Business Leadership Team

Lorrayne Hughes, CEO/Executive Headteacher

Lorrayne Hughes, BEd (Hons), CEO

Lorrayne is a successful and outward facing CEO of Cumbria Education Trust.  Cumbria Education Trust is one of the first school based MATs in North Cumbria.

Lorrayne passionately believes in inclusion and that all children deserve a high quality education – children are firmly at the heart of all her strategic decision making.

Lorrayne took up her first Headship at William Howard School in Cumbria in 2007. In January 2014 she was commissioned by the Local Authority to bring about rapid improvement in two special measures schools in Workington, Cumbria. One of the schools was removed from Special Measures within 20 weeks.  Ofsted commented on Lorrayne’s success in December 2014 “Your vision is clear: to build sustainable improvement across the schools for the long-term benefit of students and the Workington community”.

Following this secondment Lorrayne took up the role as CEO of the Trust.

Lorrayne believes in a school led system for school improvement based around autonomy and accountability. She is Chair of CASL (Cumbria Alliance of System Leaders) and is passionate about system leadership and what that can bring to the school improvement agenda.  She strongly believes that schools are better working together and that collaboration can make a difference to all involved.

James Pedlingham

James Pedlingham, Director of Business Leadership



Nick Polmear, Estates Manager

Nick Polmear, Infrastructure and Assurance Director

Nick is the Infrastructure and Assurance Director and was seconded in January 2015 to provide support to the CEO in the development of the Trust Scheme of Delegation, he has also supported with the School Specific Design Brief and Schedule of Accommodation for the Workington Academy PSBP. Nick had previously been the William Howard School Estates Manager, Health and Safety Officer and Safeguarding Coordinator, additionally acting as Support Staff Governor for 9 years. Nick now leads the Trust Estates teams and supports Safeguarding coordination across the Trust.

Nick has significant project management and leadership experience, having served 25 years both at home and overseas as a Royal Air Force communications manager. Nick chaired the International Computer Network Defence Exercise Working Group and delivered the first collaborative information sharing exercise between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and US.  

Martin Robson, ICT Services Manager

Martin Robson, IT Services Manager

Martin started his career in the charity sector working for the British Deaf Association, covering various positions including membership administrator, covenants and legacies officer before taking on a role managing their database and ICT systems.

Martin moved into education in 1995 as Network Manager for Trinity School in Carlisle, overseeing all aspects of the school’s IT system.

Martin joined William Howard School in 2000 as Network Manager and has been responsible for the management of the network and delivery of ICT services, as well as working alongside the school’s leadership team as part of the school management team.

Martin took up the post of ICT Services Manager in June 2016, responsible for the strategic leadership and management of ICT services across the Trust.

Maria Graham, Operations Manager

Maria Graham, PA to CEO

Maria started her career in the giftware industry working in various roles before becoming a Product Development Manager. Following redundancy in 2001, Maria changed direction and moved into education.

Maria joined William Howard School in 2001 and over the years obtained a wealth of knowledge in many aspects of education.  Having worked in a senior administration role for many years, she was appointed as Operations Manager in 2008.  This position was part of a Management Team, which worked alongside the school’s Leadership Team and led on the operational aspects of school life.

In February 2014, Maria was seconded to two secondary schools in Workington, Cumbria to provide business support.  She was working across both schools supporting both the Executive Headteacher and the Heads’ of School in the day to day operational aspects of the schools.

Following her role of Operations Manager with the Trust, Maria became PA to the CEO in September 2017.

Christopher Kearton

Christopher Kearton, Data Manager

Christopher completed a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and Statistics at Warwick University and qualified as a maths teacher in 1997. He began work at Stainburn School in Workington as a Newly Qualified Teacher, progressing to Head of Department in 2007 and Assistant Headteacher in charge of data in 2011, a post he now holds in Workington Academy.

In January 2017 Christopher began a secondment, working for the Trust to support the use of data to drive improvements across all areas of school life and ensuring a consistent approach to data management across all trust academies.


Sue Newstead, Director of Learning Provision (SENCO)

Returning to work after her two children went to school, Sue started her career in SEND as a ‘Special Attachment Welfare assistant’ working in classrooms with children with complex needs.

