Set up by schools for schools, we are the first and only school-led regional network in the UK.
In 2007, a group of Head Teachers came together to establish SCHOOLS NorthEast. Their aim was to create a unique culture of collaboration and mutual support amongst North East schools to ensure the best possible outcomes for all of our region’s young people. Ten years on, SCHOOLS NorthEast is stronger than ever.
Over the years, we have worked to facilitate new projects and additional support, connect schools to each other and external organisations such as business, provide a strategic voice for our members and promote a wider understanding of the issues facing education in the North East.
SCHOOLS NorthEast is governed by our 11 Trustees, 3 co-opted Trustees and 26 strong advisory board of local Head Teachers, elected by their peers in each area, who provide SCHOOLS NorthEast with direction and support. We also have a core team of 10 based in Newcastle.
With a well-established annual calendar of events, a Weekly Update with a distribution of over 3,000 readers and over 3,000 Twitter Followers, SCHOOLS NorthEast’s influence is growing both locally and nationally!
SCHOOLS NorthEast is an inclusive network led by Head Teachers creating unique culture of collaboration and mutual support and bringing the expertise of our members to benefit developments within our region.
Our young people are confident, enterprising, skilled and aspiring; learning and developing within well-resourced, nurturing and purposeful school environments.
Our school leaders, governors and staff demonstrate exceptional professionalism enjoying the resounding confidence of students, parents, communities, employers and decision-makers.
Our Head Teachers have a powerful voice regionally and nationally. By working collaboratively and creatively with their peers and external partners, they develop expertise, shape policy and drive change. We are recognised as a centre for innovation and the bench-mark of excellence.
Our region is vibrant, self reliant and outward looking, featuring a dynamic economy, healthy environment and distinctive culture.
Advisory Board Members
|Sunderland||Colin Lofthouse||Primary||Rickleton Primary School|
|Sunderland||John Hallworth||Secondary||Consilium Academies|
|Sunderland||Claire Smith||Primary||Hill View Infant School|
|Stockton-on-Tees||Craig Walker||Secondary||Northfield School & Sports College|
|Stockton-on-Tees||Julia Armstrong||Primary||Hartburn Primary School|
|South Tyneside||Liz Hayes||Secondary||Boldon School|
|South Tyneside||Gemma Jeynes||Primary||Valley View Primary School|
|Redcar and Cleveland||Carl Faulkner||Primary||Normanby Primary|
|Redcar and Cleveland||Linda Halbert||Secondary||Freebrough Academy|
|Redcar and Cleveland||Grant Hopkins||Primary||Lockwood Primary School|
|Northumberland||Caroline Pryer||Middle Schools||Ponteland Middle School|
|Northumberland||Andrew Hudson||Primary||Mickley First School|
|North Tyneside||Ian Wilkinson||Secondary||George Stephenson High School|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||Sarah Holmes-Carne||Secondary||Kenton School|
|Middlesbrough||Lisa Biggin||Primary||Ayresome Primary School|
|Middlesbrough||Phil Latham||Secondary||Macmillan Academy|
|Hartlepool||Mark Tilling||Secondary||High Tunstall College of Science|
|Hartlepool||John Hardy||Primary||St John Vianney RC Primary School|
|Gateshead||Matt Younger||Primary||Colegate Community Primary School|
|Gateshead||Steve Haigh||Secondary||Whickham School|
|Durham||David Priestley||Secondary||Greenfield Community College|
|Durham||Kieran McLoughlin||Independent schools||Durham School|
|Durham||Annette Sowden||Primary||St Mary's RC Primary School|
|Darlington||Mandy Southwick||Special School||Marchbank Free School|
Mike Parker is Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, the UK’s first and only regional schools network encompassing 1,250 schools.
A former national journalist and Business Editor, Mike is an external affairs specialist who has devoted much of his working career to campaigning for positive change across education, business, housing and social care sectors.
Mike has extensive experience of working in and for networks, supporting organisations to engage, share best practice and providing a representative voice.
In addition to leading the SCHOOLS NorthEast charity, Mike is also on the Department for Education ISSP Forum; the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School Governance and Leadership; the National Careers Service Partnership Advisory Group; the Education Endowment Foundation Advisory Board on £10m NE Primary Literacy Campaign; and, a school governor.
