The role of Academy Councils within the Learning Trust

Academy Councils contribute to the work of the Learning Trust in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in the school by: 

  • keeping the focus on school improvement
  • being a critical friend to the school, offering support and advice 
  • providing assurances to the board about school performance and about the views of staff, parents and students
  • helping the school respond to the needs of parents and the community 
  • making the school accountable to the public for what it does 
  • working with the school on planning, developing policies and keeping these under review
  • working with the headteacher school staff to exercise the powers and responsibilities delegated by the board through the process of earned autonomy; and 
  • not intervening in the day-to-day management of the school unless there are weaknesses and a suitable course of action has been approved by the Board of the Learning Trust

Trust Governance Roles

Governance Recruitment

Stobhillgate Academy Councillors


Sarah Watson (Chair)I have worked as an Occupational Therapist in the NHS for 18 years and currently work within major trauma at the RVI. It has provided me with numerous skills that I utilise when being the Chair of the Academy Council.
I have been a part of Stobhillgate's governing body now for approximately 5 years and during that time I have been actively involved in all aspects of the school, from budget planning to recruitment. All three of my children have been through the school and on into Chantry and eventually KEVI.
Stobhillgate is a fantastic school and I am passionate on ensuring that we continue to grow and flourish providing an amazing experience for all students who come through our doors.
Louise BanfieldI have worked in education for the last 20 years in both schools and the private sector. I qualified as a Geography Teacher in 2008 and I am currently a Head of Department in a large comprehensive secondary school in Newcastle. I am also a designated SLE (Specialist Leader in Education) and in this role have worked on outreach support with other schools in the city to help improve educational outcomes for all young people. I strongly believe that all children should be inspired and enthused by their time in the classroom and encouraged to achieve their full potential irrespective of their background. I am link Academy Councillor for SEND, helping ensure that pupils with disabilities and special educational needs are included in the full life of the school.

My husband grew up in Morpeth and I have lived here for 15 years. My children are 9 and 6 and have both attended Stobhillgate First School where they loved every minute of it!
Milly MathesonI have worked as a small animal veterinarian for 15 years and am completely new to being an Academy Councillor.
I am very excited to be part of the Three Rivers Learning Trust and part of Stobhillgate Academy Council. I am passionate about every child being given the opportunity to enrich and develop their learning experience, and to be able to offer support to the children. I have 3 children who are also part of the Three Rivers Learning Trust and I am proud to be involved in some way.
Hayley HerbertsonI qualified as a teacher of Geography in 2004 and took up my first teaching role at Harton Academy where I taught for 14 years. During my time at Harton I took on the role of Advanced Skills Teacher, Lead Practitioner and was designated as an SLE (a Specialist Leader of Education) in January 2012. As part of these roles I carried out outreach work within the authority as well as providing training and support to many trainee teachers as part of both the PGCE and School Direct programme. I didn’t think that I could find another school that I would love working at as much until I applied for a job at Chantry Middle School. I was delighted to join Chantry in January 2018 and I am very proud to say that I am the Subject Leader for both Humanities and RE at Key Stage 3. As a teacher I am a strong believer in making every lesson a valuable learning experience and I believe that young people should be inspired, enthused and challenged to become lifelong learners and be encouraged to reach their full potential. I consider it be a privilege to be part of the Three Rivers Learning Trust and I am delighted to take on the role as an Academy Councillor for Stobhillgate First School. My daughter currently attends the school and is enjoying every minute of it.
Paul CarvinI have been involved in education all my working life. I started out as a Geography teacher and had experience as a senior leader in a large secondary school. I then moved into advisory and inspection work, including for Ofsted. Before retiring, I was Head of Education for Gateshead Council. I am Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Education Committee of The Three Rivers Learning Trust and am interested in promoting high standards and ensuring that all students receive the very best curriculum to suit their needs and expectations. I have two grown up children, both of whom attended KEVI. ​
Andy ClarkI am delighted to join the Academy Council at Stobhillgate. I am currently Deputy Headteacher at The King Edward VI School and lived in the Stobhill area for 15 very happy years. I have been a teacher since 1996, when I started my career as a PE and Geography teacher. I feel very privileged to do a job I enjoy so much and take great pleasure from seeing young people succeed. I believe firmly in equality of opportunity and inclusive education and will work hard to support the staff and students at Stobhillgate to provide a climate for learning in which all students can reach their potential.

I used to love nothing better than playing a game of Football or Rugby, but sadly those days are behind me now! I do still play Cricket and enjoy watching my children play their sports. I enjoy listening to Music, but also enjoy the peace and quiet of long dog walks with my wife in the countryside