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North Star Alliance

St Peter’s are very proud to be members of North Star and Polaris Teaching School Alliances. North Star and Polaris formed a unique partnership in 2016 to support school improvement across North Yorkshire and work with around 70 primary schools in the region. Our collective aim is to improve outcomes for all children through a self-sustaining, dynamic system of school improvement and support across North Yorkshire and beyond. '

Meet the Governors

Shirley SowrayShirley SowrayShirley Sowray  Chair of Governors and Communications Link Governor. 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 Head Teacher, 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 Head Teacher 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!
Contact details:



Laura WiseLaura Wise

Laura Wise (Foundation Governor), Vice-chair Link Governor for Maths. 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, one of whom has just started at 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 ArrowsmithVirginia ArrowsmithVirginia Arrowsmith. (Parent Governor)

Parent Governor, Co-Vice Chair, Link Governor for English/Literacy. 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 3 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 AndersonSarah AndersonSarah Anderson (Staff Governor)

Link Governor for PSHCE AND PE. Date Appointed 2015

I have been the Upper Key Stage 2 teacher (currently teaching Year 4, 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 in Mrs Brook’s absence. 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 girl, Pippa, who loves attending our school nursery. I enjoy every minute of this friendly and exciting school and I feel fortunate to work with such lovely children, staff, parents and governors.


David WhapplesDavid Whapples

David Whapples  IT Link Governor and Finance focus.  Date Appointed: 2009

My name is David Whapples. I live in Helperby. I have one child currently at St Peters and two other children that also attended and are now at High School. I work as an IT consultant advising companies on implementing process and technology to improve the quality of services they provide to their customers. I have been a Governor since 2009 .In the spare time I enjoying running.



Tom SpillmanTom SpillmanTom Spillman (Local Authority Governor),

Link Governor for Pupil Premium and Sports Premium. Date Appointed 2015

I have lived in Helperby all my life (36Years) 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.

I am also the science link governor. I hope that as a school we can make science interesting, useful and exciting for the pupils.


Michelle BrickstockMichelle BrickstockMichelle Brickstock (Parent Governor)

Link Governor for Early Years Date. Date Appointed 2015

I am married to Richard and we have 4 children.  We have lived in Raskelf since 2006 and our eldest, Joseph, is currently in Class 2 at St Peter’s.  We visited all the local schools before deciding on St Peter’s as it stood out from the rest in terms of that friendly, “family” feel. By profession, I am a patent attorney specialising in pharmaceuticals and molecular biology (genes/DNA); while my hobbies include walking and natural history (and I have a special fondness for garden birds and hedgehogs).

I am joining the school as a Governor at an exciting time: there is now a fabulous pre-school provision at the school and this is where our twin boys attend.



Pete Hambling Science Link Gov and Finance Focus. 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                                                 is an interactive and exciting subject!




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