Acorn Park Leadership

The Senior Leadership Team are committed to excellence in all areas of our provision.  Acorn Park Children’s and Adults Services are managed separately, for further details about Adult Services click here. Peter Marshall, Head of Service, is responsible for Children’s services in Care and Education, these teams are led by Philippa Whipp, Head of School and Tyrone Best, Head of Care.  All our services, including Therapy and wellbeing led by Selina Wightman, work collaboratively to ensure that all our young people’s needs are met and that staff have the training, support and guidance needed to uphold our shared values: Care, Strive, Grow, Thrive.


Senior Leadership Team

  • Head of Service: Peter Marshall
  • Head of School: Philippa Whipp
  • Head of Care: Tyrone Best
  • Therapy and Wellbeing Lead: Selina Wightman
  • Facilities Manager: Michelle Webb

Education Leadership Team:

  • Head of School: Philippa Whipp
  • Deputy Headteacher & SENCO: Sarah Saunders
  • Deputy Headteacher: Adam Masterson
  • Deputy Headteacher: Emma Willis
  • Senior Designated Safeguarding Lead: Emma Thompson

Care Leadership Team:

  • Head of Care (& Responsible Individual): Tyrone Best
  • Senior Registered Manager: Vanessa Goddard
  • Senior Registered Manager: David Pound
  • House & Night Managers:
    • Julia Playle
    • Deborah Wise
    • Tapera Chaterera
    • Kirsty Orton
    • Robert Rix
    • Sarah Evans

Meet the Senior Team:

Peter Marshall, Head of Service

  • BEng(Hons) Materials Science and Engineering with QTS
  • National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH, 2007)
  • National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL, current)

Additional Training and experience:

  • Designated Safeguarding Trained ( Level 5)
  • Advanced Skills Teacher (ICT)
  • Significant training and experience in Autism, SLD, ADHD, SEMH, Attachment and Trauma

Peter has worked in education since graduating from Bath University, holding a variety of senior leadership positions in mainstream settings with integrated specialist resource units for pupils with special educational needs since 2003.  Peter took his first Headship in 2012 and has since worked as a consultant and executive headteacher in a range of special schools including those specialising in Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), Autism Spectrum (ASC), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties (SEMH).

Peter has considerable leadership experience; his key strengths lie in staff development and training, establishing highly effective systems and processes to support all aspects of service leadership & management and the recruitment and retention of outstanding staff.  Peter’s role as Head of Service is to provide strategic leadership of all the children’s services at Acorn Park, including education, care and therapeutic support.  Peter has a strong record of accomplishment in service improvement and is dedicated to improving the lives of young people and their families through outstanding education and care.

Philippa Whipp, Head of School

  • History With Education Studies (BA Hons)
  • Qualified Teacher Status
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Education – Curriculum Development
  • Diploma in Technical Theatre Arts and Management
  • Advanced Skills Teacher Accreditation
  • National Professional Qualification in Headship (Current)
  • Therapeutic Parenting practitioner
  • SENDCo

Additional Training and experience:

  • Therapeutic Parenting practitioner
  • Founder of a Post Adoption Support resource
  • Positive Parenting – Train the Trainer
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance course
  • Dyslexia: Advanced Professional Practice for Specialist Teachers
  • LEGO therapy course
  • Signalong Course L2
  • Pecs training L2
  • FGM
  • Speaker at AST, Adoption and History Conferences
  • LGBTQ+ support and awareness trained
  • IPSEA Education Law Conference
  • Significant training in Attachment and Trauma
  • Significant training and experience in Autism and ADHD
  • Trainer – Adoption preparation courses
  • CAF Champion Trained
  • Significant training in and experience of Adoption
  • Designated LAC training
  • Designated Safeguarding Trained ( Level 5)
  • Award for Excellence – awarded for 3 projects – Lancashire
  • Speech, Language and Communication Project manager
  • Education Support Officer
  • Graded an Outstanding Teacher by Ofsted
  • ADHD, ASC, SLCN training

Philippa joined Acorn Park on February 25th 2020 via a secondment from her role as Group Education Officer for the Outcomes First Group. She comes to the school with 18+ years of teaching and leadership experience across the North West of England. Philippa has brought her experience of curriculum development, school improvement and SEND knowledge to Acorn Park and became the substantive Head of School in December 2020, making a commitment to the improvement journey of Acorn park and to quality education to its pupils.

