Tuesday 24th October 2017


In celebration of the news that construction of Sherford’s first primary school, Sherford Vale has begun, we met with Sherford’s first ever Headteacher; Helen Tipping. Read on to find out a little more about her and what the community can expect from Sherford Vale in the following year!

What were you doing before you were appointed as Sherford Vale’s Headteacher?

For 11 years I had the great pleasure of being the Headteacher at Stowford School, in Ivybridge. Following this, I was appointed as ‘Executive Primary Principal’ for Westcountry Schools Trust (formally known as Ivybridge Academy Trust), whilst preparing to be the first ever Headteacher of Sherford Vale School.

What are you most looking forward to in starting a new school?

Rarely does an opportunity come along to work with dedicated professionals and members of a new community to create an excellent school from scratch. I intend to draw on a wealth of experience in order to bring this new school to life, with an amazing curriculum, opportunities for problem solving and creativity and fantastic teachers. I cannot wait for September 2018 when the school will be full of the hopes and dreams of the children and buzzing with the excitement of learning.

How will the school develop in the coming year?

Apart from the obvious structural building of the school, building a dedicated staff team with a shared ethos ready for the schools opening will be one exciting challenge. There will be opportunities for parents and members of the community to get involved in shaping the school curriculum and environment. Recruiting children will be essential, building excitement for learning and listening to their view. There are lots of practical tasks such as uniform, school logo, resources and schemes of work to prepare, in addition to satisfying the local authority, DFE and Ofsted requirements for opening. It’s going to be an incredibly busy year!

What special features will the school have?

Sherford Vale School will be in a fantastic architecturally designed building with a large amount of outdoor space, including two outdoor classrooms, a large multi-use games area and football pitches There’s also an allotment, orchard, bat boxes and bird terraces, and children will be encouraged to care for the natural environment, building a sustainable future for their community. Forest Schools will be part of the curriculum and we have asked the developers to build a fire pit into the school grounds. Sherford Vale will be a unique and fun school to say the least, ensuring many opportunities for within and beyond the classroom!

Will Sherford Vale be known for having a particular specialism?

We are passionate that every child who attends Sherford Vale School will become the best that they can be; therefore we will offer a broad, rich and vibrant curriculum. We want children to become thinkers and creators, to ask questions and seek solutions and to develop a determination to succeed. Naturally English and Maths will underpin the curriculum, equipping children with the skills for life, however this will be enriched with our innovative ‘STAMP Curriculum’, specialising in Science, Technology, Arts, Maths and PE. The curriculum will be delivered by outstanding teachers and staff in partnership with parents and carers and members of the community.

What positive effects do you think the school will have on the Sherford community?

Without a doubt, Sherford Vale School will be at the heart of the community, a place for children and their families are be proud of. The school will be the main setting for events and community launches, helping to encourage a real sense of community spirit.

Opportunities don’t come along like this regularly so I cannot wait to lead a team that can make a massive difference. I am honoured to be part of the journey of building a brand new community and am excited to see where the next few years will take us!