her up to date knowledge with professional curiosity and as she lives in the area she maintains good connections with the local communities.


Date of Appointment - 15th March 2016 (4 years)

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests - None

 Helen Tipping - Headteacher


Helen is Headteacher of Sherford Vale School and Executive Primary Principal for the Westcountry Schools Trust.  Helen was previously Headteacher of Stowford School for 11 years, following headship in Sussex. Helen is passionate about school improvement and has supported, and continues to support, other schools in their journey to success.  She believes in the value of high quality early years provision and the importance of primary education in securing confident, creative learners.

Helen is Headteacher of Sherford Vale School which opened in 2018.


Date of appointment - 15th March 2016 

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests -

 Tom Brassil


My name is Tom and I’m 34. I am married to Meg and we have three young children, and we live in Elburton, very close to Sherford. I was recently appointed as the Church of England Minister for Sherford, responsible for providing spiritual and pastoral care to the residents of Sherford, as well as setting up a new Church of England church there in due course. I know the area well, having served my curacy in Elburton after I was ordained in September 2014.

My family and I love Plymouth and the surrounding areas very much, and in our spare time we enjoy exploring the South Devon coastline and Dartmoor. I’m also a keen musician, enjoying playing and listening to a variety of styles of music.

I have a long-standing interest in education, having worked prior to ordination as a children’s worker responsible for primary school relations in the Minster Church of St. Andrew, Plymouth. Part of this role included regular assemblies in three local primary schools, as well as welcoming school groups to the church as part of their Religious Education syllabus. I also have a keen interest in seeing the new community of Sherford grow and flourish, and I believe that Sherford Vale School will be a key factor in uniting and growing the community. I am delighted and privileged to serve on the school’s local governing board.


Date of appointment - 7th November 2017 (4 years)

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests - None





Date of appointment -  (4 years)

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests - None


 Craig Moore

Craig  is a member of the local governing board for Sherford Vale School. Craig is a Partner and Head of the Plymouth Office with Bond Dickinson (a top 40 National Law Firm).  He grew up in the City and returned following higher education in Hull and York.  He is a member of the Plymouth Area Business Council, and sits on the Regional Panel for the Bank of England.  His professional areas of expertise include Real Estate, Finance, and Business matters. He acts as Client Partner for a number of the Region's leading businesses. 

In his spare time Craig enjoys kayaking, snorkelling, walking, the theatre and skiing.


Date of appointment - 15th March 2016 (4 years)

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests - None


 Amy Pearce

Amy  is a Yealmpton resident and mother of two girls aged 4 and 6.  Amy has been a Sherford Vale Governor from the start of the process and has a keen interest to support the positive growth of the Multi-Academy Trust in order to provide an outstanding education for all children in the area.  Amy’s background is in languages and education; she has a degree in German and Italian with Business Studies; a Post Graduate in Education and a PG Diploma in Education.  Amy is  Assistant Principal at Ivybridge Community College and provides challenge and support to the Executive Primary Principal in order to deliver an outstanding provision from the day Sherford Vale’s doors open.


Date of appointment - 15th March 2016 (4 years)

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests - none

 Pat Skinner

As a resident of Sherford I am very interested in the growth and progress of Sherford Vale School and enjoy volunteering as a Governor.

I have been most impressed by the School ethos and would like to contribute in any way I can.

I am currently a Governor at Pomphlett Primary School after joining the Team in 2013.

I served on the Curriculum based sub- committee for 3 years but recently this has combined with the Financial committee to discuss all aspects relating to School at full Governor Meetings.  I attend all of these meetings as well as relevant courses.

Finally, before retirement I had a career with HMRC as a Technician/Manager for 30 years, during which time I also attended School to deliver Taxes information and helped in class with hearing children read.


Date of appointment - 20th February 2018 (1 year)

Appointed by - Local Governing Board

Business interests -

Rory Wakeling

Rory lives in Ivybridge and has been a Sherford Vale Governor since the outset of the process.  This is his first experience as a School Governor.  Rory grew up in the area after relocating from Portsmouth and is proud to say he went to Ivybridge Community College from year 7 through to year 13.   Rory has a passion for the region and is an Associate Solicitor in a reputable Devon based law firm where he specialises in employment law.

Date of appointment - 15th March 2016 (4 years)

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests - None

 Sandra Billinghay - Clerk to Governors 

Sandra is the clerk to Woodlands Park Primary School,  ​​​Sherford Vale School and the Trust Board.

Sandra originally trained as a secretary, but then developed her career in finance, working in both the public and private sectors. She has over ten years' experience as clerk to school local governing boards.

Sandra brings all her organisational, governance and secretarial experience to the role, and is committed to supporting the smooth and ordered running of the Trust.

 Sean Bruce


Sean is a member of Sherford Vale Local Local Governing Board.

Sean has over 14 years’ experience as a school governor providing a “business orientated” perspective to the leadership and management of schools.  


He is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and is currently the Managing Director of his own company which specialises in Acoustics Consultancy.  Previous employment includes professional engineering roles at Devonport Royal Dockyard and Wrigley’s, both in Plymouth.


He is an engineer and is good with numbers with the ability to analyse complex data.


He moved with his wife from Plymouth to Ivybridge in 1998 and has three daughters, all of which have attended Woodlands Park Primary School and Ivybridge Community College (2 still attend!), with the eldest at University.  He is passionate about providing the youth of today with every opportunity to achieve their full potential.



Date of appointment  - 15th March 2016 (4 years)

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business Interests - Director of S B Consulting (Engineering & Acoustics ) Ltd, Local contractor including Sherford, Wife is director of Little Orchard Montessori Nurseries Ltd

Daniel Broome

Dan is a member of Sherford Vale Local Governing Board.  Sherford Vale has become somewhat of a 'family affair' for Dan.  With his 3 daughters attending the school and his wife Nicky in a Meal Time Assistants role, it has become a big part of his families life.  Originally from Newton Ferrers, he now lives in Sherford and has a keen interest in the development of the school and surrounding community.

His involvement with the school started prior to the arrival of the first children, by organising a team of Royal Navy sailors to come and assist in the final preparations for opening.  This naval connection has continued with periodic visits by naval staff to conduct exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) workshops.

With over 20 years experience as a Weapons Electronic Engineer, Dan has had a varied career ranging from the Arctic Circle to the South Atlantic.  He is currently in a training role, teaching the next generation of Royal Navy platforms as well as a number of international navies to prepare for future tasking.

A keen footballer and cyclist, Dan aims to spend the next 3 years whilst based in UK waters concentrating on his family and their new start in a new community and a fantastic new school.

Date of appointment: 15/03/19 (4 years)

Appointed by: Trust Board

Business/Pecuniary Interests: Wife is meal time assistant at Sherford Vale School