Skip to content ↓
Sherford Vale School

Sherford ValeSchool

Sherford ValeSchool


What types of Governors are there?

Depending on the category of the school, the governing body will be made up of different numbers and categories of governors. The term of office for each type of Governor is 4 years.

These are the types of Governor:

  • Parent governors - appointment from parents and carers of children at the school following a selection and interview process.
  • Staff governors - selected by election from teaching and support staff paid to work at the school.
  • Co-opted governors - co-opted by Local Governing Board subject to approval of the Trustees.
  • Community governors - appointment subject to approval by Trustees.

What are School Governors?

School Governors are people from the school’s community who wish to make a positive contribution to children’s education.  They must be aged 18 or over at the date of their election or appointment, and there is no upper age limit. 
Governors are the largest volunteer force in the county and have an important part to play in raising school standards through their three key roles of setting strategic direction, ensuring accountability and monitoring and evaluating school performance. 

What Do Governors Do?

Governors work as a team. They are responsible for making sure the school provides a good quality education, as raising educational standards in school is now a key priority. This has the best chance of happening when there are high expectations of what pupils can achieve.

Governors also promote effective ways of teaching and learning when setting the school aims and policies. They do this together with the head, who is responsible for the day to day management of the school. Heads are chosen by governors - and most heads choose to be governors themselves.
They may also include representatives from the church, charitable trust or business interests.

Numbers vary depending on the school's type or size, and appointments are for four years.

The Governing Body:

  • is accountable for the performance of the school to parents and the wider community
  • plans the school's future direction
  • selects the Headteacher
  • makes sure the national curriculum is taught
  • decides how the school can encourage pupil's spiritual, moral and social development
  • makes sure the school provides for all its pupils, including those with special needs.

Governors are at the heart of how a school operates. It is important they get things right. How they do their job affects the interests of pupils, staff morale and how the school is seen by parents and others in the community.

Governors are listed below

To contact the governors please email:

Liam Cottrell Chair of Governors, Safeguarding Lead

Liam has been involved in school governance for 10 years, has previous experience as a Chair of Governors, and has represented primary schools as a member of the Devon Education Forum. He is a strong believer in “excellence for all” and has a particular interest in working with children from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Liam has worked as a water hygiene specialist for the past 25 years for various government agencies. His hobbies include football, photography, and love for the outdoors.

  Susie Evans- Headteacher


Susie is the Headteacher of Sherford Vale School which is part of the Westcountry Schools Trust.  She 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.

Date of appointment - October 2020

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests -

 Tom Brassil-SEND Governor


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


 Craig Moore-Vice Chair of Governors, Finance Governor

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

Leah Phillips

My name is Leah, I am 36 and have been living in Sherford, with my wife for 3 years. Having grown up in Plympton, with family also in Plymstock I know the surrounding areas and demographic well and I especially enjoy living in a part of the country that other people choose to holiday in.


I have always been interesting in helping people and after my undergraduate degree I began working in further education. I spent 7yeas working with disabled students at the University of Plymouth. I then went on to complete a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics followed by a further 7years teaching Mathematics and Physics in secondary schools across Devon and Cornwall. After being inspired by the students I taught, I decided to return to the core of my degree and have in recent years begun working in the engineering industry.


Outside, of work I enjoy exploring all that Devon and Cornwall has to offer, with our two dogs. We enjoy walks around Dartmoor and the Plym Valley, sea swimming, paddle boarding and community activities. I have also been actively involved in youth sports, particularly coaching/managing youth football teams as well as spending more than 10yrs refereeing both youth and adult football locally.


I am excited to become a part of the team at Sherford Vale and begin contributing to the continued progression and growth within the school and wider community.

Pat Skinner-Pupil Premium Governor

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

Appointed by - Local Governing Board

Business interests - none

Roger Fillingham

My name is Roger and I was co-opted onto the Board of Governors in early summer 2021. I live near Ivybridge with my wife Helen, having moved to South Hams after many years living and working in London – though we’re both from the North originally – me from Lancashire and Helen from Yorkshire. I have 2 adult children and 4 grandchildren, all of whom are in education from nursery through to secondary.

I spent my career in financial services, latterly in risk management. Much of what I did was overseen by a regulator in the same way that Ofsted regulates services that care for children and young people. I hope therefore that I can bring along some of my transferable skills to the benefit of the pupils and school.

I really enjoyed my education and feel privileged to have done so. I want every child to have the same experience and hope that I can in some way help to achieve this

 Emma Barrett  - Clerk to Governors 

Emma is the Clerk to ​​​Sherford Vale School and works in the main office as a Senior Administrator. Emma has previous experience of the Clerk to Governors role in her previous school.