United Schools Trust

To contact the Trustees directly, please email Julie Stuchbery-Ullah at chair@kingsteigntonschool.org


Penny Fitch

Principal , Chief Executive Officer and Accounting Officer

I began my teaching career in 2000 when my daughter started primary school, training through the Devon Primary SCITT – a programme which allowed me to train in a school-based setting. Previously, following a long period at University, first at Edinburgh where I studied Ecology and then at Exeter where I obtained my PhD researching badgers and bovine tuberculosis with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Agriculture, I worked as an ecological consultant and landscape designer.

Following my teacher training, I worked as a teacher in the South Hams until I was seconded to St Catherine’s School at Heathfield as Assistant Head and Year 6 teacher in 2010. The school celebrated an award for being one of the100 most improved schools in the UK in terms of the Year 6 results in 2012. In September 2012 I was appointed Head of School at Brixton St Mary’s Primary School which became part of the United Schools Federation in 2013. The school was judged as ‘Requires Improvement’ in an Ofsted inspection in December 2012 but in the next inspection in November 2014 the school was judged to be ‘Outstanding’ in all areas.

I was part of the team of Heads who put together the bid for the Kingsteignton Free School and was delighted to be appointed as Principal ready to open the school in September 2016. Since then I have been working hard to make sure the school provides the very best in terms of education for our children and we aim to make sure that the school is judged as Outstanding by Ofsted in our first inspection three years after opening.

If that all sounds rather dry, then I think it is essential to say that I also think it is incredibly important that what we do at school is fun, inspirational and highly motivating and that all our children want to come into school every day because they really enjoy the challenge of their learning.

Julie Stuchbery-Ullah

Chair of Trustees

Between 1982 and 2008, I worked in six secondary schools in different parts of the country and across both urban and rural settings. I have undertaken a number of different roles including: Classroom teacher, Head of Department, Head of Year, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, Vice Principal and Acting Principal. I was involved in creating a federation between a primary and secondary school to become an All-through School. I also spent 2 years as Director of Professional Development for the International Curriculum and Assessment Agency.

Since 2008, I have been a consultant to primary and secondary schools wishing to work collaboratively to improve outcomes for children and staff. This has involved supporting governors and senior leaders when embarking on formal consultation processes to form management partnerships, federations and co-operative trusts.

Throughout my career, I have volunteered as a staff governor and more recently have served on an Interim Executive Board for the LA, the management committee for a local provider of alternative provision and the trust board for two co-operative trusts.

Christina Mabin

Safeguarding Trustee

I am employed as a governance and admissions adviser for the CofE Diocese in Exeter. I work with over 130 CofE schools in 3 local authorities and represent the Diocese at local, regional and national level. My role involves supporting and advising schools in converting to academy and joining multi-academy trusts. Prior to this I was a primary school teacher. I have been a governor for many years in several different schools. I am currently a local governing body member of a school in a MAT, a member representative of a MAT as well as a director of a Kingsteignton Primary School.

Sue Clarke

Standards Trustee

I began my teaching career at an inner London primary school and recently retired from my post as Head of Education for Devon. I have also been a primary headteacher, a curriculum and leadership adviser, an inspector and was part of a ministerial advisory group.

I have lived in Teignbridge for over twenty years,. I am married and have two grown up children who both attended local schools.

I have always been a strong advocate of schools working in formal partnership and the importance of a broad and child centred curriculum particularly in the early years.

Charlotte Vicary-Ward

Parent Trustee

I have lived in Kingsteignton for the last 25 years. I am a mother of two, with my oldest being one of the first children to attend Kingsteignton School.

Since I left school in 2005 I have worked in a variety of Accounting and Finance roles. My current role is as a Finance Analyst for a company based in the South West, we build submarines and are currently building a series of boats for the United States Military.

I’m regularly around the school for drop off’s and pickups and I’m fully invested in Kingsteignton school and its community.

Kevin Presland


Kevin Presland is the national architectural lead for archive design, as architectural representative on the BSI drafting committee.

Kevin is also a specialist in education design working across all sectors. He has extensive experience of public sector buildings with Local Authority employment for 14 years and has worked for Atkins for the past 12 years.

Helen Hanks


I am a mental health occupational therapist (although not working clinically at present) and a quality improvement manager for Devon Partnership Trust, who provide the mental health and learning disability services for Devon. I am passionate about promoting the importance of mental well-being, challenging the stigma of mental ill-health and supporting all people to learn the skills needed to maintain positive physical, mental and emotional health.

I feel immense pride at the work being completed within Kingsteignton school – setting up as a dementia friendly school; the new school build being level access with adaptations throughout to make it accessible to all pupils, staff and carers; Grandparents day and teaching about all faiths and beliefs systems to name a few.

