Board of Trustees
Pam Smith - Chair of the Trust Board
Pam has recently retired from her post as Head of Primary and Targeted Intervention and Education Lead for Sheffield City Council where she worked with schools across the city and advised Council leaders on a diverse range of education matters.
Whilst in post at Sheffield City Council, Pam was a very effective Strategic Lead for a wide range of education services including New Arrivals and English as an Additional Language; Early Years; Music and Arts; PE, Swimming and Outdoor Education; Children’s University; ESCAL (Sheffield Literacy and Language Strategy) and Head of the Virtual School for Children Looked After. This experience enables her to bring a comprehensive understanding of how to achieve best outcomes for all pupils.
Pam has extensive experience as a teacher and education adviser in Local Authorities including Leeds and Kirklees and as Regional Adviser for School Improvement for the National Strategies. She also taught in Spain where she lived and ran her own businesses for a number of years.
Pam's particular areas of expertise are in school standards and performance. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of national and local education priorities and how to support schools in their drive to improve outcomes for children and has regularly advised teachers, school leaders and governing bodies on improving practice in their schools – work which has regularly been highlighted by Ofsted and other external inspectors as having made significant impact.
Sue Bridges - CEO (non-voting)
Cary-Anne Sykes - Education
Cary-Anne began her career in a multi faith school in Wakefield, in her third year of teaching she was made the Key Stage 2 SENCo for the school. After 6 months in this position Cary-Anne was approached by the Local Authority to support and mentor other newly appointed SENCo’s across the district.
In 1999 and as part of the Local Authority developments on inclusion Cary-Anne was appointed on a secondment basis to support the setup of a Locality Behaviour Support Team (BST), this included the opening of a Primary Behaviour Resource Provision. During this secondment Cary-Anne completed her Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties post graduate certificate via Leeds University.
After 4 years of working with the BST Cary-Anne identified that a large number of the students on her caseload were young people with potentially undiagnosed social communication difficulties. Cary-Anne applied for the position to open the second Communication Resource in Wakefield and successfully integrated the provision into the Methodist School in Wakefield. Cary-Anne worked closely with Luke Beardon from Sheffield Hallam University to ensure the provision was supporting the children and families in the best ways possible. Whilst working at Methodist Communication Resource Cary-Anne successfully completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Autism via Birmingham University.
Cary-Anne had a specific interest in transition to Key stage 3 for pupils with complex academic and social profiles, this developed into the creation of the enhanced secondary outreach Team across the Wakefield district. Cary-Anne worked with departments within High Schools to identify the challenges the staff and students may experience. Comprehensive training and mentoring plans were embedded in the Inclusion developments plans for all the schools in the Wakefield district.
In 2012 Cary-Anne became the Team Manager for the Communication and Interaction Resource Provisions and the Communication and Interaction Outreach Teams. Cary-Anne was responsible for developing the strategic plan and development programs for Autism across the Education system within Wakefield.
Currently Cary-Anne is working as the SEN Delivery Manager in Wakefield with responsibility of the central SEN Outreach Teams (Sensory Impairments, Physical Difficulties, Social Emotional and Mental Health Team and the Communication and Interaction Team). This role requires working with the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Health Trusts alongside the maintained schools and Academies, to ensure the integrated support packages for Wakefield children and young people.
A key development project currently underway is the work with Multi Academy Trusts (within Wakefield and across the Yorkshire and Humber region) to promote and plan for the inclusion of ALL children and young people in the local educational provision. This work involves an audit of current Inclusion and SEN provision and the development of an Inclusion and SEND Self Evaluation Document. The need for good governance, accountability, training and creating effective provision have been the driving force behind the development of this process
Lyn Overall - Education
Lyn Overall has an academic and practical background in education having worked both as a teacher and in teacher education for many years retiring as a Principal Lecturer. As a school governor in Sheffield she has served first at Malin Bridge Infant and Malin Bridge Junior Schools.
In the 1990’s joined Owler Brook School as Chair whilst the school appointed a new Headteacher and embarked on the move from what was a school sited in the grounds of a large secondary school to its present building in 2001. She has been an active as Governor serving in various roles. At present she is vice Chair of the Crucible Federation (Whiteways NIJ and Owler Brook NIJ community schools) and as SEN link for the Governing Board. Most recently she has represented the Crucible Federation at the working party meetings and consultations.
She takes an active interest in both schools attending events, taking time to visit classrooms and to talk with teachers and pupils about the work that they do. She has considerable experience of interviewing for schools staff and in assisting with disciplinary meetings. She has an academic and research background in the teaching of English and in the preservice and in-service education of teachers as well as the management of schools.
