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Governance 

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The Chair of Governors can be contacted via Rebecca Tills, the Clerk to Governors at rebecca.tills@laidlawschoolstrust.com, Laidlaw Schools Trust, Suite 2, 3rd Floor, St Nicholas Building, St Nicholas’ Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RF or 0191 6622 416.

Laura Robb

Laura Robb

Chair of Governor

I came to Newcastle in 1994 as a student and have lived here ever since. I now have a husband, who works in Sunderland, and 2 boys, who are both at secondary school. I have been a governor for nearly 8 years at West Jesmond Primary. I have really enjoyed being involved with this school, but now that my boys have moved on, it’s time to get involved in a different school in the city.

While being a governor I have learnt a lot about how education works and where Governance can really make a difference. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in at a new school and helping develop and grow the school in a way that will best serve the needs of all its diverse pupils and their families.

Stephen McCready

Stephen McCready

Vice Chair of Governors

Steve is a civil servant, working for the Government Digital Service (GDS), a directorate of the Cabinet Office. His role at GDS is to help other government departments to develop their digital and technology  strategies, and to ensure that investments in this space are in line with wider government strategy and standards. He has worked in the technology arena for the majority of his career, having previously worked at Newcastle University within the Computing and Library Services, and at IBM where he held a number of senior roles throughout the UK. Apart from Steve’s professional interactions with the education system, he is married to a teacher and has a daughter in the primary school system in Northumberland. Steve is committed to the Trust’s aims of improving the opportunities and life-chances of children and young people in the North East of England.

Zita Ali

Zita Ali

Parent Governor

Zita was elected as Parent Governor in July 2019. Originally from Portugal, Zita has lived in the UK from a young age. Starting her career in restaurant management, Zita is now self-employed and manages her time between family and her work. Prior to becoming a Parent Governor for Westgate Hill Primary Academy, Zita was part of a Parents Group for Ashfield Nursery. Part of her role included organising fundraiser events which enabled the school to provide pupils with unique enrichment experiences. Zita currently has three children attending Westgate Hill Primary Academy and is passionate about pupils reaching their true potential.

Peregrine Solly

Peregrine Solly

Local Governors

Prior to his involvement with the Laidlaw Schools Trust and The Children’s Foundation, Peregrine worked for two of the North East’s leading Companies: Vickers plc (later BAE Systems plc) and Scottish and Newcastle plc. His role for both companies took him all over the World and gave him a fascinating and unrivalled experience working across different cultures and different organisations. Peregrine still consults for a number of start-up companies, helping them to develop their businesses internationally. Although he has not been directly involved in education before joining the Trust, Peregrine grew up in a school, his brothers both teach and he is married to a teacher. He fully supports the Trust’s aim of improving the opportunities and life-chances of some of the most disadvantaged children and young people in the North East of England.

Bernard Clark

Bernard Clark

Local Governor

Bernard Clark is a qualified teacher. Bernard has very recent experience as a specialist adviser for a school improvement team in the north of England following a secondment from his role as assistant headteacher in a large 11- 18 comprehensive school. Before that he was a subject leader for modern languages and director of specialism. He also has particular expertise in the sixth form.

Hannah Williamson

Hannah Williamson

Associate Governor

Hannah is a Deputy Headteacher at Excelsior Academy in Newcastle which is another school within the Laidlaw Schools Trust. Her role involves responsibilities for teaching and learning, curriculum and Maths within the Primary phase. Prior to beginning her teaching career, she worked as a volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka for one year which gave her her first insight into working with children who have English as an additional language. Hannah has worked in teaching for 14 years in the North East and within that time has had the opportunity to be a Leading Maths teacher for Newcastle Local Authority, a Deputy Head teacher in Sunderland and she continues to be a regular lecturer at Durham University on both the Primary BA and PGCE courses.  She has taught across the Primary phase and in Key Stage Three. Her career has always been dedicated to working in areas of high deprivation in order to make a significant difference to children which is why she is strongly committed to working within the Laidlaw Schools Trust. Hannah has a real passion for teaching and learning and is completely committed to ensuring every child is provided with the best education.

David Robinson

David Robinson

Local Governor