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Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay

Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay

Founder, Sponsor & Member

Biography

Irvine Laidlaw is passionate about supporting young people to better themselves and achieve their maximum potential, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. He is a generous supporter of the Trust allowing opportunities for pupils and students to access the kinds of life-changing activities and support they would otherwise find hard to access.

Lord Laidlaw is also a big believer in having the right kind of environment to support teaching and learning and has supported this by providing funding for better accommodation in our academies. He is keen to sponsor other Academies and would welcome interest from schools wishing to become academies in the North East of England area.

Peter Fair

Peter Fair

Member

Biography

Peter Fair has many years’ experience in the Education Sector at very senior level in schools and within local and national government and has a wealth of knowledge of the Academies and Free Schools Programme. He was awarded the O.B.E. for services to Education.

Peter served the Laidlaw Schools Trust with enormous distinction for over a decade, as personal representative for the Sponsor, Lord Laidlaw, as Chief Executive and as Chairman of the Trust. The  sustained improvements that have benefited the LST, are testament to his work with the sponsor and the board of Trustees to raise aspirations, expectations and achievement.

Susanna Kempe

Susanna Kempe

Chair & Member

Chair of Standards Committee
Remuneration Committee
Estates Committee
Biography

Susanna’s professional experience includes over 15 years in senior leadership roles in international B2B and learning businesses.

She began her career at the Institute for International Research (IIR) where she first worked with Lord Laidlaw, rising to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). When IIR, was acquired by Informa Plc in 2005 Susanna was appointed CMO of the enlarged group. Susanna subsequently joined Emap Ltd as Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer and CEO of Emap Networks, that group’s conferences business. Later she became CEO of the fashion industry forecaster WGSN and was latterly Group Content and Marketing Partner of the leading strategy consultancy Brunswick Group.

A German-American raised and educated in the UK and a committed internationalist, Susanna has been involved in globally trading businesses throughout her career, directing activity in the Americas, across continental Europe, and the Asia Pacific.

She believes experiencing and appreciating different cultures promotes better global understanding, creativity and leadership. She is passionate about the power of education to transform lives; and is committed to developing a new generation of diverse leaders who are curious, bold and determined to act with integrity.

Susanna read English and Philosophy at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. She has five half blues in swimming and water polo, and played netball and rowed for Newnham.

Matt Waugh

Matt Waugh

Member

Jane Spence

Jane Spence

CEO

Operations Committee
Liaison Committee
Biography

Jane has worked in education in the north east her whole career. Starting as a health educator for the NHS, moved into teaching health sciences in further education. Teaching and then in management, Jane worked in colleges across the region for ten years before moving to work for an awarding body developing qualifications for national accreditation. She then spent several years as Senior Education Advisor for the Learning and Skills Council, then as Young People’s Learning Director for a funding agency. Jane then moved to the Department for Education working on the academies programme, latterly to the Regional School Commissioner. Since May 2017 Jane has been the CEO of The Laidlaw Schools Trust having spent three years previously as a non-executive trustee and being impressed by its philosophy.

Peter Snowdon

Peter Snowdon

COO & Accounting Officer

Operations Committee
Audit Committee
Estates Committee
Liaison Committee
Remuneration Committee
Standards Committee
Biography

Peter started his working career as a Work Study Engineer in private industry before moving into the public sector. He worked at Sunderland City Council from 1979 to 2007 specialising in Education HR and became Head of HR and Governor Support in the Education Department of the Council supporting the City’s 117 schools. 

He joined LST in August 2007 as the Trust’s first Business Manager assisting Philomena Marshall to open Newcastle’s first Academy, Excelsior Academy. He managed the Trust’s business operations from August 2007 until March 2016 when he became Consultant Director of Operations for the Trust. Peter has also been Company Secretary since February 2011.

Peter’s interests include mountaineering and he was a member of the team that visited Everest Base Camp in October 2014 accompanying eight Year 12 Excelsior Academy students on an extremely successful expedition to Nepal. For several years, Peter was a Trustee and Chairman of a Newcastle based Charity, Reviving the Heart of the West End, which supported local young people to enter into the world of business and commerce.

Graham Robertson

Graham Robertson

Member

Biography

Graham is an international accountant and has worked with LST since 2006. He played a key role in setting up the Trust and continues to work closely with the Sponsor, CEO and COO.

