William Howard School LAB

William Howard Trust LAB

Chris Irving

Chris Irving – Chair of Local Advisory Board for William Howard School

Chris was born and educated in Carlisle before going on to college to gain a BA(hons) in Accountancy, a foundation which enabled him to become a Managing Director and Chairman of a local company for many years before more recently becoming semi-retired.

Having previously served as a Parent Governor of Hayton Primary School Chris became a Parent Governor of William Howard School in 2013. In January 2014 he took on the role of Chair of the Finance committee and later that year in October became Chair of the Governing Body. During his time as Chair he has seen the school grow and become part of the new William Howard multi-academy trust.

Chris was pleased to have been invited to become Chair of the new Local Advisory Board for William Howard School and looks forward to helping this fantastic school achieve its aims and vision. Chris believes every child should receive the best education possible enabling them to reach their full learning potential in a positive supportive environment along with great opportunities as a foundation for their future careers and adult life. This is something he believes he received many years ago.

Personally, Chris is married, lives locally and has a son who is a pupil at the school and who he can see is also benefiting from a great education. In Chris’ spare time, being a passionate cyclist, he is also Chair of Border City Wheelers and compete regularly in Time Trials.

Lorrayne Hughes

Lorrayne Hughes - 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.

Chris McAree

Chris McAree - Headteacher

As a proud born and bred Coventrian Chris moved to Cumbria in 2003 and has always lived within the catchment area of William Howard since then. He certainly likes to consider himself now a naturalised Cumbrian (just one with an odd accent).

Chris took on the role of Headteacher at William Howard in September 2016. He  has worked in ten schools across the full spectrum of settings; Inner City, International, Special Measures to Outstanding schools. He was previously a Headteacher at another secondary school in Cumbria and has held roles as a senior and middle leader in both curriculum and pastoral roles. Trained as Maths teacher he has a passion for high quality Teaching and Learning and he prides himself in the fact that he still teaches regularly.

Chris is committed to ensuring that William Howard becomes a true flagship academy; one that the Trust, parents and most importantly students take pride in.

John Storr

Dr John Storr – LAB Member

John was born and educated in South Africa and moved to the United Kingdom in 1980.

He has worked as a Consultant Paediatrician at the Cumberland Infirmary for 23 years, retiring in 2015. In that role he gained experience as a Clinical Director and in Child Safeguarding (including a period as named doctor).

John’s outside interests include walking and kayaking (Level 1 coach). He is married to a local GP and their two sons were pupils at William Howard School.

James Porter

James Porter – LAB Member

James and his wife moved to Low Row over a year ago. James has been involved with education for many years.   His desire is to see every young person achieve their full potential so it is his privilege and honour to serve on the LAB at William Howard School.

For three years James was a Governor, at a “special needs”, school chairing the Assets and Resources Committee, and being the Governor responsible for Health and Safety. During that time James carried through a £1m+ capital programme to improve school facilities and build a Sixth Form. James was also a Governor at a secondary school where he served on the Finance, Curriculum and HR committees.

James was a Local Councillor for 8 years, serving 4 years as the Chairman of the Planning Committee and 3 years as Policy Committee Chairman forming, informing and leading policy development and implementation. James was Town Mayor in 2009.

James retired in 2010 to focus on voluntary and educational activities which he feels passionate about.  He is glad to be playing his part in the continuing success of William Howard School.


Jackie Kirsopp – LAB Member

Jackie is a chartered accountant with 12 years post qualification experience in practice. She is also a qualified Insolvency Practitioner, and provides a lot of practical trading assistance to all nature of businesses, mostly in Cumbria.  Jackie would hope to bring this experience to the WHS LAB. 

Jackie has lived in the local area the majority of her life and has a keen interest in WHS.  After doing her GCSE's at Lochinvar School, she studied for A levels at WHS, before moving onto University.  Jackie made great lifelong friends at WHS, and believes the school helped her obtain the best results she could.

Jackie’s own young sons will attend WHS in the future and Jackie is excited to be a part of the journey the school is taking, with all the challenges arising.

Gill McLean

Gill McLean – Staff LAB Member

Gill joined William Howard School in September 2014, as an Administrative Assistant with responsibility for Curriculum Support to Middle leaders. This role encompasses many areas and varied duties within the school.

Previously she joined BT as a graduate and held numerous service and project management roles over 18 years, including supporting BT’s major systems.

Gill’s family moved to Cumbria over 3 years ago and have very much been involved with village life in Hayton. This has included being engaged with the PTA and Hayton Community Project (HCP), where they have been raising funds through village activities for the local school and play area. Gill’s husband works for BT and they have two sons, aged 12 and 7. Her older son attends WHS.

Sharon Graham

Sharon Graham – Parent LAB Member

Sharon has worked within the private and state education settings for over 10 years, prior to that she worked as a hairdresser.

From 2003 Sharon volunteered in a nursery setting and gained her NVQ level 2 and level 3 in childcare and education.

Sharon then went on to run a preschool in Corbridge, dealing with funding, policies, Ofsted, parents and communication was very important.

In 2007 she moved to work within local government education settings as a teaming assistant for special needs and behavioural students/children, within her employment.In 2011 she completed an NVG in learning support level 3. Then more recently in 2015 she has completed and passed with distinction her higher level teaching assistant level 4 qualification. Additional courses that she has attended are Behaviour in the workplace, Disability awareness, dealing with challenging behaviour in the classroom.

Sharon is a trade union representative and over the years she has completed numerous courses such as Health and Safety and a diploma in employment law.


Emma McCormick – Parent LAB Member (Resigned September 2017)


Corinna Cartwright – LAB Member (Resigned 31/1/2017)