Director of Operations & Development
Prior to joining SCHOOLS NorthEast, Chris worked with over 165 schools in the North East and various education organisations including local authorities, Excellence Partnerships, 14-19 Groups, the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust, and School Improvement Officers. He led a large scale culture change project in education across the North East and was the development consultant for the LEGI funded Wansbeck Enterprise Education Network. Chris has 12 years of strategic and business development, consultancy and client-management experience at a ‘Big Four' accountancy firm and various financial institutions and an MBA from Durham University Business School.
Erin joined SCHOOLS NorthEast in September 2016 as Accounts Apprentice. She successfully completed the AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting in her first year and is now working toward the AAT Level 3 Certificate. Erin is often the first point contact at the SCHOOLS NorthEast Office.
Sam joined SCHOOLS NorthEast in March 2017 as Events Co-ordinator and in October 2017 she was promoted to Events Manager. Sam has an extensive background in events; before joining SCHOOLS NorthEast she worked as a Leisure Centre Supervisor providing a wide range of in-house events. Previous to this, she was an Assistant Entertainments Manager for Bourne Leisure. Sam is very passionate about providing a better future for children and young people, which is what drew her to SCHOOLS NorthEast.
Pauline joined SCHOOLS NorthEast in July 2017 as Business Manager and has almost 20 years’ of education experience through working in Northumberland Schools. She was previously a School Business Manager and also comes with Governance experience having served as both a Governor and Associate Governor in Northumberland. She understands the challenges faced by schools and is committed to making a difference to the learning chances of pupils in the region, which is what drew her to SCHOOLS NorthEast.
Marketing and Communications Officer
Nicola joined SCHOOLS NorthEast in August 2017 as the charity’s Marketing and Communications Officer. She has spent six years working in the third sector, previously working at East Durham Business Service (EDBS) in Peterlee and, prior to joining SCHOOLS NorthEast, Nicola worked in the Marketing department of Newcastle University Students’ Union (NUSU), building up an excellent knowledge of Marketing to diverse audiences, engaging with the media and promoting the fantastic work of a charity.
Lucy joined SCHOOLS NorthEast in 2017. She has previously worked for membership organisations such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Codeworks Centre for Digital Excellence, representing and supporting members in these organisations across the North East. Prior to this she was Events Manager for Business Link North East, where she worked for four years. During this time she built an excellent understanding of the North East region, and how to engage with and bring together organisations from all parts of the region.
Christopher joined SCHOOLS NorthEast in August 2017 as Policy Officer. He has six years of experience in policy work, having served as researcher to Iain Wright, former MP for Hartlepool and Chair of Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, from 2011 to 2017. During this time, he developed a strong ability to understand and interpret Government policy.
Business Admin Apprentice
Sarah joined SCHOOLS NorthEast in January 2018 as the Business Admin Apprentice, and is currently working towards her OCR Qualification within Business Administration.
In her 14 years at Northern Grid for Learning as Project and Events Manager, Lianne was responsible for all company events including seminars, workshops and an annual national education conference. The annual conference had a national reputation and delegates include Local Authority officials, Head Teachers, teachers and IT personnel including Keynote speakers, workshop leaders and commercial exhibitors. The conference generated commercial interest and Lianne was successful in obtaining full sponsorship and consistently returned a significant profit for the company.
As her passion lies in events organisation, outside of work in Lianne's spare time, she organises successful events for charities which have included variety performances and Dance Competitions and showcases at the Tyne Theatre, Newcastle.
Our School Business Manager Council was founded in 2013 to build upon the existing local SBM networks, and provide a platform in every type and phase of school in the region.
The Council aims to:
Enable colleagues from across the region to meet and share intelligence and Best Practice with each other and their local networks;
Develop a powerful voice for the North East’s SBMs and raise their profile with Head Teachers to ensure they fully understand the contribution that SBMs make to North East schools;
Provide local and regional support, bespoke to each local area/ network.
The Council is comprised of School Business Managers from across the different sub-areas of the North East. The complete list of council members can be found here.