George Beveridge – Chair of Cumbria Education Trust

George has worked in the nuclear energy industry for the past 30+ years in a variety of roles, including an 8 year assignment as Deputy Managing Director of Sellafield Ltd from 2008-16. George’s experience includes plant and project management, R&D, business management as well as general management of several businesses, including major international joint ventures.

George has played a key part in the socio-economic development of the areas in which he has worked. He was a founding Director of the Cumbria Inward Investment Agency as well as founding Chair of the Cumbria LEP; member of the Transport for the North Board; Chairman of Inspira Ltd and former Regional Chair of CBI NW. George has also acted as sponsor of an outstanding Academy secondary school in Cumbria and is an NED on the DfE Northern Regional Board.  George was appointed Chair of Business North in April 2018 and has served on its Steering Group since inception in 2015. He has lived in Cumbria for 32 years and enjoys walking and mountain biking in his spare time.

Lorrayne Hughes – CEO

Lorrayne is the 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 was Chair of CASL (Cumbria Alliance of System Leaders) for many years 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.

Margaret Payne – Founding Member

Born and brought up in Northern Ireland, Margaret read Law at Nottingham University before completing her training as a solicitor in Nottinghamshire and London. She has worked in a high street legal aid firm in London before moving to Carlisle in the 1980s. Margaret continues to work as a solicitor in private practice. She established her own practice specialising in crime and mental health law in 1998.

Margaret was a Governor of her daughter’s primary school and then became a Parent Governor when she moved to William Howard School about 16 years ago. When she left for university Margaret stayed on! She has lived through many of the changes in education with the school, and worked with 3 Headteachers in that time. In many ways, joining the Trust Board was a natural progression.

Margaret’s working life brings her into contact with young people who face a range of challenges including difficult family circumstance and mental health issues. That has given her an insight into the many pressures that young people and families face, and the context in which education takes place.

As someone who benefitted from a good state education, Margaret is committed to equality of opportunity for all, so the involvement of the Trust in raising standards and aspirations both at primary and secondary level in Cumbria is a very exciting development in which she feels she is privileged to be involved with.

Ian Burke

Ian was born in Liverpool. He was secondary school educated at Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch, Anglesey and Morecambe Grammar. He has a maths degree from Imperial College, an MBA from London Business School and an ACMA professional accounting qualification. He obtained a BA in Humanities at the OU in 2020.

Ian is a governor at Birmingham City University and previously was a Visiting Professor of leadership there. He sits on its Finance Committee.

Ian chairs Pets at Home plc, a FTSE 250 company and Studio Retail Group plc. He owns the Leathes Head Hotel in Borrowdale. Previously he has spent twenty three years leading leisure businesses – hotels, gyms, restaurants, bowling and cinemas – in the UK and 50 other countries.

Ian lives near Penrith and has been married for over 40 years to Jane, a now retired teacher.

Chris Sutcliffe

Chris was born and raised in Lancashire, just north of Manchester. He was educated at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School before attending Keele University, where he gained a joint honours degree in Maths and Physics. He has been married to Jo for 25 years, and lives near Cockermouth in the barn they bought and converted together.

Chris has a long history of learning and development, mostly in the education sector, but more recently in private industry. Starting his working life as a teacher, he went on to lead several innovative projects for the local authority, before becoming a School Improvement Officer with responsibility for IT. He then progressed to a national role helping the Government roll out the National Strategies. After a time as an independent consultant, he now works in industry where he has recently undertaken an MA in Strategic Development.

He is passionate to see children and young people achieve their potential and gain the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Chris is keen to share this knowledge and experience to help shape the CET academies to provide exciting and relevant curriculums, delivered by dedicated and motivated teachers, giving pupils every chance of achieving success and exceeding their ambitions.

After spending time on the Workington Academy Local Advisory Board, Chris became a CET Board Director in June 2017.

Dr Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson was until January 2018 the Executive Director of |Children’s Services at Northumberland County Council. Previously he was a Senior Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools. He is a qualified teacher with over 30 years’ experience in schools and colleges and has gained extensive senior management experience, including as a director of education with a variety of organisations.

Andrew has worked as leader of education for a large national charity, been a special school headteacher and held senior leadership posts across education and voluntary sectors. His responsibilities include improving science, ICT, literacy and numeracy outcomes in schools, colleges and teacher-education programmes. Andrew holds a Doctorate in education focussing on Special Educational Needs policy and its impact on children and young people.

