Trustees & Governors

Trustees

Dame Angela Pedder OBE

Chair of Trustees

Dame Angela Pedder OBE has joined the Academy’s Governing Body after retiring from full time work following nearly 20 years as Chief Executive of the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and over 40 years in the NHS.

She has significant experience of acute, community, mental health and learning disability service provision plus health and local authority commissioning and has worked at a national and regional level in many senior advisory roles. Amongst many other roles she was a founding member of the board and Vice Chair of the South West Peninsula Academic Health Science Network.

The valuable skills Angela brings to the Governing Body include strategic leadership, partnership and system working, complex change management, engagement and consultation, corporate and clinical governance and operational performance improvement.

As an experienced mentor and coach Angela has an interest in supporting newly appointed chief executives and those in particularly challenging roles. She is supporting the Executive Senior Leadership Team in this capacity.

Tony Alexander

Trustee and Chair of the Governing Body

Tony is a graduate of Birmingham University where he studied English Literature.

He was a teacher for 48 years; 26 of these as a headmaster at three schools; two of which were inner city. Each of the schools required considerable improvement to their reputation; management and leadership; pupil achievement and financial stability. This gave Tony a valuable insight into the practical issues involved in improving school performance.

Rhodri Davey

Trustee

Rhodri is one of the Managing Partners in regional law firm Kitsons LLP.  He has specialised in employment law since qualifying as a solicitor in 1999, and has a broad portfolio of clients which includes a significant practice in the education sector, advising schools on Human Resources and Employment Law related issues.

Rhodri has been an active member of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Tavistock) for over 25 years and is currently one of the team’s trained Search Managers.

Alistair Dewhirst

Trustee and Governor

After a 30-year career as an international fashion agent, Alistair became a director of the family Touring Caravan Park business in 2008. In 2010 he was elected Liberal Democrat Member for Ipplepen on Teignbridge District Council and was elected to Devon County Council in 2013. He is Deputy Group Leader on Teignbridge and Chair of Scrutiny at Devon County.

Alistair is also a member of Devon County’s Corporate Parenting Board and is the Corporate Parent Visitor to the Atkinson Unit, a secure children’s home.

Tony Collyer

Trustee, Honorary Treasurer and Governor

Tony is a Chartered Accountant who has been a director of four listed companies and a number of privately owned companies, in the retail, entertainment and service sectors. He has acted as transaction director and adviser to management delivering significant corporate and private equity transactions.

Tony was a Trustee of North Devon Biosphere Foundation and was a member of the finance committee of Kings College, London for nine years.

 

Bob Spencer

Trustee

After a successful career in policing based in Liverpool and Devon, Bob established an international business. He was a volunteer Magistrate in Devon and is a Trustee of the Clare Milne Trust. Bob Chaired Adult and Children Safeguarding Boards in both Devon and Torbay. He is a strong advocate of ensuring all people in our society are given the best opportunities to achieve their full potential. 

Bob enjoys fishing, watching rugby and football, he owns a very old wooden fishing boat which constantly needs attention and an equally time consuming Labrador.

David Robertson, BA FCA

Trustee

David was, until 31 March 2011, the Finance Director of the waste management company Viridor Limited, which was then a subsidiary of the Exeter based Pennon Group PLC. He joined Pennon in 1991 as Group Auditor. Prior to that he worked for KPMG, a firm of Chartered Accountants.

David is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a graduate in Business Studies.

He was also a non-executive director of the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust from 2010 to 2017.

He is currently a trustee for two other charities in addition to his role at the Deaf Academy.

Sara Papworth

Trustee

Sara is a qualified accountant with a varied career background, including Royal Mail, Devon & Cornwall Police and the education and charity sectors.

She was Director of Finance & Resources at Bicton College and later undertook the same role at the Deaf Academy from 2007 to 2020.

She played a key part in the Charity’s successful relocation from Exeter to its new premises in Exmouth.  

Sara has previously served as a trustee of the Exeter Northcott Theatre and is a current trustee of Devon Wildlife Trust.

