Frome Vale Academy Council
Like a Governing Body, the Academy Council’s role is to ensure your children learn in a safe environment and to the maximum of their ability.  The Frome Vale  Academy council typically meets once a term.  There is a standard agenda for each meeting which includes reviewing data on quality of teaching and learning, progress, school budget, attendance, behaviour and safety.  We have also helped to feedback on numerous policies and procedures.
Through ‘Learning walks’ we have been able to see firsthand what happens during the school day and see the children’s learning in action.  Each learning walk is focused on a specific area (eg. Mathematics, reading) and it really helps to bring alive what is actually going on during the day, rather than just reviewing reports and statistics.
The CLF  provides a training programme, which has helped in developing a better understanding of our roles on the academy council, what we should expect to understand and how we should be supporting/challenging the Leadership team.

Our Academy Council Members are:

Brigid Allen – Chair

Brigid has worked in education as a teacher and school leader for over 30  years, most of them in secondary schools in the Bristol area. For the last 10 years she has worked for the Cabot Learning Federation, firstly as Vice Principal and then Principal at Bristol Brunel Academy and more recently running the Leadership Development programmes for teachers who want to become leaders and head teachers  in local schools. 

She has  been an academy councillor for Frome Vale since 2012  and has been the Chair of the Council since 2013.

Brigid is still passionate about education and divides her time between visiting her ever growing family around the world, and continuing with her active roles in the Cabot Learning Federation.


Noelle Rumball (SEND and Vice Chair)

Noelle Rumball currently works for UWE in Student and Academic Services, where her portfolio is predominantly specialist and general advice for students. Her background is mostly in defining and measuring success in the public sector.  On evenings and weekends, she is active in Bristol’s community and voluntary sector and, over the years, she’s been involved in service delivery, community development, and campaigning organisations, both as a leader and a member-at-large. She most enjoys supporting organisations through periods of intensive change and/or great challenge.

Martyn Poole (Health and Safety)

Martyn was born in Bristol and is married to Sue. They have two children

He was educated at Bristol Technical School and worked majority of his life in the Aircraft Industry, starting in the early days of Concorde and retired working on the Airbus A380.

In his later years at Airbus he was a Logistics and Change Manager

For 33 years he has worked with the Bristol Soup Run Trust, a registered charity helping people who are sleeping rough in Bristol. He was chairperson for the charity for several years.

Since retiring he has been a U.K co-ordinator for a small orphanage in India called Haven Home which he visits every year.

For the last nine years he has been a Parish Councillor in Downend and Bromley Heath.

He was awarded the BEM in 2013.

Laura Walder – Parent

Laura joined the School Council in 2015 and has a child at the school. Since university Laura has worked for various Bristol charities and joined Watershed in 2008, where she is now Head of Facilities


Brian Atkins

Brian started his educational sojourn studying for a first degree in Mechanical Engineering followed by a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (Secondary level). He subsequently taught Mathematics and Physics in both Grammar and Comprehensive Secondary schools. Leaving education and entering Architectural consultancy, Brian completed a MSc in Architecture and a PhD in Building Physics. Despite remaining in the commercial world for a considerable period Brian has, nevertheless, lectured at the Open University and the University of the West of England for over six years. Brian is currently semi-retired.



Nikki Dawson  – Pupil Voice Representative


Mandy Milsom – Executive Principal

Mandy started teaching in 1986. She began her teaching career in London and quickly moved into school leadership. She had two headships in East London before relocating to the West Country. Her third headship with at Summerhill Juniors. In 2012 the school converted to academy status and joined the Cabot Learning Federation.

In 2013 Mandy became interim Executive Principal supporting Summerhill, Minerva and Frome Vale Academies. In 2015 Mandy became Executive Principal for Primaries and supported all the primary academies within the Federation. From September Mandy will be leading the Bristol Cluster which has both primary and secondary academies in it.

Mandy is passionate about ensuring that all children have access to great teaching and learning. If they start at a CLF academy in early years and stay with us until Post 16 we want them to leave at 18 as respectful young people ready for the next stage of their education or the world of work.

Dr  Jan Saunders –  Principal

Jan started her career in education in 2001 at Summerhill Academy following a career in electronic publishing. Following 10 years as  a classroom teacher and curriculum leader, Jan moved into senior management together with a coaching and mentoring role  before joining Frome Vale Academy in 2014, first as Associate Principal and then as the substantive Principal. Jan has a keen interest in professional development, completing an MA in Lifelong learning and an educational doctorate researching emotional labour and teaching.


The meetings for 2018/2019 are: 16/10/18,  | 8/1/19 | 26/3/19 | 30/4/19 | 25/6/18 |

If you like to find out more, please email