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St Peter's Brafferton Church of England VA Primary School

Aspiring, believing and achieving together

Meet the Governing Body

Shirley Sowray, Chair of Governors and Communications Governor

Shirley Sowray, Chair of Governors and Communications Governor 1

 Date Appointed 2012

After working as an Intensive Care Sick Children’s Nurse for 11 years, I then went on to complete 2 degrees in Midwifery and Health Visiting in 1999 and 2001 and practiced as a Health Visitor for 9 years, before giving up work to look after my children in 2009. I joined the Governing Body in 2012.

As Chair of Governors at St Peters School Brafferton, I work in close partnership with the Headteacher, to promote and improve high standards of educational achievement. I also lead a highly motivated team of governors, who are strongly committed to the school. I facilitate the Governing Body to work effectively, within a corporate culture to have a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction, in order to drive school improvement.
Another one of my roles as Chair of Governors, along with the team, is to ensure financial credibility of the school and to play a pivotal role, along side the Headteacher in supporting, monitoring and evaluating pupil progress and the overall performance of the school. Our shared aim at St Peter’s is to ensure that every child at our school receives the best possible education.

I feel passionately about our fantastic village school and I am very proud of our achievements and values and most of all, of our children. I feel honoured to be part of such a motivated and committed team of governors and teachers here at St Peters and I look forward to continuing with the excellent progress made in recent years to make this a truly outstanding school!
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Laura Wise (Foundation Governor), Vice-chair Link Governor for Maths.

Laura Wise (Foundation Governor), Vice-chair Link Governor for Maths. 1

Date of Appointment 2014

I moved to Helperby in the summer of 2013 with my husband Miles after several years working together in Antarctica.  Keen to contribute to the community and use my experience as a maths teacher, I became a school governor a year later.  We have 2 young children, both of whom attend St Peter’s and I am working as a maths teacher at King James’ school in Knaresborough. I also work privately, tutoring children who require extra maths support up to GCSE level.  I have recently been elected as co-vice-chair of the governing body and as part of this I am working closely with the chair and the head teacher to ensure our key leadership objectives are being met. I am also the link governor for Maths and am working with staff to develop the maths action plan and raise standards in maths throughout the school.  St Peter’s is a wonderful, warm and inclusive school and I feel so lucky to be able to contribute to its continuing success.

Virginia Arrowsmith, Associate Governor, Link Governor for English/Literacy.

Virginia Arrowsmith, Associate Governor,  Link Governor for English/Literacy. 1

Date of appointment 2015

 I joined the Board of Governors as a parent governor in 2015. I live in Helperby with my husband with two children, the youngest of whom is in Year 4 at St Peter’s. We’ve lived here for eight years and enjoy playing an active part in village life. We really value the school and sense of community it provides and for me, serving as a school governor is an exciting opportunity to make a positive contribution to the school, sharing both my perspectives as a parent and my professional experience in museum and heritage education, something I am equally passionate about!

As a parent governor, I ensure that the views and opinions of parents are taken into consideration by the governing board as it makes key strategic decisions affecting the management and direction of the school. I am always interested to hear your thoughts as parents and stakeholders and to make sure that parents have a voice at a strategic level, so do please get in touch if there’s an issue you would like to raise or discuss.

As Link Governor for English and literacy across the school, I work with the headteacher and the staff to ensure we are maintaining and strengthening the high standards of literacy and English that the school achieves, inspiring children to enjoy reading and writing as well as reaching their potential.

As Co-Vice Chair, I will be working closely with my Co-Vice Chair, Laura Wise, to support our Chair of Governors and Headteacher in leading the school as we deliver the key objectives of stabilisation and standard setting, safeguarding and sustainability, over the next three years. It’s an exciting time for St Peter’s and I look forward to supporting the school on its journey hereforward.'


Sarah Anderson, Staff Governor

Sarah Anderson, Staff Governor 1

Link Governor for PSHCE AND PE. Date Appointed February 2019

I have been the Upper Key Stage 2 teacher (currently teaching Years 5 and 6) at St Peter’s CE VA Primary school since September 2014. I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Mathematics Education and I use this to lead Maths across the school. I also help look after school if Mrs Williams is out of school. My teaching career has included working with children from Years 2 to 6, in both village and town schools across North Yorkshire.  I live in Ripon with my family, including my little girls, Pippa and Jessica. I enjoy every minute of this friendly and exciting school and I feel fortunate to work with such lovely children, staff, parents and governors.