Andrew Hunter

Andrew Hunter

Trustee

Standards Committee
Biography

Andrew Hunter has experience of working in schools for 37 years, he was a Housemaster at both Worksop College, Nottinghamshire and Bradfield College, Berkshire.  In August 2018, he retired from the Headship of Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, having led the school for twenty years. Andrew has a simple educational philosophy with a three-part focus: academic inspiration through passionate subject teachers, co-curricular enrichment through activities and societies, and pupil support through individual pastoral care that gives every child a chance. Governorship roles have included Kilgraston School, Perth, Newcastle School for Boys and Ardvreck Prep School, Crieff. At present, he sits on the Board of Trustees of The Laidlaw Schools Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust in Newcastle. Andrew is trained as a mentor and appraiser for new HMC headteachers. He also sits on the Advisory Board of the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation. He acts as an educational advisor for Merchiston International School, (MIS), Shenzhen, China, which opened in August 2018 and he is a governor of MIS.

Andrew was born in Kenya; he was educated at Kenton, Nairobi before completing his education within the UK at Aldenham School, Elstree and the University of Manchester where he read English, Theology and Biblical Studies.

Linda Conlon MBE

Linda Conlon MBE

Trustee

Vice Chair of Trust Board
Chair of Remuneration Committee
Biography

Linda Conlon is responsible for managing the International Centre for Life, a £90m science village in the heart of Newcastle. It brings together a University medical research institute, two National Health Service clinics, biotechnology businesses, a popular science centre and education facilities on a single site, all with the aim of enriching lives through science. This unique project has fostered inter-disciplinary collaboration among the 600-strong workforce, achieving some spectacular results – e.g. the world’s first cloned human embryo was created at Life.

Life is financially self-sustaining thanks to an entrepreneurial business model, with a diverse range of income generators, including a substantial property portfolio. In 2016, it was awarded the Not for Profit Organisation of the Year Award at the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

Linda is a past President of the Association of Science and Technology Centres, the body representing over 650 science centres globally and is currently Chair of its Global Task Force. She was the first European to be elected to the role. She has also served on the Ecsite board and is a former Chair of ASTC.

She is a governor of the Laidlaw Schools Trust, a multi-academy trust that manages a number of schools in the West end of Newcastle and in Sunderland, many of which serve children in severely deprived areas. She was recently appointed to the governing body of Newcastle University and, is also, a trustee of the Heart of the City Partnership, which is charged with safeguarding and promoting Newcastle’s medieval quarter.  Previously, she was a non-executive director of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust and an executive member of NE1, the Business Improvement District Company for Newcastle. In 2016 she was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) by the Queen for services to science and science education.

Linda’s career before the world of science centres was in regional development and urban regeneration, where she was involved in the creation of major high profile waterfront developments, helping to bring in £1 billion of investment. Before that, she ran her own marketing consultancy and in her early career, worked for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the multi-national company, Procter and Gamble.

Peregrine Solly

Peregrine Solly

Trustee

Chair of Liaison Committee
Representative of Chairs
Operations Committee
Audit Committee
Estates Committee
Biography

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.

Penny Sehgal

Penny Sehgal

Trustee

Chair of Operations Committee
Chair of Audit Committee
Remuneration Committee
Biography

Penny Sehgal read BA (Hons) Accountancy & Law at Newcastle University, graduating with first class honours in 1995 and then trained to become a Chartered Accountant with Pricewaterhouse Coopers (Newcastle). After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, in 1998, Penny Sehgal continued to work with PwC as a Tax Consultant for 5 years. She is now Director in charge of Finance and Marketing for the Michael Sehgal Group, with varied property, healthcare, retail and manufacturing interests and extensive links in the Community to local businesses. As an active member of the Hindu Community, Penny regularly organises religious events and festivals.  She is also a Trustee of The Michael Sehgal Foundation, a charitable organisation that provides sponsorship to assist deserving overseas students to study at Northumbria University and she is a patron member of the Community Foundation, Asian Fund, which provides assistance to numerous local charitable causes.

Chris Pennison

Chris Pennison

Trustee

Chair of Estates Committee
Operations Committee
Biography

Having spent the last thirty-five years in Industry and Manufacturing across the North East, working for some of the most well known companies including Fisher Price, Black & Decker and businesses local to Sunderland, Chris has a great insight into the world of business. He became responsible for his first business at the age of twenty eight, and has worked for a number of companies since then. This has given him a great insight into the how businesses and people work.

During his previous role as Chair of Governors at Academy 360 in Pennywell, Chris has supported the educational system for many years. Chris also has various family members who are in the teaching profession, and he has remained close to the educational establishment throughout his life.  Having the ability to be able to support both Academy 360, and the Trust, in the combined aims of delivering opportunity, and improving the future of all our children within the Trust is something of which he is fully supportive.

Paul West

Paul West

Trustee

Standards Committee
Biography

Paul is the Chief Executive Officer and Accounting Officer of Spencer Academies Trust, one of the leading multi-academy trusts in the UK with 21 Academies and over 16000 students. Spencer Academies Trust also features a multi-structure Teaching School Alliance, and one of only 22 Research Schools in the UK. Spencer Trust provides educational leadership development programmes for all levels of leadership including executive leadership.