She has written textbooks for preservice teachers and for Higher Level Teaching Assistants. A long standing member of the United Kingdom Literacy Association and its Hon. Secretary for ten years she revised the constitution, initiated and implemented changes needed to ensure that the work that membership required was successful and evaluated.
Victoria Cousins - Education
Victoria graduated from the University of Leeds with an Honours Degree and Post Graduate Certificate in Education, later to gain a National Professional Qualification in Headship. Victoria’s career within the education sector includes work as a Teacher in both the Secondary and Primary sectors, as a Leading English Teacher and for twelve years as a Primary Headteacher within Derbyshire, prior to retirement.
As Headteacher of a rural school, Victoria had to lead on all aspects of school development from Finance, Resources and Personnel, to Safeguarding, Curriculum Development, Assessment and Pupil Outcomes. In addition, Victoria had a teaching commitment which enabled her to keep a close link to Learning and Teaching.
During her leadership and journey through three successful Ofsted inspections, effective provision for the school community was recognised: “Positive impact of actions...to improve outcomes....”, “Focus school improvement activities on accelerating pupils’ progress and improving standards.....”, “Nothing but high quality teaching is good enough for the pupils”.
As a “Local Leader in Education”, Victoria took on an Executive role, supporting both Headteachers and Governing Boards through the process of self-evaluation to raise standards in curriculum delivery to improve pupil outcomes. During her final year, Victoria successfully led the Governing Board to federate with a local school.
Bethan Plant - Human Resources
Bethan is a Public Health Specialist working at Sheffield City Council. In her role as Health Improvement Principal she has responsibility for the children and young people’s Public Health team. Bethan has had a career working in Public Health over the past twenty four years and a special interest in the field of children and young people’s health and wellbeing.
During her Public Health work she has been employed both by both the Local Authority and NHS. She has developed strong links and experience of working across the wider NHS system. She also has an interest in health protection and reducing health inequalities. Her work has mostly been within Sheffield but her public health career started in Stoke on Trent working in North Staffordshire.
Bethan is also a partner governor for Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and a trustee for the charity CHILYPEP. Bethan has contributed to the text book: ‘Primary Care in Urban Disadvantaged Communities’ and jointly authored: Working with Young People: Real Life stuff, documenting her work with vulnerable young people.
Richard Peterkin - Human Resources
Richard has been a chartered Civil Engineer since 1973 and prior to his retirement in 2011 was the Head of Design and Build for Sheffield City Council. In this role he was responsible for 250 staff with an annual turnover of £25 M. This was made up of technical, administrative, training and Human Resources staff.
He has been a governor at Hucklow since 2007 and Chair since 2008 during which time he also served on the Sheffield Schools forum.
Whilst Chair of Hucklow the school moved from requiring improvement to good and the results have improved year on year. The school has seen three significant changes of leadership.
In 2015 Hucklow joined with Beck Primary School to form Cascade MAT and Richard has been Chair of the Trustees Board since its formation.
The Cascade Trust Board have worked closely with the governors of Crucible Federation over the last year to prepare for them to join Cascade and the current Executive Head leads over all four schools with a team of experience leaders.
Richard has had extensive experience over the years of governance, management, construction, finance and Human Resources.
Christine Buxton - Finance
Christine is a senior business executive with extensive finance, business improvement and operational management experience gained over 30 years plus in the manufacturing, service and charity sectors.
She is a Chartered Accountant and trained with the Sheffield firm Wingfield Slater where she gained a wealth of knowledge and experience dealing with a large variety of clients.
This was followed by 2 roles in the manufacturing and service industry over a 16 year period carrying out a number of senior roles with responsibility for finance, operations and business improvement.
During this time Christine became a trustee for The Kings Foundation, a children’s charity that provides sports camps across the UK and outreach work in the UK and overseas. She then moved into a management role with Kings as Head of Finance and Operations where she stayed for 6 years.
During this time, as well as managing the finance and general operations, she was also responsible for the recruitment of around 700 seasonal staff every year, project management and management of HR including policies, procedures and safeguarding.
Christine is currently managing a small residential letting business and has returned to The Kings Foundation as a trustee.
Andrea has worked for Sheffield Local Authority for the last eighteen years supporting the early years provision of schools and settings. She recently left that role to work in a freelance capacity and to focus on writing. Earlier in her career Andrea worked as a primary school teacher (including a fondly remembered short term contract at Beck Primary when her children were very young), a museum educator, a university lecturer and she also owned and managed her own nursery and after school club provision. She has a strong interest in Quality Early Years Provision and in 2010 she co-wrote the National Children’s Bureau best-selling book on Leadership for Quality in the Early Years. Her doctoral research was a study of perceptions of quality and why schools would want to take two-year-old children. Andrea is passionate about ensuring that all children enjoy learning and have access to high quality education and care where parent partnership is valued.