Born and educated in Torquay, I have been fortunate enough to maintain strong roots in the area throughout my life. I retired, after a long career with Shearings Group Ltd, in October 2018 after 40 happy, productive and successful years with the business and in the leisure and tourism industry. My former role at SGL was Managing Director of Shearings Hotels Ltd, who used to own and operate 45 hotels in the UK. I served on the main Shearings Group Board for many years dealing with all the hotel and property matters. I was also the lead Director for Health & Safety and Sustainable Tourism across the Shearings Group.
In addition to my role within Shearings, I have the honour and privilege to be the current Chair of Governors at Torquay Academy, formerly known as Torquay Community College and Audley Park School. I was educated at Audley Park in the 1970s and have a very long and proud connection with the school. Prior to becoming a Governor at Torquay Academy, I served for over ten years on the Governing Body of South Devon College in the capacities of Vice Chair and Chair. I also Chair the Board of the Torquay Economic Development Company (TDA).
In 2020 I was appointed as the Chair of Young Devon, a charity which has looked after young people across the county for over 70 years. In February 2020 I was appointed as the Chair of the Torquay Town Deal Board, which has recently secured in excess of £22 million towards the regeneration of Torquay town centre. At the end of 2020 I was also appointed as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Heart of the South West LEP.
At the start of 2021, I became the Chair of Visit Devon, a leading destination management organisation representing over 600 businesses from the visitor economy across the county. I am still working hard, listening, learning, evolving and developing my skills to try and make a difference to the community and organisations that I serve.
Mrs L Critchlow
Cockington Primary and Audley Park School educated, followed by a Foundation course at Art College and distance learning at Hereford College for various Hotel and Catering courses.
I am Vice chair of the Governing Body of Torquay Academy and Chair of the HR and Safeguarding committee and take a special interest in Safeguarding and Children Looked After. From 1999 I was employed as a Project Officer by Devon County Council representing the client, working in the Built Environment team. Before retirement my work was directly associated with the commissioning and delivery of numerous major capital primary, secondary and children’s centre projects as well as three new primary schools and two special schools, Cranbrook new community schools provision in East Devon. I have worked with school stakeholders as well as technical design and construction team members and have also supported schools with a range of matters relating to the school estate. Prior to this I was employed within the Client catering service for schools, covering the whole of Devon.
I am also a governor on the Torbay’s Virtual School Governing Body which looks in detail at the education provision for children who are looked after and how well their needs are being met. Passionate about the importance of the highest quality of education in the growth and development of all our young people.
Educated at primary and secondary schools in the South Hams and Torbay, followed by Foundation and Degree courses at Ruskin College, Oxford and the University of Sheffield. I became a Parent governor in 2013 am now a Community Governor and member of the HR and Safeguarding Committee. I have worked in the voluntary and community sector for 28 years; formerly Chief Executive Of Age Concern Torbay, I’m now Community Funding Advisor at Torbay Community Development Trust, Vice-Chair of Torquay United Supporters Trust and am also trustee of a small, local men’s health charity. I’m a member of The Institute of Fundraising and a Fellow of the Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs. I fully support the creation and development of the Multi-Academy Trust and believe every student at Torbay Academy has gifts and talents that need to be recognised and developed. Torquay Academy is now an impressive environment and distinctive place of learning, and as a governor my aim is to help maximise the opportunities the Academy provides for both students and the wider community.
I was born and educated in Torbay and then went to Manchester University to study for a degree in Mathematics and then a Masters degree in Statistics. This perhaps, at least in part, explains my long-time support of Man. Utd. F.C!
I returned to Torbay after my degree to take a post at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School teaching Mathematics in 1977. Apart from a two-year ‘hop across the bay’ to Churston I have spent the remainder of my career at TBGS. I have also been a principal examiner for A level Statistics and wrote a textbook to support students studying for this exam. I have also taught trainee teachers at Marjons on a part-time basis.
I became a governor (originally at Torquay Community College) to support the strong working relationship Torquay Boys’ Grammar has with Torquay Academy and continued my role when Torquay Academy achieved Academy Status. As someone born and brought up in Torbay, I feel strongly that those involved in education in Torbay must strive to make the educational offer to students in Torbay outstanding and I believe that Torquay Academy is playing a major part in improving the educational life chances of students in this area.
Mr D Graham
Originally from the South West, I moved around the UK as a child before settling, and then completing a Mechanical Engineering Degree, in Aberdeen. I subsequently took a commission in the Royal Navy, specialising as a Nuclear Propulsion Engineering Officer, passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in 1988. This followed a very rewarding 26-year career in the Service with appointments in 3 ships, 4 submarines and numerous shore-based roles around the UK, including at the Navy’s Headquarters, the Ministry of Defence, the centre for equipment procurement and the Navy’s submarine base in Scotland, as Head of all Engineering delivery on-site to achieve readiness for Defence Outputs.
As part of the above, we returned to the South West in 2007 upon appointment to the Naval College in Dartmouth as the second-in-command and following that role have cemented our roots in Torquay, where my wife is originally from, with our eldest attending Torquay Academy.
