Board of Trustees
As an Academy the King's School Trustees are both Charity Trustees and Company Directors. They exercise a strategic role in the running of the school and decide on what they want the school to achieve and agree a framework for getting there. This means:
- setting suitable aims and objectives
- agreeing policies, targets and priorities
- monitoring and reviewing aims, objectives, and whether the policies, targets and priorities are being achieved.
The School Development Plan along with agreed policies generally provides the strategic framework. The Board of Trustees monitors and evaluates progress in the school towards achievement of the aims and objectives set, and regularly reviews the strategic framework for the school in the light of that progress. A summary of the schools achievements, outcomes and finances is contained within the Annual Report and Accounts which is published in December each year.
The "Members" of the Academy Trust as defined in the Trust's Articles of association are:
- The Chair of Trustees
- Robin Mitchell
- Lester Bowker
- Chris Dyson
The Trustees are currently:
Mrs Sarah Brassington - Parent Trustee (Term Ends 17/01/2028) - Link Department: MFL
I grew up locally in Beer and studied Natural Sciences at University, specialising in geology, before joining the Met Office as a trainee weather forecaster in 2002. My career as an Operational Meteorologist has taken me all over the UK, to the Falkland Islands and Cyprus (before returning to Devon), and has included roles in training and development, service management and project delivery in a range of industry areas – from civil and military aviation to media. As a qualified workplace assessor, I need a keen eye for detail when assessing aviation meteorologists against stringent industry standards. I have also volunteered as a Met Office STEM ambassador since 2010, taking part in school visits, demonstrations, interviews and careers events, encouraging young people to get involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
As a Parent Trustee, I am looking forward to learning more, (occasionally) asking difficult questions and challenging the school to meet its goals, both now and in the future.
Register of Interests: None
Mrs Sue Cade - Appointed Trustee (Term Ends 13/12/2026) - Link Department: English
I was appointed a Trustee in 2014 when two of my children were students at The Kings School. They have long since left, but I stayed on, keen to continue supporting the school. I am thoroughly behind the overarching commitment of achievement for all. I believe every student should have the opportunity to excel whether this is in academic or extracurricular activities, and The King’s School provides the framework for them to succeed.
I have a degree in Television and Theatre Studies, and have always worked in the communications sector. As a Public Relations Consultant I work with clients in the South West and London, helping their businesses to grow successfully. I have a particular interest in English as a subject and am privileged to be the link Trustee for this hard working, high attaining department.
Register of Interests: None
Mrs Liz Charles - Appointed Trustee (Term Ends 28/10/2024) - Link Department: Science
I first became a Trustee as a parent in the 90’s and it has been a privilege to support the school through vast progress and change. Having started a career teaching in Secondary Education, since time out I have taught fitness classes to adults and been involved in various local organisations on a voluntary basis. I was Vice Chair of the governing board for 10 yrs. I am particularly interested in Science Education and value my role as link Trustee to this DepartmentRegister of Interests: None
Mr Steve Ellison (Chair) - Appointed Trustee (Term Ends 29/10/2023) - Link Department: Physical Education
I have been a parent governor at The King’s School since 2004 and chair of the Governing Board since Oct 2018. My three boys attended the school through to sixth form. They benefited in their own way from what King’s has to offer - academically, in sport and in their personal development. I have a passion for comprehensive education and believe that trustees hold a key role to support and challenge the school to be as good as it possibly can be for all the secondary aged people in our community.
I have been a geologist, secondary school teacher, Army officer specialising in education and training and a company director. I now run a family management consultancy partnership - working with clients across the UK and in the Middle East.
In my spare time, I like to play, coach and umpire hockey and am currently the Chair of Sidmouth & Ottery Hockey Club. I am a trustee of a charity providing education and training for soldiers in the Royal Regiment of Artillery and the wider Defence community.