Jennie Stephens MBE

Trustee

After over 40 years working in Local Government and 13 years as Chief Officer for Adult Care and Health for Devon, Jennie retired in April 2022.  Jennie began her career as a social worker and since then has held various leadership roles across the health and care sector. Jennie has considerable experience of strategic and transformational change at scale and with a focus on quality improvement and service effectiveness and efficiency.

Jennie has significant experience of community, mental health and learning disability services as well  as commissioning across health and social care. Collaboration is at the heart of Jennie’s approach. Working in partnership with people with lived experience, with partners across the statutory/independent care sector and community and voluntary sectors underpins this. She is passionate about community resilience and doing what matters from a person’s viewpoint.

Jennie is an experienced mentor and coach supporting both health and local government leaders. She is committed to continuous improvement and has led peer reviews across the country. She is keen to both learn from others and share learning and has given evidence to House of Commons Select Committees as well as presented at national and regional events including the National Conference for Children and Adult Services and NHS Providers Networks.

In 2019 Jennie was awarded an MBE for her services to social care.

Madeleine Collie

Trustee

Madeleine has personal experience of deafness and of working voluntarily with charitable organisations devoted to supporting young deaf people.  She became profoundly deaf as a young adult and received a cochlear implant when she was 59.

In 2010 Madeleine retired from working as a Managing Director in an international energy company having previously specialised in business consultancy of trading systems in the electricity industry.  Her original career focused on scientific research into the pathogenesis of influenza virus.

Madeleine is currently a Trustee of the Budleigh Music Festival, and was previously a Trustee/Chair of Deaf@x and Friends for Young Deaf People, and a Trustee of the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Governing Body

Tony Alexander

Trustee and Chair of the Governing Body

Tony is a graduate of Birmingham University where he studied English Literature.

He was a teacher for 48 years; 26 of these as a headmaster at three schools; two of which were inner-city. Each of the schools required considerable improvement to their reputation; management and leadership; pupil achievement and financial stability. This gave Tony a valuable insight into the practical issues involved in improving school performance.

Sylvan Dewing

Principal and Ex-Officio Governor

 Sylvan has over 15 years’ experience of successfully managing educational provision in inner city areas. Previous employers have included Hackney Community College, College of North East London and Haringey council, specialising in inclusion, safeguarding, behaviour management and post-16 provision. Sylvan has worked at the Deaf Academy since 2017.

Debbie Bowden

Governor

Debbie’s son attends the Deaf Academy. She has worked as a nurse for many years, working with adults which has cemented her supporting, listening and communication skills. She is also a longstanding member of Girlguiding, running a very active Brownie unit and until recently acting as a local commissioner and county trustee. Debbie states “I hope to bring my friendly, approachable manner to the Board of Governors’.

Tony Collyer

Governor

Tony is a Chartered Accountant who has been a director of four listed companies and a number of privately owned companies, in the retail, entertainment and service sectors. He has acted as transaction director and adviser to management delivering significant corporate and private equity transactions.

Tony is a Trustee of North Devon Biosphere Foundation and was a member of the finance committee of Kings College, London for nine years.

Alistair Dewhirst

Trustee and Governor

After a 30-year career as an international fashion agent, Alistair became a director of the family Touring Caravan Park business in 2008. In 2010 he was elected Liberal Democrat Member for Ipplepen on Teignbridge District Council and was elected to Devon County Council in 2013. He is Deputy Group Leader on Teignbridge and Chair of Scrutiny at Devon County.

Alistair is also a member of Devon County’s Corporate Parenting Board and is the Corporate Parent Visitor to the Atkinson Unit, a secure children’s home.

Matt Jenkins

Staff Governor

Matt Jenkins is Lead British Sign Language (BSL) Teacher at the Deaf Academy; his work has concentrated on BSL and communication across all areas of the Academy over the past six years. Before this, he was a BSL Teacher at the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of Bristol.

Matt is currently working toward qualifying as a Teacher of the Deaf and is also a member of BATOD (the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf). Matt is also involved in social events and organisations for the hard of hearing and Deaf communities, drawing a wide variety of diverse members who use different sign dialects.