Today, I am the Managing Director of a medium sized engineering consultancy providing critical support to the Defence and Civil Nuclear sectors and I am passionate about enabling access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) related undergraduate and apprenticeship opportunities to all.
Mr G Grute
Firstly I would like to say how delighted I am to be offered the opportunity as a Parent Governor at Torquay Academy. I am a semi -retired business manager and work for two shortened days with the local NHS Trust in Commercial Development. I have significant experience in both adult social care as a proprietor of a residential home and in children’s services as a director of an independent foster agency. Therefore I am no stranger to working with public authorities.
I became a governor as I am passionate about helping young people achieve their potential by receiving a world class education. I am here to work as part of a team of governors to ensure youngsters have the best opportunities to succeed whilst growing into responsible and caring individuals.
My personal beliefs on how this is best achieved have such close synergy with Torquay Academy’s beliefs that I know I will enjoy working with the children, staff and families within the school community.
Mrs K Mortimore
I am currently a Lead Practitioner at Torquay Academy and have responsibility for Literacy across the school. I have worked at TA for five years and have been a teacher for 13 years. I have a Masters in Advanced Subject Teaching from the University of Cambridge where I researched Narrowing the Achievement Gap.
Mrs K Porter
I was born and educated in Torquay, attending Torquay Girls’ Grammar School and South Devon College. I worked as a legal secretary at WBW before becoming the Company Secretary of a local yacht sales company. For 12 years, I worked at Abbey School as School Administrator and currently work at Stover School as PA to the Executive Head Teacher.
I have a keen interest in education and was delighted to be elected as a Parent Governor at Torquay Academy at the end of 2015 serving on the HR & Safeguarding Committee, where I am currently Vice-Chair, and also serving on the Curriculum & Narrowing the Gap Committee.
Both my son and daughter attend Torquay Academy and I am thrilled to be part of the Academy’s success and am devoted to ensuring that this success continues.
Mrs D Puddicombe
Born in Paignton and educated at Torquay Girls’ Grammar School, I spent 25 years working in the Banking Industry leading people and driving Customer Service. I now work for myself as an Interior Designer.
I am a mum of two children both in secondary education, with my son now a pupil at Torquay Academy. I am looking forward to being part of the schools continued progress and will work enthusiastically as part of the Governors team to ensure the children have the best opportunities to succeed.
Originally from South-East England and having spent the last 20 or so years working abroad, I returned to UK and relocated to Torbay in 2016.
I am a Chartered Accountant and have had a varied career in the private sector encompassing professional practice, manufacturing, oil, mining, leisure and fast-moving consumer goods. For the last 2 years I have been Head of Finance at TDA, which provides professional property services and on behalf of Torbay Council, leads on economic development initiatives across the region.
I see education and skills development as being absolutely crucial to future prosperity and feel very pleased and privileged to be able to play a small part in supporting the excellent work of the team at Torquay Academy.
I am married with two children – one currently at the school, and one former pupil. My interests away from work include anything to do with railways, playing bass guitar,and small boats with big engines.
Mrs C Baxter
I have lived in the South West since undertaking my law degree at Exeter University in 2000. I am now an Associate Solicitor with Boyce Hatton LLP and have been with the firm for almost 10 years. I am a member of the Commercial Property team undertaking a broad variety of commercial transactions.
As well as a mother of 3 young boys, I am a local Scout Leader and enjoy teaching the scouts to sail during the summer months. I also regularly attend circuit training at a local gym and love music and dancing.
As one of the newest members of the board of governors, I hope to be able to help the school to build on the already impressive progress made and hope that my skills will be useful to the school in facing and overcoming the challenges facing all schools in the years to come.
I was born In Torquay and educated at the Boys Grammar School. I have worked in local government for over 25 years in customer service and finance.
I was a foundation governor at Torre Church of England Academy until 2016 as well as holding the role of parent governor at Torquay Academy since May 2015.
With two children at the school, I take a keen interest in how the academy is responding to the new challenges that all young people face in our ever changing world.
My parents were both Torquay born and bred so, although I was born in Manchester it was not long before they returned to Devon. The furthest I moved away since then was Exeter, where I obtained my degree and trained to teach between 1990-1994.
I was a teacher in various schools in Torbay and Devon for 24 years, from September 1994 – August 2018. I taught in secondary, primary, mainstream and specialist settings.
I left teaching to take on a role with Devon Local Authority as a Local Education Officer with the SEND 0-25 team. I am the caseworker for many young people with an EHCP.
I am passionate about ensuring the most vulnerable young people in our society do not miss out on opportunities available and are supported in the most appropriate and effective ways.
Mrs H Jeffreys
Clerk to Governors
Having been born and educated in the North of England, I spent most of my working life in the banking industry before taking a career break to move to Torbay in 2011. I have experience of governance having served for 5 years as a Chair of Governors at a Church of England Primary School in Torbay. I became Clerk to Governors at Torquay Academy in November 2014, and in June 2018, I also took on the role as Clerk to Trustees for Torquay Boys’ Grammar School Multi Academy Trust. I am married with two children and live in Churston Ferrers. In my spare time, I like to play golf and I am a member of Churston Golf Club.