Tom Spilman (Local Authority Governor), Link Governor for Pupil Premium and Sports Premium.

Tom Spilman (Local Authority Governor), Link Governor for Pupil Premium and Sports Premium. 1

Date Appointed 2015

I have lived in Helperby all my life and am very pleased to be on the School Governors.

I studied Biology at Bristol University. I then did a Short Service Commission in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. I now work on the family farm, which is based in the village. I also have an interest in renewable energy; I sell anaerobic digestion plants for a German company in the UK. I enjoy playing cricket for Helperby. My other interests are rugby, skiing and farmland wildlife.


Pete Hambling, Science Link Gov and Finance Focus.

Pete Hambling, Science Link Gov and Finance Focus. 1

Appointed September 2017

I have lived in Helperby for 12 years now and have been an active member of the community including being past Treasurer of the village hall and enjoy playing cricket for the village in the summer! I'm a qualified accountant as well as having a real interest in rural affairs.

I'm married to Charlotte and we have two boys who are both attending St. Peter's, so I'm very happy to be joining the school of Governors to help make a positive contribution. It's been a period of recent change at school but I believe that presents lots of new opportunities and positivity. I'm very passionate about the value and role of the school in the community.

I will be the Science link governor and I'm looking forward to supporting the staff to ensure science continues to be an interactive and exciting subject!






Tim Shearman. Safeguarding and Health and Safety Link Governor
Picture 1

Date Appointed April 2018


Myself and my partner moved to Helperby in 2015 from York, attracted by the strong sense of community we were aware was present in the village. We made a conscious decision to get involved in village life, and as such I am pleased to be part of the Governing body of St Peters, which I feel helps form a big part of the character of the village as a whole.


We have two children who are at St Peters, our younger son attending and loving the new Helperbees Preschool provision.


I am a qualified Veterinary Surgeon, now working in the senior management of a national veterinary company. I also have experience of oversight of regulatory requirements within the sector I work in, including Health & Safety. As I have been allocated a link Governor role of Safeguarding and Health and Safety, I feel my past and present experience will enable me to contribute positively to the Strategic direction of the school.



Martine Laux (Foundation Governor)

Link Governor for SEND.

Picture 1
Appointed September 2018

My husband and I retired to Helperby in April 2017 after living in Shropshire for fifty years. We both love living in North Yorkshire and being involved in village life and want to contribute to the community where we have the skills to do so. We have a daughter and son and became grandparents last year.


For thirty years I worked in two West Midlands Local Authorities in a number of roles within the Education Department. I have a post graduate Diploma in Management Studies. For twenty of those years I worked in Children’s Services, Special Educational Needs, initially as a Business Manager and latterly as an Education Officer. This role gave me the opportunity to travel to schools and work closely with parents, school staff and multi-agency professionals to ensure that those young people with special educational needs had their additional learning needs met appropriately. I also served as the LA clerk to three primary school governing bodies and spent many years as a parent governor and then co-opted governor of a secondary school.


Education has been a passion and major part of my life and I hope I can bring my experience, energy and commitment to the governing to help the children in St Peter’s to develop academically, socially and emotionally in a happy and safe environment.   


Claire Dwyer, Parent Governor and link Governor for the Early Years Foundations Stage

Claire Dwyer, Parent Governor and link Governor for the Early Years Foundations Stage 1

Appointed November 2018


My husband and I moved to Myton in 2004, and quickly immersed ourselves into the community. When it came to choosing a school for our eldest daughter in 2015, we knew straight away that St Peter’s was the one for her. She is now in Year 3 and having a really positive school experience. Our youngest daughter was one of the first to start at Helperbees in 2018, and she cannot wait to join the main school. 

I’ve been a teacher for almost 20 years, starting out as a Primary teacher and moving into Special Educational Needs in 2005. I worked in a local Special School, finishing as the Head of English, until January 2018, when I changed roles to become the Communication & Interaction Co-ordinator (Teacher in Charge of the EMS) at a local Secondary school. In this role I work within the school and as an outreach teacher for students with Autism and C&I needs across the Harrogate, Easingwold and Ripon areas. 

I am passionate about the education that all children receive, expecting it to be the best possible, and that is why I am delighted to be part of the Governing Body at St Peter’s. I feel that my experience, passion and personal investment in the school will help me to effectively contribute as we all take it forward into the future