Matt is motivated by keeping the Academy’s communication and access up to date for all who attend and visit us, and promoting positive Deaf mental health and wellbeing, ensuring where possible everyone is Deaf Aware and ethically informed.

Mark Peel

Staff Governor

Mark is the Senior Safeguarding Caseworker at the Academy, and one of three Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads. He is a member of the Care & Safeguarding Standards Committee. He is a qualified registered social worker with over 20 years of experience working with a huge array of different needs. Throughout his time as a social worker, he has dedicated his career to supporting the needs of deaf young people and children with learning disabilities.

Jill Elson MBE

Governor

I was very pleased when the Governors accepted my application to be a Governor of the Deaf Academy. I was a member of the team that campaigned for the Rolle College site to be kept as a place for Education. I believe all young people must be given the opportunity to fulfil their individual potential. It is for education to give them the ‘tools’ and ‘skills’ they will need with advice and guidance to achieve their aims.

I was an East Devon District Councillor representing a ward of Exmouth for 36 years. During that time I chaired a number of committees and was Cabinet member for Sustainable Homes and Communities for several years. I enjoyed representing the people of Exmouth and East Devon and was honoured to be made a Hon.Alderman. Over the years I learnt a great deal, which helps me now, in the work I still do within the community.

 I am the founder and Chairman of the Exmouth and District Community Transport Group (local charity) which began in 1990. It provides transport for those who are unable to use public transport because they have a mobility problem. We have 2 x 8 seat minibuses with passenger lifts and a wheelchair accessible car.

I retired as a Governor of Exmouth Community College having served since 1995 having been chairman of several committees as well as Chairman of Governors.

Rachel Noar

Governor

Rachel was appointed as a Governor at the Deaf Academy in December 2020.  She brings a wealth of experience to the Governing Body having sat on various boards including the Disability Consultant Group for the East Midlands Arts Council, the South West Disability Art Organisation (Equata), and, currently, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.  Rachel is a strong advocate for the Academy’s student cohort, being Deaf herself, and mother to a Deaf son.

Ann Harvey

Governor

Ann is a retired consultant anaesthetist with many years’ experience in healthcare (NHS and private medicine). She has held senior leadership and management roles in both the NHS and at the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland. She has had a special interest in teaching and training, specialising in paediatric anaesthesia, coaching and mentoring, and anaesthesia for learning disability patients. She has worked locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, in both the clinical and the coaching and mentoring fields. She continues coaching with NHS Leadership and other clients.

Rob Aubry

Governor

Rob Aubry is the Head Coach of British Para-Swimming and been employed within high-performance sport for the last 15 years. Under Rob’s coaching leadership British Para-Swimming saw the most medals returned from Tokyo2020 by any British Olympic or Paralympic sport. Rob strives for inclusion and advises National governing bodies including the department of digital culture media and sport on good practice when communicating utilising various accessible formats.

Rob is also an Independent Director for Boccia England, which is the most inclusive sport without an Olympic equivalent.

Anthony Farnsworth

Governor

Anthony qualified as a Social Worker in 1983 and has worked for both the NHS and County Council in Devon.  He spent many years working for the NHS Care Trust in Torbay, holding both health and Social care responsibilities. He has always tried to promote good working partnerships between organisations. His early career interests in both Learning Disability and Mental Health remain with him.

Anthony joined the Governing body in the summer of 2023 and is a member of the Care and Safeguarding Committee.

Anthony holds two Charitable Trusteeships. CoLab in Exeter supports those who have complex needs, including, homelessness, addiction and abuse. Making Sense is a Welsh charity that provides access to the creative arts for those with sensory and other disabilities.

 

Vivien Duval Steer

Governor

Vivien was employed in the banking sector for 26 years before retirement.  Since then she has been heavily involved in the community as a Town and District Councillor for 10 years, a Governor in Exmouth Community College, involved in Finance and Premises Committees and served on many Recruitment Panels.  She was Chair of Governors at a Church of England Primary school and served on several Committees there.  She is currently on the PCC for Withycombe Parish and General Purposes Committee for All Saints Church.  She is also  Chairman of Exmouth Flower Club.