Register of Interests: a partner in the family’s consultancy business – Ellison Consulting, a Trustee at the Royal Artillery Centre for Personal Development and Exercise to Music and Pilates instructor (family member), Director of Sheldrake Training Limited
Ms Annie Filmer-Bennett - Staff Trustee (Term Ends 12/07/2027)
I have taught English at The King's School since 2020. Since completing my English Literature & Philosophy degree at the University of Exeter, I completed my PGCE and studied Creative Writing at Oxford University. I am also the co-leader of the Pride@King's, Diversity@King's and Arvon and beyond Creative Writing clubs. I work as the school's union representative and am passionate about promoting inclusivity, diversity and wellbeing within our community.
It was an honour to be elected as a staff trustee for The King's School and to join a board of experienced and passionate people who strive for excellence.
Register of Interests: Exeter Pride
Mrs Tara Greifenberg - Parent Trustee (Term Ends 28/01/2026) - Link Department: School Parliament / Expressive Arts
I have three children at The Kings School. One in year 10 and twins in year 8. They are now the 5th generation of our family to attend the school, so I was delighted to be elected to serve as a parent trustee. I’m a link trustee for the Expressive Arts and School Parliament.
After college I was appointed Youth Outreach Worker for Ottery. I moved to London and studied for a media foundation at The London College of Printing and a degree in Television Broadcast at The University of Westminster. I’ve had a career in television, photography and the creative arts. Since moving back to East Devon, I now work in multi-media production, brand development and am part of the team for The Sidmouth School of Art and Coastal Community Hub. Part of what we do is facilitate opportunities for young people in art & music via community art projects and on stage at The Sidmouth Sea Fest.
As a parent trustee I'm excited to be able to offer my perspective and experience to the role.Register of Interests: None
Mr Rupert Hill - Parent Trustee (Term Ends 19/11/2024) - Link Department: Mathematics
My son Jonathan started in Year 7 at Kings in September. My family returned to the south-west in 2018 after 15 years in London - my wife is from Woodbury and I graduated from Exeter University before working locally for a decade. I began my career at global information and news company Reuters, where I spent 16 years managing international data and technology projects. Subsequently, I worked as a consultant specialising in business change and improvement, then most recently as Strategy Manager for a financial planning firm in Exeter. Previous voluntary positions held include Vice-Chairman of the Patient Participation Group at my local surgery and building a change management special interest group for the Project Management Association.
I’m excited about the prospect of applying my experience to help Kings improve on its already high standards. Academically, my main interests lie in Maths, Sciences, IT and History and as a Trustee I will focus on ensuring outstanding teaching and facilities continue to be provided for these subjects. My true passion, however, is in preparing students for the workplace. I hope to apply my extensive experience of recruitment to enhance the school’s ability to help students make informed tertiary education and career choices through a network of coaching and support, including building key skills such as presenting and interview technique. As a Trustee, I will provide a link between the school and parents to enable Kings’ students to make the best of their talents not just academically, but far beyond.
Register of Interests: None
Mrs Charlotte Hollingshead - Co-Opted Trustee (Term Ends 11/07/2023) - Link Department: RPE
I have two children at The King’s School; a son in Year 10 and a daughter in Year 8. I joined the school as a Parent Trustee in October 2015. Previously, I was a Foundation Governor at Sidmouth Primary for six years. Outside of school, my business is involved in magazine publishing where I specialise in print and online advertising sales for national organisations. Always on the lookout for good local sales people, in 2013, I launched a local jobs website to help the young people of East Devon find their first part time jobs and since then we’ve grown to be able to help other local organisations, including The King’s School, find staff.Register of Interests: Publishing Matters, Hours4Work, Schools Insight, C&C Properties (SW) Ltd
Lady Lucy Kennaway - Appointed Trustee (Term Ends 13/12/2026) - Link Department: Careers, Safeguarding and Health and Safety
A long time ago I was a pupil at the school and more recently my 2 daughters also had a very positive and happy education at The King’s School. I run the business side of Escot Estate along with my husband; this is a multi-facetted rural business which includes a wedding, conference, events and activities venue, and forest schools and outdoor education facilities.
