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Sherford Vale School and Nursery

Sherford ValeSchool and Nursery

Sherford ValeSchool and Nursery


Here you will find all the information about the Local Governing Board and what we do.   

We report directly to the Trustees of the Westcountry Schools Trust. Our main purpose is to support and challenge the school through our involvement. We act as a 'critical friend' to the school, providing challenge as appropriate, to ensure that our school achieves its maximum potential, and every child has an opportunity to achieve theirs.

The Local Governors Board works in close partnership with senior management and staff. Although each member brings their own insight and expertise to the challenges of school governance, we are all committed to, and love working with, Sherford Vale School and Nursery.

What Do Governors Do?

Governors work as a team. They are responsible for making sure the setting 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 agreeing aims and policies. They do this together with the head, who is responsible for the day to day management of the school. 
Governors are selected from a range of backgrounds including Finance, Education, legal and other businesses. 

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.

Our local board of governors consists of:

  • Headteacher
  • 1 x local Staff Governor
  • 3 x Co-opted Governors
  • 1 x local Parent Governor

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. 

The Governing Body:

  • is accountable for the performance of the school to parents and the wider community
  • plans the school's future direction
  • 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.

Our Governors are listed below;

To contact the governors please email:

Liam Cottrell Chair of Governors

Term: 13th July 2021-13th July 2025

ATTENDANCE: SEPT 2021-March 2022 5/5

Responsibilities: Safeguarding, Pupil Premium, Sports Premium, Leadership and Management, Education Standards, Audit

Registered Interests: some commissioned services with schools and on occasion with WeST within his role regarding water safety.

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


Term: Member of governing body by virtue of position in school.
Attendance: SEPT 2021-March 2022 5/5
Registered Interests: N/A

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

 Tom Brassil

Initially appointed 7th November 2017 (before school opened), re appointed 2020, reappointed March 2022 

TERM; 7.3.2022 - 7/3/2026
Attendance:  SEPT 2021-March 2022 5/5
Responsibilities: Looked After Children, SEND
Registered Interests:  Children attend the school, Local Reverend

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 initial appointment - 7th November 2017

Appointed by - Trust Board


 Craig Moore-Vice Chair of Governors, 


Initially appointed 15th March 2016 (before school opened), re appointed 2020, reappointed March 2022 

Term 2: 7/3/2022-7/3/2026

Attendance:   SEPT 2021-March 2022 4/5
Responsibilities: Finance
Registered Interests:  Solicitor at Womble Bond Dickinson

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 initial appointment - 15th March 2016 

Appointed by - Trust Board

Business interests - None

Leah Phillips

Term: 23/6/2021-23/6/2025
Attendance:   SEPT 2021 - March 2022 4/5
Responsibilities: Education
Registered Interests:  Mum is a staff member at the school.

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


Initially appointed March 2016 (before school opened), re appointed 2020, reappointed March 2022 

Term : 7/3/2022 - 7/3/2026
Attendance:  SEPT 2021-March 2022 4/5
Responsibilities: Community
Registered Interests:  Grand child attends the school.

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.


 Emma Barrett  - Clerk to Governors 

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