 

The Deaf Academy Trustees and Governors 2022-23
NameType of Governor or TrusteeAppointed By:OfficeTerm of OfficeEnd dateCommittee MembershipAttendance at meetings 2021-22Registered interests
Mr Anthony AlexanderTrustee and GovernorTrustees, GovernorsChair of Governing Body, Chair of Education Standards Committee10.04.19 – 09.04.26Education Standards, Governing Body13 of 17
Mr Rob AubryCo-opted GovernorGovernors13.04.23 – 12.04.26Education Standards2 of 3
Ms Debbie BowdenParent GovernorParent election27.06.22 – 26.06.26Care & Safeguarding Standards6 of 6
Mr Anthony CollyerTrustee GovernorTrustees and GovernorsChair of Finance & Resources, Honorary Treasurer, Vice-Chair of Governing Body03.07.20 – 02.07.24Finance & Resources, Education Standards, Nomination & Remuneration20 of 21
Mr Rhodri DaveyTrusteeTrustees05.10.17 – 04.10.254 of 7
Mr Alistair DewhirstTrustee GovernorTrustees and GovernorsChair of Care & Safeguarding Standards, Chair of Children’s Home Management Committee12.12.16 – 11.12.24Care & Safeguarding Standards, Children’s Home Governing Body13 of 16Elected member of Devon County Council
Mr Sylvan DewingEx-officioGovernors23.01.18 –Finance & Resources, Care & Safeguarding Standards, Education Standards, Children’s Home Governing Body, Health and Safety,3 of 3Principal at the Deaf Academy
Ms Vivien Duval-SteerCo-opted GovernorGovernors30.03.23 – 29.03.26Education Standards Committee2 out of 3
Ms Jill Elson MBECo-opted GovernorGovernors10.12.20 – 09.12.24Finance & Resources, Governing Body7 of 7
Mr Anthony FarnsworthCo-opted GovernorGovernors30.06.23 – 29.06.26Care & Safeguarding Standards1 of 2
Dr Ann HarveyCo-opted GovernorGovernors30.03.23 – 29.03.26Finance & Resources, Health & Safety3 of 4
Mr Matt JenkinsStaff GovernorStaff election11.10.18 – 10.10.26Education Standards6 of 7Member of teaching staff at The Deaf Academy
Ms Rachel NoarCo-opted GovernorGovernors

10.12.20

09.12.24

Care & Safeguarding Standards2 of 6Volunteer at Living Options
Mrs Sara PapworthTrusteeTrustees

09.02.23

08.02.27

Finance & Resources, Health & Safety5 of 7
Dame Angela Pedder OBETrusteeTrusteesChair of Trustees01.09.20 – 31.08.24Nomination & Remuneration13 of 13
Mr Mark PeelStaff GovernorStaff election17.12.18 – 16.12.25Care & Safeguarding Standards, Governing Body3 of 6Senior Safeguarding Case Worker at the Deaf Academy.
Mr David RobertsonTrusteeTrusteesVice Chair of the Board of Trustees05.11.20 – 04.11.24Finance & Resources, Children’s Home Governing Body, Nomination & Remuneration15 of 15
Mr Robert SpencerTrusteeTrustees05.11.20 – 04.11.24Care & Safeguarding Standards8 of 10
Ms Jennifer Stephens MBETrusteeTrustees

04.05.23

03.05.27

Care & Safeguarding Standards, Children’s Home Governing Body3 of 3
Governors and Trustees who left during the 2022-23 academic year
Mr Simon AllchurchCo-opted GovernorGovernors02.07.18 – 31.08.23Finance & Resources, Health & Safety6 of 10
Ms Allison FosterCo-opted GovernorGovernors29.01.21 – 31.08.23Education Standards6 of 7
Dr Janet HarveyTrusteeTrustessVice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Vice Chair of the Finance & Resources

30.11.22

31.08.23

Finance & Resources, Health & Safety10 of 11Self Employed Educational Consultant