Dr John Storr – Chair of Local Advisory Board

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 2 coach). He is married to a local GP and their two sons were pupils at William Howard School.

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.

Prof Rob Trimble – Lead Director

Professor Robert Trimble is Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Cumbria, where he has executive responsibility for all academic matters across the University which includes academic portfolio development, student experience, student outcomes and success, academic quality and standards, teaching and learning developments, international strategy, external educational partnerships and the oversight of a number of Academic Institutes and Professional Services.
Previously he was Pro Vice Chancellor (Education and Student Experience) at the University of Sunderland, where he had responsibility for student success and outcomes across all campuses. Prior to this, he held positions as Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law and Associate Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences, at the University of Sunderland. He is a Chartered Engineer with a wide knowledge and experience of the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Prior to joining the higher education sector, he spent a decade working in aerospace engineering with Rolls Royce Plc.
He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Quality Reviewer for the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

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.

James Porter – LAB member – Vice Chair

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 GCSEs 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.

Diane Harrison – LAB member (Joint safeguarding lead)

Born in Cumbria, Diane spent a number of years in education and working in the North East.  Her career spans working in the private sector as Director of an economic consultancy firm; working in a strategic role in a national housing association; and working as the Strategic Housing Manager for a housing partnership group in Cumbria.

Since 2013 she has worked for Cumbria County Council’s Children and Families Services with responsibility for the Children’s Services’ Youth  Homeless and Housing Team plus the Health & Wellbeing service, the latter providing drug and alcohol interventions to young people across Cumbria.  She chairs the Early Help Panel in Carlisle, is a trained Mental Health First Aider for young people and is also trained to deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid training.

She has a child in Year 8 at WHS.

Matthew Aitchison-Rayson – LAB member

Matthew is an alumni of William Howard School, studying here from 2004 – 2011. After leaving William Howard School he went on to gain a BA (Hons) in Drama Performance and Technical Theatre at the University of Cumbria, where he currently works in his role as a School and College Liaison Officer.

Within his role at the University, Matthew works with schools across Cumbria and the North East promoting the opportunities for Higher Education in the local area.  Matthew runs presentations, workshops, residentials and schools visits and has been in this role for three years.

Matthew is a member of the North and West Cumbria CEIAG group advising schools on Higher Education opportunities and has also run conferences for the Higher Education Liaison Officer Association (HELOA) aimed at supporting new practitioners within Universities across the country.

In addition to his role at the University, Matthew is joint owner of a local business with his partner in the restaurant industry and one of these restaurants was highly recommended in the 2017 Carlisle Living Awards. He is also a franchisee and Principal of Razzamataz Theatre Schools West Cumbria which he took over back in September 2018.

Matthew’s experience of Higher Education and the local area is something he feels will contribute towards William Howard and its students as he is aware of the opportunities in Cumbria.  He is delighted to be joining the Local Advisory Board for William Howard School and is looking forward to working with the school to help them achieve great things.

Sheila Johnston – LAB member

Sheila was born and brought up in Carlisle and, after attending university in Leeds, returned to take up her first teaching post at a Carlisle secondary school. After working in Devon for 20 years she returned to Cumbria to take up the post of Deputy Headteacher at another Cumbrian school where she became Co-Headteacher in 2014.

Sheila’s youngest daughter was a pupil at William Howard School when the family moved back from Devon and, following her recent retirement, Sheila is keen to support the continuing success of WHS in whatever way she can. She is pleased to be joining the Local Advisory Board so that she can continue her lifelong involvement with Cumbrian schools, helping to ensure that every student within the school community achieves the very best they can.

Beverley Kent – LAB member

Bev was born and brought up in Carlisle, and has had a keen interest in coaching and volunteering for many years.
She has spent the last 13 years working in the Procurement and Supply function, and during this time, has achieved a Level 6 Professional Diploma, then qualified as a Charted Procurement and Supply Chain Professional.

Since 2019 she has worked for Cumbria County Council in the Procurement and Contracts team, with responsibility for the purchasing of People Services.
Bev has 2 young children who are both in Primary School. In her free time, she continues to mentor and volunteer at the local youth zone and also enjoys to play netball.

Joanna Gray – Parent LAB member (joint Safeguarding lead)

Joanna has two children who both attend WHS, a son in Year 10 and a daughter in Year 7.

In spring 2018 Joanna moved to Brampton with her family from Darlington where they had lived for five years.  Prior to this Joanna was born, raised and educated in the Newcastle area.

Having attended the local comprehensive school Joanna is passionate about every child having access to a good education and the opportunities this can bring.

Joanna heads up the Audit & Assurance team at Armstrong Watson and has a specialism in education and not-for-profit.  With 22 years’ experience in the audit profession, in addition to sitting on boards at others schools, charities and companies Joanna is keen to share this experience at WHS.

LAB members in the previous 12 months:

Lauren Graham – Resigned 11/11/2020

Janine Maidwell – Resigned 14/11/2020

Gill McLean – Resigned 26/01/2021

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