Tyrone Best, Head of Care

  • BTEC National Diploma in Health and Social Care – 1999
  • Diploma in Learning and Development – Child Award- 2009
  • ILM Diploma in Management – 2009
  • Post graduate Diploma in Restorative Practice/Mediation Skills – 2012
  • QCF level 5 in registered management (Health and Social Care) December -2017
  • QCF level 5 in Residential Care Management -2017
  • Post Graduate Diploma (level 7) in Leadership & Management of Health and Social Care – 2018
  • Master’s in Public Administration (level 8) obtained April 19
  • Designated Safeguarding Lead Certificate (level 3) obtained July 2020
  • Safeguarding Children Manager Training (level 5) obtained August 2020

Tyrone has over 20 years of active and proven leadership skills and experience within various roles in the Health and Social Care Statutory, Voluntary and Private Sectors. Tyrone has helped set up and registered a new therapeutic residential home for children and young people aged between 11 – 17 years old, including writing all the required assessments, reports and ensured all the policies and procedures are in place. Tyrone also played an active role in the recruitment of the staff team, ensuring staff had obtained all the mandatory and bespoke training to equip them the skills to care and support all the children and young people. Previously worked in acute health sector from 1992-1996.

Tyrone is a trainer in Life Story Work, Restorative Practice and Medication Management.  Tyrone ensured the home is compliant with Ofsted requirements, Children Homes Regulations and Quality Standards 2015 and Commissioners service level agreements. In this role, he has specific interests and knowledge in ensuring children and young people are cared for to reach their full potential, believing in inspiring a diverse staff team through effective learning and development programmes.

Tyrone has previously line managed registered managers for six Children’s Homes; led in Quality Improvement and Practice Leadership; and worked co-productively with internal and external stakeholders including Ofsted/RQIA, Placing Authorities and Allied Support Services.

Tyrone has been the head of 12 residential houses and 5-day services for young people and adults with a learning disability where he improved KPI’s targets, and had overall responsibility of 150 care staff in the organisational and line managed 10 registered managers. Tyrone was actively involved in recruiting, coaching and developing new staff teams as part of the ongoing service development. Tyrone has a formal proven record working closely in service improvement in Quality and Compliance (Regulated Body.)

Selina Wightman, Therapy and Wellbeing Lead and Speech & Language and Communication Lead.

  • BSc Speech Pathology and Therapeutics with Distinction
  • Post Registration Level Paediatric Dysphagia October 2004
  • Highly Specialist Band 7 Speech and Language Therapist Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Dysphagia Speech and Language Therapist
  • Bespoke Leadership Qualification
  • Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) registration number: SL01060
  • Royal College Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) registration number: RC0008337

Additional Training and experience:

  • Sensory Integration
    • Led by Carol Kranowitz- basic level course on sensory integration
  • PECS Pyramid Course: The Picture Exchange Communication System Levels 1-6
  • ADOS trained: Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule
  • Masterclass Leadership training
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance course
  • LEGO therapy course
  • Signalong Course
  • 21 years of Makaton training Bespoke package for parents and professionals: Signs and Symbols Makaton core vocabulary
  • Grid 3 Training Course
  • Mental First Aid training
  • BILD Positive Behaviour Coach training
  • Mental Capacity Assessment training
  • Domestic Abuse Champion training
  • GROW Leadership programme

Selina joined Acorn Park School in November 2020. Her previous experience has been working in the NHS as a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist for 21 years, in the field of autism spectrum conditions and other associated diagnoses. Selina led the diagnosis and intervention part of the service for Autism Spectrum Conditions, working closely with other team members eg Occupational Therapy and CAMHS.  In the last 4 years, she has worked with adults with autism spectrum and mental health presentations. Selina is a Dysphagia Therapist too, which is assessing and treating eating and swallowing difficulties. Selina holds a Leadership qualification and is a Positive Behaviour Support Coach.  Selina’s aim is to work collaboratively with school staff and provide therapy support in a streamlined way in order to address the needs of the children.



Who can I contact for further information?

Please contact Peter Marshall, Head of Service at:

Andrew’s Furlong, Mill Rd, Banham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR16 2HU

T: 01953 888656