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Westcountry Schools Trust

Westcountry Schools Trust

Westcountry Schools Trust


You are welcome to contact the Trustees.  Email address:

Iain Grafton

Iain Grafton (MBE) is a trustee at Ivybridge Community College and is the chair of IAT.

Iain retired as Detective Superintendent in the Police Force after thirty years. He is now the director of a company providing leadership and training services to schools and local colleges.

Iain brings an extensive experience, over seventeen years, as a governor in educational institutions, from Woodlands Park Primary School to a Member of the Board of the Devon Association of Governors. Iain brings a detailed understanding of the responsibilities of school governance.

Mike Saltern

Michael Saltern is a trustee at Ivybridge Community College and is the vice chair of IAT. Michael is also chair of the HR Committee.

Michael served as a Higher Executive Officer in the MOD and has now retired from the Civil Service. He has been a District Councillor for 18 years and held major portfolios on the Council’s Executive. Michael is currently chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel. Michael has been a director and chair within the DCH Group. He is currently an advisor to the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Michael brings a wealth of strategic leadership and governance experience from the public and private sector.

Rob Haring

Rob Haring is both a trustee and Chief Executive Officer of IAT.

Prior to holding the post of CEO Rob had formerly served 7 years as Principal of Ivybridge Community College. Highlights of this tenure were the designation in cohort 1 of Teaching School status and an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgment following inspection in 2013. Rob’s first headship had been of a successful 11-18 secondary school in Worcestershire.

Rob is committed to school improvement and seeing all children benefit from an excellent education.  It is in this vein that he works as an Educational Specialist on behalf of the Regional Schools Commissioner to support the development of academies in the southwest.

Helen Tipping

Helen Tipping is both a trustee and Executive Primary Principal for the IAT.

Helen was previously Headteacher of Stowford School for 11 years, following headship in Sussex. Helen is passionate about school improvement and has supported 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 Principal Designate of Sherford Vale School which will open in 2018.

Pam Tuckett

Pam Tuckett is a trustee and chair of the Audit Committee

Pam started her career as an accountant at a ‘Big 4” accountancy firm (Plymouth), before joining Bishop Fleming in 2001. She is a key member of the firm’s specialist team serving charities and not-for-profit organisations, many of whom are education clients (not IAT).

Pam is committed to effective and autonomous local governance. Her extensive experience in advising boards of governance matters and providing governor training ensures they are kept up to date on relevant topics.

Sean Bruce

Sean Bruce is a trustee, chair of the local governing board at Woodlands Park Primary School and a member of Sherford Vale 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.  Sean 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. As an engineer Sean is good with numbers and has the ability to analyse complex data.

Sean and his family moved to Ivybridge in 1998. His three daughters attended WPPS and ICC, and the eldest will be starting university shortly. Sean is passionate about providing the youth of today with every opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Jonathan Atkins

Jonathan Atkins is a trustee and chair of the local governing board at Stowford School.

Jonathan is an experienced industrial manager with a strong background in human resources, quality assurance and cultural change.

Jonathan has been a governor at Stowford School for twelve years, supporting the school through periods of significant change.  During most of this time he has led the committee on school improvement and remains committed to this vital subject.

Cath Farrin

Cath Farrin is a trustee and chair of the governing board for Sherford Vale School soon to be built on the new Sherford development.

Cath has been involved in school governance for over 10 years with experience of being chair at both a primary and 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 and works in the area she maintains good connections with the local communities. 

Alex Whish

Alex Whish is a trustee and chair of the local governing board at Yealmpton Primary School. 

Alex has been involved in school governance for a number of years, with a genuine passion and interest in supporting teaching and learning for all children.  He has been on the governing board at Yealmpton Primary for six years.

Alex has worked in the public sector throughout his career, with over 20 years in local government. His key specialism relates to protecting the natural environment.

Alex brings experience in working with communities and groups, supporting the needs of the children to ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes for their learning; this is realised by taking a strategic approach to maintaining strong leadership and teaching throughout the schools within the Trust.

Kate Milton

Kate Milton is a trustee and chair of the local governing board at Callington Community College.

Kate is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and has had a long career in human resources, equality and human rights across both public and private sectors.  She is currently a senior manager with NHS England’s national team, working on staff experience and whistleblowing. Kate wants to use her HR experience to support the College through the change process. 

Kate has lived in Cornwall since 1994 and her children attended Callington Community College.

Sandra Billinghay

Sandra Billinghay is the clerk to 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.


Guidance on the roles and duties of governing boards, and advice on the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to be effective can be found below in the Governance Handbook.

These guides are for:

  • governing bodies in local-authority-maintained schools
  • boards of trustees in academies
  • others involved in school governance, such as sponsors, foundations and dioceses
  • organisations that help governing boards be more effective, such as governance training providers

The ‘Governance handbook’ explains:

  • governing boards’ roles and functions
  • their legal duties
  • where they can find support
  • the main features of effective governance

The ‘Competency framework for governance’ sets out the skills, knowledge and behaviours that school and academy governing boards need to be effective.