I serve on the resources committee and am the link governor for Geography.
I believe the best type of education is a broad, inclusive and exciting one which helps students to become happy confident and successful adults in whatever they choose to do.
Register of Interests: Escot Estate, MC2, SmartKlub Ltd.
Mr John Lavender - Appointed Trustee (Term Ends 05/02/2025) - Link Department: Design and Technology, Health and Safety
My association with the school dates back to 1976 when I joined the teaching staff. In a thirty one year career within the school, until my retirement in 2007, I held a number of posts including Head of Mathematics, Senior Teacher and Assistant Headteacher.
Experience of school governance was gained by spending eight years on the governing body at Ottery Primary school. I joined The King’s School governing body in 2009 and currently a member of the resources committee as well as being the link trustee for Design and Technology. I am also treasurer of the Foundation and Jubilee Trust.
Register of Interests: Kilmington Playing Fields Committee (Trustee)
Mr Tim Penberthy - Staff Trustee (Term Ends 13/12/2025)
I've been the Head Science Technician at the King's School since 2012. Since completing my Environmental Protection degree at Bournemouth University I started to work for the Environment Agency. From here I moved to working at the King's School as I felt passionate about sharing my enthusiasm for science with students. I took a sabbatical from my work for a year when I travelled around the world with my now wife and spent time in India, South East Asia, New Zealand, and Mexico.
I feel very lucky to have been able to continue to work at such a great school and feel very proud to be the Head Science Technician in such a good school. The Science team continuously works hard to inspire students to achieve their best in science, following the School's motto “Achievement for All”.
It was a privilege to be elected as a staff trustee and to join such an experienced, dynamic and enthusiastic Board of Trustees who all want the best for The King's.
Register of Interests: None
Mr Ben Rowland - Parent Trustee (Term Ends 15/12/2026) - Link Department: ViBE
I currently have two children at The King’s School, one each in Y10 and Y11. I also have another child in Y5 at Ottery Primary. I work for EDF Energy running a team who provide business analysis for the IT systems & processes required on the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. I also have a strong finance background having worked for Lloyds Banking Group for 16 years before my current role. I believe that trustees hold a key role in supporting and challenging the school to be as good as it possibly can be for the all young people in our community.
I also volunteer as a Cub Scout leader here in Ottery and as a youth rugby coach at Sidmouth RFC.
Register of Interests: None
Ms Lisa Tomkins - Parent Trustee (Term Ends 15/12/2026) - Link Department: Pastoral
My son started at Kings in 2021 and thoroughly enjoys his time at school. I have been impressed with how nurturing Kings has been and am very happy to have this opportunity to offer my support to the school as a Trustee.
I have worked in the education field for the past 30 years, within the public, private and voluntary sectors. Currently I am Education Outreach Partner for the Met Office, directly prior to which I worked as Operational Hub Lead for the Heart of the Southwest Careers Hub. For the last few years my work has focused largely on evidence-based impact in education. As part of this, I work closely with school teachers, careers leaders, students and senior leadership to determine the support they require and help develop provision to meet this need. To this end, in 2022, I took on the voluntary role of Enterprise Adviser for The King’s School, supporting Fiona Hogan in her work as Careers Coordinator to best prepare all students for their career pathways. From 2011-2016 I was first governor and then elected Chair of governors at South Devon College, and more recently I held the position of parent governor at Ottery St Mary Primary School, from 2019-2021.
As a Parent Trustee at Kings, I am particularly keen to help provide fair access to opportunities for all young people, raising aspirations and improving life chances, while ensuring necessary support is provided for those young people experiencing additional challenges.