Paul was previously the Executive Director of Education and Executive Principal for Delta Academies Trust, an educational charity and one of the UK’s largest Multi-Academy Trusts with 40 primary and secondary academies and three Free Schools. Paul’s career covers significant experience in school and system leadership as a Principal, Executive Principal and Director in a range of schools in the UK and internationally.

Paul is a trained Ofsted Inspector and in 2011 was recognised as an outstanding system leader through his designation as a National Leader of Education. In 2012 Paul was invited to participate in the National College for Teaching and Leadership’s flagship Fellowship Programme, working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to look at curriculum driven solutions to enable all children and young people to access learning and progression to drive social mobility.

Lesley Boyle

Lesley Boyle

Trustee

Liaison Committee

Biography

Lesley’s career background is predominantly sales and marketing, working in local media in the North East. In her early twenties, she held the position of Sales Manager for the Newcastle Times (Times Free Press Group) for approximately four years before moving into commercial radio for over twenty years with Metro Radio and TFM (Emap, then Bauer Media) and then Star Radio (UKRD ). Lesley held a number of positions including Regional Sales Manager, Acting Sales Director and Director of Corporate, Community & Education. During this time, Lesley also worked with primary schools, secondary schools and a local college, helping students create content for programming to air on Star Radio and also was heavily involved in the Future Business Magnates competition through Star with Durham County Council, seeing students grow and develop in confidence whilst working with local businesses.

Lesley has also trained as a teaching assistant and her love of education has been with her for many years, with some of her family members being teachers. Lesley’s daughter attended one of LST’s academies, Sedgefield Community College, where Lesley served as a governor for seven years.

Lesley’s current role is Publicity, Events & Fundraising Manager for Durham Sixth Form Centre, rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED, the largest post 16 school in the North of England. Among many responsibilities, her role covers the marketing of the sixth form to prospective students and parents, the hosting of events and student recruitment interviews.

Eileen Bolton

Eileen Bolton

Additional Member

Liaison Committee
Biography

Eileen has worked in a number of educational institutions including a variety of primary schools in Newcastle and two of the local universities. As a Deputy Headteacher for a primary school in a deprived area Eileen enjoyed the many challenges and successes the role brought. Eileen has also been involved in visiting local schools to audit Key Stage 1 SATs. Her involvement in universities included developing school-based training for trainee teaching students and became the link tutor with Northumbria, Newcastle and Sunderland Universities for students on the BA and PGCE teaching courses. A great believer in continuous personal development and continuing her own personal studies she has also achieved certificates for Mentoring and Assessing Students from Lancaster University; National Professional Studies for Headship and Masters in Education from Newcastle University.

Alan Hodgson

Alan Hodgson

Additional Member

Standards Committee

Biography

Alan taught for the first eleven years of his career in a secondary school in North Kensington, which is one of the most deprived and socially challenged areas of London. During that time he held senior positions as Head of Year and Head of History, teaching O Level, GCSE and A Level.

He moved with his family to Northumberland and was Deputy Head at Corbridge Middle School for nearly seven years and then Head Teacher at St Joseph’s, Hexham for nineteen years. During his headship the school was inspected five times by Ofsted and was never graded less than “ good with outstanding features”.

Since his retirement in 2015 he has worked as a consultant for Cambridge Assessment International Education part of the University of Cambridge. He has successfully carried out many compliance inspections in China, USA, Indonesia, Bermuda and UK.

Chris Jobe

Chris Jobe

Additional Member

Remuneration Committee
Estates Committee
Biography

Chris was formerly the Solicitor to and Company Secretary of Northern Rock PLC, retiring in 2008 as the Company’s North East Director. He has been active in charitable, community and regional affairs throughout his working life and into retirement. He has first hand experience of helping young people achieve their potential through his Chairmanship of The Princes’ Trust Regional Council. He has assisted in helping young people gain academic qualifications and to prepare themselves for life thereafter through his Governorship of Sunderland University and his Trusteeship of their Students’ Union. He has helped people in fulfilling their career potential through his Chairmanship of Common Purpose on Tyneside. He is presently a member of the North East Advisory Board of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres and a Trustee of The Chronicle Sunshine Fund, a charity helping disabled children.

Laura Robb

Laura Robb

Additional Member

Liaison Committee
Biography

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.

Steve McCready

Steve McCready

Additional Member

Operations Committee
Biography

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.

Julie McGrane

Julie McGrane

Additional Member

Standards Committee

Executive Team

Peter Snowdon

Peter Snowdon

COO & Accounting Officer

Dave Davies

Dave Davies

Director of School Improvement (Secondary)

Keeley Wood

Keeley Wood

Director of School Improvement (Primary)

Philomena Marshall OBE

Philomena Marshall OBE

Consultant Director of Education