I am keen to be involved in supporting the school to grow and to develop on its outstanding start. I bring skills and experience of learning disabilities, mental health, quality improvement and change management, along with a desire to support this school in any way I can.


Elizabeth Thompson


I have lived in Devon for 50 years, and my four children attended local schools up to university age. Whilst the children were young, I ran a playgroup and a Cub Scout group on a voluntary basis, and was involved with numerous local organisations. I returned to the workplace when my youngest child moved to secondary school.

I was delighted to be offered a position as P A to the Principal of a unique residential College in Abbotskerswell that provided education and training for young deaf men with additional needs. The College was under the auspices of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (now named Action for Hearing Loss), the only one of its kind within the UK, and my role required I liaise with local authorities and local education bodies throughout the country who wished to place students at the College for the three-year training programme - setting up assessments and interviews with families and funding bodies, agreeing charge, ensuring records were maintained to the highest standard, were just some of the aspects of a role I was allowed to make my own. I travelled abroad to promote the work of the college and welcomed visitors from Europe and other countries, as the College’s achievements were widely recognised. All members of staff were expected to acquire British Sign Language skills, and I attained Level 2, which enabled me to communicate effectively with the students and deaf members of staff. Sadly The RNID decided to close the college in 1999 and sell the land and buildings.

Having studied and achieved the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management degree at Plymouth University during my time at the College, and following redundancy, I worked for Plymouth Council and then Torbay Council as a Human Resources Officer, retiring in 2011.

I have served on numerous schools’ Governing Bodies, both secondary and primary, and am currently Chair of United Federation of Schools’ Board. I am a Trustee of a local Alms Houses’ charity, and serve on a number of committees within the local community.

I am passionate about children having the best possible opportunity to develop their potential, and honoured to have been involved in the successful development and achievements of the USF and the founding of Kingsteignton School.

Nigel Canham


Initially trained as a registered psychiatric nurse and enjoyed a 15-year career in mental health and NHS/voluntary sector management. Subsequently worked with BBC Radio Devon as a volunteer for the South West Action for the Environment Team, a role which landed me a brief spell as broadcast assistant with ITV Westcountry. Later spent 13 years as reporter/senior reporter with the Mid-Devon Advertiser based in Newton Abbot and covering many aspects of local life, particularly politics.

In 2011 I founded Strategy Public Relations Ltd and have run the company profitably every year since. Clients include the USF and Newton Abbot Town Council. My company also represents the UK arm of the global minerals firm Sibelco.

I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, a Voluntary Warden with Dartmoor National Park Authority, Voluntary Press Officer for the Christow and District Show and formerly a member of the Christow Community Land Trust.

Ian Sherriff


Ian is a founder member of the Plymouth University Dementia Group. Their research to date includes “Early Diagnosis of Dementia in Plymouth” Dementia Quality Mark for Residential care, Evaluation of day opportunities provided by the Voluntary and Private sector for individuals with dementia and their carers, evaluation of residential care in Torbay 2015 which recently received the British Medical Journal award for Dementia team of “The Year 2015”. He has presented at the Alzheimer’s International Conference 2012/14/15/16/17, the all Wales Dementia Conference 2014/2015/16, the Prime Ministers Dementia Challenge launch, he also presented at the D.of.H Expo. Ian is a member of the Prime Ministers Dementia Friendly Communities Challenge Group 2015/16/17/18/19/20, his role on this group is chair of the South and South West of England. Ian stepped down as a Trustee after six years on the Board nationally for the Alzheimer’s Society. Ian is now an Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society. Ian was an advisor to Devon County Council for their Center of Excellence approach to dementia care. He is a founder member of the Plymouth Dementia Alliance and Dementia Friendly Parishes around the Yealm. Ian is the chair of the Prime Ministers Task and Finish group for Rural Dementia 2015/2016/17/18/19/20. He also chairs the national Prime Ministers Air Transport dementia group 2015/16/17/18/19/20. Ian is the driving force behind the six successful Plymouth International Dementia Conferences. Ian is also the chair of the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance which won a national award of “Dementia Friendly City of the year 2016/17”. Ian was commissioned by the Drake Foundation to evaluate the ex-military veteran’s memory café in Plymouth. This service is seen as an exemplar in dementia support. Ian is currently working with researchers from the China and Japan. Ian has just been awarded two year finance to teach Chinese students both here in the UK and China 2017/18. Ian and a team from the university have secured six year funding to evaluate “living well programme for older people in Torbay”. Ian launched the first dementia friendly community in Italy in September 2016.Ian was a key note speaker at the 2017 Tokyo and Osaka dementia conferences and their 2018 conference. Ian has just signed a memorandum understanding between Plymouth University and the government of Macau China. Ian is the coordinator of a global academic dementia group which has membership of twenty countries. Ian launched the Rural Dementia Guide at the Devon County show in May 2018. He is also in great demand as a key note speaker at regional, national and International conferences on dementia.