Lorrayne Hughes – CEO

Lorrayne is the Chief Executive Officer of Cumbria Education Trust, the county’s largest multi-academy school trust.

Lorrayne took up her first Headship at William Howard School in Brampton in 2007 and in 2014 was commissioned by the Local Authority to bring about rapid improvement in two special measures schools in Workington. One of the schools was removed from Special Measures within 20 weeks.

She has led CET since inception to its current position where it is responsible for the education of more than 4,000 children across three secondary schools, eight primaries and West Coast Sixth Form.

Lorrayne passionately believes in inclusion and that all young people deserve a high-quality education. Children are firmly at the heart of all her strategic decision-making.
All schools work closely together following Lorrayne’s lead that collaboration can make a difference to all involved, from pupils and students to staff and their communities.

Lorrayne is former Chair of Cumbria Alliance of System Leaders and a board member of the Confederation of School Trusts, the sector body for school trusts.

Mark Bedford – Head of West Coast Sixth Form

Mark has been the Deputy Headteacher of Workington Academy since 2015, prior to this he worked as a middle and senior leader at William Howard School. He is an experienced Science teacher and has worked in schools in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Cumbria.

Mark has significant experience in post 16 education, built up over 25 years working in leadership roles in a variety of Sixth Forms.

Des Bird – Headteacher, Workington Academy

Des has been Headteacher of Workington Academy since 2018. Workington is his second headship, and he has over 13 years senior leadership experience across 4 schools in Cumbria and in Greater Manchester.

Des has chaired a local Headteacher’s association, and is a Member of Ofsted’s Headteacher’s reference group.

Lisa Bland – Headteacher, Tebay Primary School

After completing a History degree in Birmingham, Lisa started her teaching career in a small school just outside Carlisle. Over the next 10 years she predominately taught children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 but over the last decade has been in Key Stage 2

Lisa joined the Trust in 2017 when she was the Assistant Head at Yanwath School. She has always had a passion for helping and supporting those children who are disadvantaged and her main responsibilities have been for Special needs, pastoral care and safeguarding. However, she is passionate about all children developing a love of reading and that they are given a curriculum which is exciting and enriching.

Born and bred in Cumbria, when travelling back from Birmingham always felt like she was ‘home’ when driving past Tebay. Over 20 years later when offered the post as head there she knew she was ‘home’ and this was the job for her.

In her spare time Lisa loves to be in the outdoors, either running at Parkrun with her children on a Saturday morning, training for marathons, swimming or walking the Wainwrights.

Gemma Brierley – Headteacher, Yewdale Primary School

After completing a BA (Hons) Primary Education in Newcastle, Gemma began her teaching career at a large primary school in South East London. Over the next twenty years Gemma taught across 3 other schools in Kent, including serving as a Headteacher for the last five years in school that was transformed under her leadership.

Following her family’s relocation to Cumbria in October 2020 Gemma joined CET in November as the Headteacher of Yewdale Primary School.

Faye Eldon – Headteacher, Hensingham Primary School

Faye has had the privilege of working with many children in West Cumbrian Schools for the past 14 years. During this time, she gained extensive experience as a classroom teacher, progressing to Assistant Head, Acting Head and now the Headteacher of Hensingham Primary School. She has a passion for maths and has been a Primary Mastery Specialist and worked for the North North West Maths Hub. She is now a Professional Development Lead for the NCETM, and has worked with many schools in the area.

As a former pupil at Hensingham Infant and Junior Schools she understand the needs and strengths of the community and feels very fortunate to be able to lead the next generation of lifelong learners.

Cate Floyd – Headteacher, Yanwath Primary School

After 12 years in education, working across the country in a variety of settings and alongside national bodies such as the North North West Maths Hub, Cate moved from Accrington to join the CET leadership team to take on her first headship at Longtown Primary School in 2017. She believes that all children are entitled to the very best education and working within a school improvement model to develop and sustain change, change that is for the better and not just reactive, is important to her.

After successfully securing their first Good judgment at Longtown, she have moved into her second headship within the Trust, at Yanwath Primary School ensuring that they, as a leadership team, continue to provide a sustainable school improvement model where children and staffs mental health and wellbeing are at the heart of all decisions being made.

Lauren Hitchen – Interim Headteacher, Longtown Primary School

After completing an Early Childhood Studies degree in Liverpool, Lauren went on to complete a PGCE specialising in Early Years Education and Key Stage One. After teaching in an inner-city school in Liverpool. Lauren took the leap to Dubai to be part of the opening of a new international school. In Dubai Lauren was an Early Years Lead in an exceptionally large school.

Lauren moved back to the UK in 2016 and joined Cumbria Education trust as a Key Stage leader at Longtown Primary School. Lauren has worked from Early Years to Key Stage two her passion is Early Years and Phonics and she is now the Deputy Headteacher at Longtown Primary School. Lauren has had lots of opportunity to develop and grow as a leader in CET, working collaboratively with the trust schools to ensure the children become the ‘best they can be’.

In her spare time Lauren enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends and travelling.