Sue is now a qualified SENCO (PGCE National SEN Award) and have worked with pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities for almost 17 years. She has a proven track record of outstanding provision noted in three OFSTED inspections. Sue is passionate about inclusion and the opportunities that mainstream school can, and does, offer for those young people with SEND. Realising the importance of good role models and the specialist provision and resources needed which enable schools and educational providers to meet complex needs.

Jane Perella, Student and Family Engagement Manager

Jane has had a wide range of experience within William Howard School and Children’s Services, successfully working with families and professionals to ensure that barriers to learning are addressed and overcome.   Jane holds a Post Graduate Qualification in Child and Adolescence Mental Health, Development and Principles and is a Trainer for Restorative Practices.  Jane is passionate about ensuring that the voice of the child and parent is heard and their feelings and aspirations are understood.

Prior to moving to Cumbria in 2001 Jane’s background was in project management in the Strategic Planning Department at Doncaster Health Care Trust. Previous to this Jane was a licensee running two successful public houses with accommodation and restaurants.  Jane has also spent four years living in Hong Kong with her family.


Matthew Rothery

Matthew Rothery, Data Analyst

In the summer of 2017, Matthew completed a BSc (Hons) in Physics at The University of Liverpool, and was recently appointed to the role of Data Analyst for the Trust in the following September of that year. Primarily based at Workington Academy, Matthew lives locally to the school and is also a former student. His interest in the Trust came from wanting to use his knowledge and skills learnt throughout his degree to provide staff and students with insightful data, with which will help to further improve quality of learning.



Lucy Hewson, Clerk to the Trust Board and the LABs

Lucy grew up near Penrith and was secondary school educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith.  Lucy has a Business Studies degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resources from the University of Northumbria. 

Lucy has spent the majority of her working life at Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council in a variety of roles.  The role that she did for the longest period was as a Programme Manager for a cross authority learning and development programme across the Cumbrian Local Authorities.  This then morphed into a project management role on shared services across the Authorities. 

This is her first role since having left work to bring up her children.   This is Lucy’s first experience of working for schools.

 Lucy lives near Carlisle, with her husband, a farmer, and their two young children.

Karen Williams, Online Co-ordinator

Karen Williams, Online Co-ordinator

Karen graduated in Geology and gained an MSc in Museum Studies before working in a number of museums around England. Following a privileged few years working on the Mineralogy displays at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History she took a post in the Learning Resources Centre at William Howard School, enabling her to return to Cumbria.

Her role at WHS evolved to become Online Resources Co-ordinator, ensuring that the school’s website became a vital central source of information for stakeholders as well as developing the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for teaching and learning purposes; helping students learn more independently and collaboratively.

Karen has two sons who attend William Howard School, and is a Governor at Hallbankgate Village School.

Tracey Hill, Lead Practitioner for PSHE, Careers, Enterprise and Financial Education

Business Link, Income Generation and Sponsorship Co-ordinator

Tracey Hill is a Business and Computing Graduate of Lancaster University .  Tracey started her career in Industry and has worked in education since 1995, including the University of Northumbria, Carlisle College and local primary and secondary schools. In addition Tracey taught Adult Education computing classes in Carlisle for over ten years for Trinity Adult Education Centre.

Tracey has worked at William Howard School since 2004 and, as well as her teaching commitment, has led across the school on careers, enterprise and financial education.  During 2014 William Howard School became a Personal Finance Education Group ‘Centre of Financial Excellence School' through Tracey’s leadership and in 2015 Tracey became Financial Education Teacher of the Year. Within her role Tracey works closely with businesses, education and training providers and is Chair of the North Cumbria Careers Network Group. 

Tracey is Lead Practitioner for PSHE, Careers, Enterprise and Financial Education across the Trust and supports all Trust schools with their Information, Advice & Guidance (IAG). Tracey is also our business link attending several business groups on behalf of the Trust, responsible for income generation and our sponsorship co-ordinator.

In addition to her Trust role Tracey is Curriculum Leader for Business Studies in William Howard School.


Sammie Hart, Business Administrator

Sammie grew up in Kent and has worked in administration since leaving school. She started her career within a Wine and Spirit Company in 1985 and moved on to employment in an all girls’ secondary school in 2001. In 2012 Sammie relocated to Cumbria and worked in a small rural primary school before joining Cumbria Education Trust in January 2018 as Business Administrator.