He currently works as a part-time Director of Educational Projects for Northumberland County Council and works as an educational consultant.

Neil Crewdson

Neil has nearly 20 years project management experience delivering in high hazard environments.

Neil is Head of Project Management and Functions for Sellafield ltd covering the full project professions. He is responsible for over 1500 project professionals across, project management, project controls, risk, estimating, construction, commissioning & pre operations and the Sellafield project academy. Ensuring Sellafield has the right people, in the right place at the right time.

He has previously won the APM young project manager of the year, and two APM HSSE awards for projects he was leading.


Sheila Goodliffe – Founding Member

Sheila has been involved in healthcare management for over 40 years, with nearly 30 in the NHS including experience as a general manager for general acute and psychiatric services in hospitals across the country. She also served on Employment Tribunals in Leeds and then Manchester for 13 years. Sheila served in the voluntary sector, as Chief Executive of East Cheshire Hospice, Macclesfield for 7 years and from March 2010 as Chief Executive of Eden Valley Hospice, Carlisle, retiring in 2010.

Sheila was appointed as a Governor of William Howard School in 2009, before the creation of the Trust when she became a Trustee and then Academy Director when the Multi-Academy Trust was established. Sheila has now resigned as a Director of the Trust, but continues as a Founding Member.

Sheila is a committed member of the Church of England, she serves on Diocesan Synod, Carlisle Cathedral Council and is lay Chairman and Treasurer of Brampton Deanery Synod. As a local lay minister, she is involved with pastoral and outreach work and serves as a chaplaincy volunteer at the Cumberland Infirmary Carlisle and at Brampton Community Hospital. Sheila is also Vice President of Churches Together in Cumbria, where she’s particularly involved with promotion of ecumenical working.

Sheila was elected by the membership in 2009 to be a Public Governor for the Carlisle locality for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, she monitors the provision of mental health and community services across the county, and has served for two 3-year terms of office including two years as Head Governor.

Martin Simpson – Founding Member

Martin has worked in the Media Industry for the majority of his working life. He has worked in an advertising agency as an account executive with retail and garage chains for four years before moving to the newspaper industry. Here Martin worked as a Sales Director at the Hexham Courant for 6 years before moving to Cumbria to set up two different companies for the Cumbrian Newspaper Group (CN Group). Martin started a business Directories Company in Penrith which covered the whole of Cumbria and worked on this business to get it to break even within 3 years. He was then asked to set up a market research business for the Group where he developed the business from a standing start to a turnover of £750,000 in 8 years.

Martin left the industry in 2011 where he trained to become a teacher. He now works at Carlisle College as a lecturer in Business and History.

Martin has a degree in Government and Public Policy and an MBA (Masters in Business Administration).

He has a wife Jill and two children Ben and Beth.

Debbie Francis

Debbie currently holds a number of Non-Executive positions in both the private and the public sector alongside running a consultancy and executive coaching business. Debbie was previously the Managing Director of Direct Rail Services Limited; a rail freight business which provides freight services to the nuclear industry as well as a variety of other services including intermodal freight for Tesco and several passenger services across the country. Debbie has 30 years of experience across a range of industries from IT to infrastructure maintenance to rail. She has also gained extensive experience throughout her career both in the UK and overseas in finance, systems, commercial, operations and business development.
Debbie has held previous positions as a governor of an independent school and an academy. She has a 2:1 degree in Business Studies from Liverpool Polytechnic, an MBA from Manchester Business School and is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA).

Cliff Lewis

Having been secondary educated at Chelmsford Technical School, Cliff lived in the Chelmsford area for most of his adult life through which he has enjoyed a long and successful career in financial services. He remains a Director of a medium sized firm of independent financial advisers. In the past, Cliff has undertaken various voluntary roles including that of writing exam questions for the Chartered Insurance Institute’s various financial services examination papers.

In 2007 Cliff moved to Cumbria with Pat, his wife of 39 years, with a view to achieving a better quality of life and enjoying a quieter, cleaner and more attractive environment for their retirement. They spend time exploring Britain’s inland waterways on their narrowboat ‘Rainbow’s End’.

Resignations in the last 12 months

  • Kathryn Woolgar – 20/06/2020
  • Steve Holliday – 16/09/2020

To view the Meeting Attendance Records and Registers of Interest for the Trust Board click the button below.