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 a board member of the Confederation of School Trusts, the sector body for school trusts.

Michael Donnelly – Lead Director

Michael is an internationally experienced HR executive who has delivered on challenging assignments and led people and change across every continent across the globe. Having started his working life in the north west with United Utilities, he has worked around the world and also lived in the USA and the Middle East, as a senior leader in organisations including Avaya, Bass, BBC, Convergys and Serco.
Michael has been an invited speaker and presented at HR leadership events in Brussels, New York, San Diego and Singapore.
As a Chartered Fellow of CIPD, Michael now brings his experience and skills as a Non Executive Director and HR consultant in support of small enterprises and educational Trusts, including Stramongate and Penny Bridge Academies in Cumbria.
He is married to Angela and their growing family live in Cumbria, Hampshire and Scotland and he loves to spend time with them all. Michael likes to travel, keep fit and loves his music and sport. He is a drummer by trade and a Liverpool FC season ticket holder by birth!

Vicky McDowell – Headteacher, Northside Primary School

Vicky’s teaching career began in a primary school near London over twenty years ago and, since then, she has worked in the South and North of England in various teaching and leadership roles. She was also appointed as the first Vice Chair of the Chartered College of Teaching, a national organization created to develop professional standards for teachers. Most recently, she has served as Regional Headteacher of schools in the independent sector across the North-West.

As a parent herself, Vicky is passionate about creating a collaborative working environment where children can grow, develop their self-esteem and the skills fundamental to their education.

Des Bird – Headteacher, Workington Academy

Des was born in Gretna, and attended Annan Academy before going on to study Law at University in 1997.

He began his career as a senior leader in schools in 2007, and has worked at this level in three schools in total; each of which was unique and had its own specific challenges. As Assistant Headteacher in a large inner city school in Manchester, Des was in charge of behaviour. In 2009 he moved on to take up the Vice Principal role of the West Lakes Academy in Cumbria, which had been formed a year earlier following the closure of two local schools. Des feels he learned a lot from both of these positions, and both schools underwent rapid improvements in the standard of behaviour, quality of teaching and ultimately achieved good exam results.

In 2014 Des was appointed as Headteacher of Richard Rose Morton in Carlisle, which had recently been placed in special measures. Almost four years later the school has improved immensely, both in terms of Ofsted grading, exam results and popularity in its local community.

Des currently lives in West Cumbria with his wife and an 11 year old daughter.

He is passionate about the impact a good education can have, and is delighted to be Headteacher at Workington Academy.

Gill George, LAB member

Gill used to teach full-time in a large infant school, most of the time in Early Years, and she loves working with children. Gill has three children and six grandchildren who do not live in the area, so is always interested to see their schools or settings when she visits them.

Gill has been privileged to be a member of the Governing Body at Northside and looks forward to continuing her association with the school as a member of the Local Advisory Board.  Having been invited to join the team at Northside a few years ago, she enjoyed getting to know so many delightful people, both adults and children, in this wonderful small school at the heart of their community. The children are keen to learn, have excellent manners and are very creative. It is amazing to see the progress so many of them make, along with the pride in their achievements. It is Gill’s firm belief that if we get all the social, emotional, communication and physical skills embedded in the early years of a child’s life, then everything else will follow.

Gill’s hobbies include walking, cycling and dancing: she loves to be outdoors.  Gill has also volunteered at her local arts centre for 25 years and has met a huge variety of really interesting people with diverse skills. Now that she have more time she would like to learn a new skill – but  always seems to be busy!

Mary-Ann Lancaster, LAB member

Karen Whild, Staff LAB member

Karen is originally from Birmingham but moved to Cumbria in 1997 when her husband changed his career. She has two grown up sons who were both brought up and educated in Cumbria.

Previously, Karen was a biomedical scientist specialising in microbiology. She worked at several major hospitals in Birmingham and finally at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle before having a career change.

Karen often describes becoming a teacher later in life as her ‘mid-life crisis’, however, it is a decision that she has never regretted. Karen has taught at several schools in West Cumbria before coming to Northside and she feels passionately that the children of Northside deserve the best.

At Northside we have a strong relationship with pupils and parents alike and Karen will continue to strengthen and foster those vital relationships.

Currently, Karen’s role in school is teaching classes when the class teacher is having their PPA (Planning Preparation Assessment) time. She enjoys this immensely because she has the opportunity to know and teach the majority of children in school – from reception up to year 6. Karen looks forward to continuing to improve Northside School for the benefit of the children and wider community.

Amy Bostock, Parent LAB member (safeguarding lead)

Amy Bostock is 35 and originally from Stockport in Greater Manchester, but has been living in Workington for 6 years. Amy achieved 10 GCSEs at High School and went on to gain 4 A levels at Aquinas College in Stockport. After leaving college Amy decided to go into an apprenticeship as a Dental Nurse and stayed in that job for 10 years after gaining an NVQ Level 3 in dental nursing. After moving up to Workington she began working as a Sales Assistant and has recently enrolled on a NCFE CACHE Level 3 award in supporting teaching and learning in schools. Amy enjoys spending time with her partner, 3 children and her dog Bella, especially exploring the local area of the Lake District.

Beth Dixon – Parent LAB member

LAB members in the previous 12 months:

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