Register of Interests: None
Miss Nikki Wilkes - Staff Trustee (Term Ends 21/10/2024) - Link Department: n/a
I have taught English and Drama at The King's School since 2017 and I am currently the Head of Expressive Arts. Since completing my Drama degree at the University of Exeter, I completed my part-time MA in Education specialising in Language and Literacy whilst teaching here at King's. Having been previously responsible for mentoring trainee English teachers here at King's, I care deeply about high quality teacher training. As Head of Expressive Arts, I have also directed, vocal-coached, and collaboratively choreographed the King's school's recent production of 'The Addams Family'. As an alumna of the National Youth Theatre, I am a keen performer, taking part in many local operettas and musicals.
It is a pleasure to be a staff trustee for The King's School, who continue to demonstrate the validity and importance of teaching staff presence on school governing bodies.
Register of Interests: Sing Inside
Mrs Helena Wilson - Parent Trustee (Term Ends 15/12/2026) - Link Department: SEN
The King’s School has a visibly positive ethos, warm relations between staff and students and a breadth of opportunities that gives students freedom to thrive; I am seeing this through my three daughters fortunate enough to be here. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to support the school in nurturing happy and successful young people. My background -working in the NHS for 25 years- has equipped me with experience and skills that I hope I can put to good use in my role as a Parent Trustee.
I have been an ENT/Thyroid Consultant Surgeon since 2011. For several years I was Departmental Lead, a managerial role in my Trust, alongside clinical duties. I teach undergraduates and have been an examiner and interviewer for Exeter Medical School. In addition, I train postgraduates and have held the post of Chair of the South West Higher Surgical Training Committee for my specialty. During my career I also undertook a higher degree through a period of original research, as a Wellcome Fellow, at the University of Oxford.
Register of Interests: Director of Exeter Plastic Surgery Ltd and Trustee of the South West Laryngological Association
Mr Rob Gammon - Headteacher (Term Ends n/a)
After growing up in London, I studied Physical Education, Sports Science and Physics at Loughborough University. I had the privilege of undertaking my teacher training at Loughborough before starting my teaching career in Louth, Lincolnshire. In 2006 I moved to The King’s School as Deputy Headteacher responsible for the specialist sports college status. After 7 years at King’s I was appointed as Headteacher at Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater. During my time as Headteacher the school saw significant improvement and was successful in securing a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted in 2015. I am now delighted to be the Headteacher of The King's School having been appointed to the post in September 2016.
It is a privilege to lead one of the most successful schools in the South West. The King's School’s ‘achievement for all’ ethos captures my own personal commitment to comprehensive education. I have a deep desire to see students achieve academically and personally and much of what we offer at the school is focused on supporting young people to become thoughtful, compassionate and resilient members of the community with the skills necessary to make a difference. I live in the school’s catchment area and my 3 children have all benefitted from the high quality education that this learning community of primary and secondary schools provides. I am a keen sports person and enjoy the challenge of running, swimming and cycling, occasionally putting all 3 together and competing in triathlons! I also love the outdoors and enjoy surfing and walking with my family and friends.
Register of Interests: None
Mr Rob Tait - Company Secretary / Clerk (Term Ends n/a)
I joined The King’s School in 2023 having previously worked in several large organisations, including Exeter University, Debenhams, and South West Water.
After studying Accounting & Finance at University I was desperate to see the world so I travelled and worked for a couple of years living in Italy, Australia and New Zealand. To make ends meet I taught English as Foreign Language. I enjoyed this role and experience so much that I decided to set up an English Language School which I ran for 6 years with my wife before reverting back to my accounting education and becoming a fully qualified Chartered Certified Accountant.
The education sector, in one form or another, has often been present in my career as I have always been passionate about learning and sharing knowledge wherever I have worked.
I feel privileged to be working at one of the best schools in the South West and my ambition and challenge within this role is to positively influence the outcomes of the pupils whilst working in a ‘back-office’ function. However, I am positive, with the fantastic team around me, that this is absolutely possible!
I am married and have 3 children, each with their own unique personality and abilities, keeping me busy outside of work.
Register of Interests: None