Marie Jamieson – Headteacher, Newtown Primary School

Marie has worked in education for over twenty years. Initially working in a Nursery setting Marie went on to teach for several years in a Reception unit gaining a wealth of Early Years’ experience to support other settings across the county as an Early Years Associate Advisor.
Marie has taught across different year groups and took up her first leadership role as a Deputy Headteacher in a local Infant School.
With a passion for promoting the love of learning and a drive to support others Marie joined CET in her first Headship role at Newtown Primary School.
Marie lives in Cumbria and enjoys spending time in the outdoors with her family.

Chris Kearton – Assistant Headteacher, Workington Academy and CET Data Manager

Chris has taught maths in Workington since 1997, undertaking a variety of roles in first middle, and then senior leadership. He currently oversees the use of data to drive improvement across the trust, as well as supporting the teaching of maths at Workington and Whitehaven Academies.

Joanne Lloyd – Headteacher, Northside Primary School

Since qualifying as a primary school teacher in 1998, Joanne has had extensive experience across the primary range up to and including year 7 children, whilst working in aspirational and high attaining local authorities in the south east of England. Following her family’s relocation to north west Cumbria in September 2016, she joined CET as a Deputy Headteacher, and she’s delighted that her leadership journey has allowed her to take up her first Headship within a CET school.

Gill Martin – Head of Finance

As an experienced finance professional, Gill leads on all aspects of financial planning, management and reporting, which includes the provision of an effective framework of financial systems, procedures, risk management and internal control.

Gill is committed to delivering a flexible, supportive and experienced central finance service to CET academies whilst supporting the development of comprehensive strategic financial planning arrangements to help secure financial resilience and sustainability of the Trust.

It is essential that the financial resources made available to the Trust are well managed and utilised in the most efficient, effective and economic way that enable the best possible outcomes and achievements Trust wide.

Before joining CET in March 2021, Gill worked in a senior finance leadership role in the charity sector and has over 20 years Internal Audit experience gained within local government.

Chris McAree – Headteacher, William Howard School

A Maths teacher by trade he has a passion for ensuring all students achieve their potential. He has worked at schools from the inner city in Coventry, overseas in Bahrain to numerous schools in Cumbria. He was previously a Headteacher in another Cumbrian standalone academy secondary school before joining CET and WHS.

Sue Newstead – Director Of Learning Provision (& SENCO)

Sue’s work in education began 20 years ago in a city centre school, working with groups with special and additional educational needs. A passion for inclusion and equal opportunity for all children soon led to middle leader, strategic management roles and qualification as a SENCO.

Appointment to the senior leadership team in Cumbria Education Trust as Director of Learning Provision (& SENCO), has afforded Sue the opportunity to develop and lead teams of highly qualified and skilled staff to support and guide children and young people to invest in themselves and their education, aiming for them to genuinely believe that they can ‘be the best they can be’

As a parent and grandparent, she firmly believes that educational provision should be exceptional and aspirational, something we strive to achieve within the Trust.

Nick Polmear – Operations Director

Nick has been with the Trust from the very outset and has been intrinsic in the growth and development of the Trust. Nick was promoted from Infrastructure and Assurance Director to Operations Director in November 2019 and has oversight of all CET Central Services.

Prior to joining the Trust Nick was a member of the Senior Leadership Team at William Howard School and served as the Support Staff Governor for 9 years.

Kerry Rogerson – HR Manager

Kerry Rogerson joined the Trust as Human Resources Manager in July 2020.

An experienced HR professional with over 20 years’ experience she joins the Trust after undertaking a number of senior HR roles within the Public Sector.

Kerry is committed to building an HR team which is principles led, outcome driven and puts people at the centre of the organisation. People are our most valuable resource and as such she is passionate about working alongside key stakeholders to ensure CET attracts, supports and retains a representative mix of people with the right skills, knowledge, potential, behaviours and values who strive to be the best they can be.

Ayesha Weston – Headteacher, Caldew Lea Primary School

Ayesha has been privileged enough to work in education for twenty years in a variety of quite unique roles. Originally from north of the border, Carlisle has been her adopted home city for over 13 years. She took up her first leadership role in an alternative provision setting, as leader of the primary phase in a local Pupil Referral Unit; she has a long held passion and personal drive to improve the life chances of the most socially and economically disadvantaged children in society. Following this. her first Headship, in contrast, was as Head of a small ‘outstanding’ Church of England Primary Academy, where she spent five years.

Ayesha joined CET in September 2019 as Headteacher of Caldew Lea Primary School. Caldew Lea already has a special place in her heart, as it is not only her local school but also the school in which she completed her teacher training nearly twenty years ago.

The children of Caldew Lea are a constant inspiration and really are the most fantastic children you could wish to work with. They are currently on a rapid improvement journey towards ‘good’, made possible by the support provided by being part of Cumbria Education Trust. She is proud to be a part of a strong, cohesive organisation which truly puts children first.

Chris Wilkins – Director of Primary Education

Chris has been a teacher for over 25 years working in schools in the South East, Midlands and Cumbria including 16 years of headship in three schools. He is fortunate to be in a role within Cumbria Education Trust which enables him to work across a number of primary schools supporting the development of curriculum, teaching and learning and collaborative working.

Nigel Youngman – Headteacher, The Whitehaven Academy

Nigel has extensive leadership experience of raising standards in schools serving coastal and urban communities in Norfolk, Suffolk and East Sussex.

An experienced English and Film teacher, his career began in Pakistan, followed by Birmingham and Bristol.

He lives with his family in Cumbria, and enjoys running very slowly on the fells.