The Northumberland Church of England Academy is registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.

The structure is made up of the Trust members, a Governing Body and two committees; Finance and General Purposes and Curriculum and Standards. Terms of Reference of the two committees are given here.

Finance and General Purposes Committee: Terms of Reference

NCEA Standards Committee:  Terms of Reference

Register of Governor Interests 2016

Governor attendance 2015-16

The Sponsor Members, Governing Body and Committees are given below:


Rory Wilson Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Peter Robinson Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Carole Snelling Chair of Governors

Governing Body


Carole Snelling Chair, Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
John Brearley Vice-Chair, Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Margaret Nicholson Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Jane Scott Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Richard Bishopp Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Alex Cox Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Colin Davidson Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Steven Stubbings Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Jim Lang Local Authority
 Martin Browell Parent
Peter Birmingham Parent
Shirley Dickinson Staff
Andrew Day Executive Director
 Marc Kelly Community

Finance and General Purposes Committee

John Brearley Chair, Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Margaret Nicholson Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Alex Cox Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Colin Davison Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Peter Birmingham Parent
Andrew Day Executive Director

Standards & Curriculum Committee

Richard Bishopp Chair, Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Margaret Nicholson Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Steven Stubbings Duke of Northumberland’s Charity
Jane Scott Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Carole Snelling Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Andrew Day Executive Director
Marc Kelly Community







Governor Pen Portraits

Carole Snelling

Carole SnellingI am a qualified teacher with a BA in Social sciences, MA in Education Management and NPQH. I taught in secondary schools in South Tyneside and Northumberland where I had extensive experience in school leadership and improvement. I was appointed sponsor governor following three years as assistant director of Education for Newcastle Diocese. I have been involved in the life of the Academy since it was first mooted in 2005. Every child has the ability to succeed, and my passion is for ensuring that every young person receives the best education, develops a love of learning and is equipped with the skills to lead a successful and fulfilling life.

Richard Bishopp

Richard BishoppI have worked in the education sector since the early 1970’s, teaching in a variety of schools, and in a range of posts, and also undertaking work as a GCSE examiner and chief examiner. In 1989 I came to work in Northumberland as an adviser/inspector and continued in that role until I retired, as senior adviser, in 2010. Since then I have continued my involvement in schools as a consultant, principally on school improvement matters, and I am also chair of the management committee at the Northumberland Pupil Referral Unit.

I am delighted to have been appointed a sponsor governor at NCEA and I will do all I can to support the academy in its drive towards excellence. Away from work, I am an active member of my local church; I sing with Alnwick Choral Society; and I am president of Alnwick and District Swimming Club.

Margaret Nicholson 

Margaret NicholsonMy teaching career began in an infant school in Carlisle. After three years I moved to Newcastle where I taught in three inner city and multi-faith schools, becoming Head of an inner city Church of England Primary School in east Newcastle. Following the birth of my first child, I moved from my headship role to work part-time at Newcastle University as a Teacher Tutor on the Primary PGCE Course where I also contributed to the religious education element. I was appointed Director of Education for the Diocese of Newcastle in 1995, a post I held until I retired in 2010. As Director of Education I worked on the proposal for this Academy and I am delighted to be able to continue my association with it as one of the sponsor governors. In line with its founding vision the Academy aims to meet the needs of each individual pupil and to ensure that all children are supported to make the progress of which they are capable.

John Brearley

John BrearleyI am a Chartered Accountant who has worked in business for the last twenty five years. As Finance Director of Northumberland Estates, the umbrella title for the business interests of the Duke of Northumberland and a sponsor of the NCEA, I work as part of the team shaping its strategic direction. I have experience of business planning, financing, financial reporting and budgeting and managing finance functions across a broad range of sectors from property, rural business and leisure to retail and consumer goods. I have been involved in the Academy since its opening in 2009 and have served on, and latterly chaired the Finance and General purposes committee throughout that period. I have a strong belief that every child has the ability to succeed and my prime interest is to ensure that the young people in our Academy receive the best education equipping them with the skills to lead a successful and fulfilling life contributing to their community and country.

Shirley Dickinson

Shirley Dickinson (Science Technician)

I was elected as Staff Governor in November 2013. I am the Senior Science Technician and I work in the Josephine Butler Secondary Campus in the Science Department.  I left school after doing my A levels and I have worked as a Technician in the school for 30 years. This means I am up to date with “school life”, and the “day to day” running of the school. I have lived in the Academy catchment area for nearly 40 years, so I very aware of the social background of the community.  As the Northumberland Church of England Academy is a Church of England school I think the Christian Ethos is very important. There have been many changes in these 30 years but the function of the school to me is the same. It is for the students not only to gain GCSE’s and A level qualifications but to leave the Academy as “well rounded” individuals who are confident and able to live in the community with a pleasant outlook on life.

Andrew Day

Andrew Day Portrait

Andrew is the Executive Director of the NCEA.   Andrew previously taught English and History in both the independent and state sectors. He joined the Future Leaders programme in 2006, following a spell in the travel industry, and took a Deputy Headship in Ealing, West London in the same year, before becoming  Principal of an academy in south east London in 2009. He took up his current position in 2012.  In addition to his current role, Andrew is a member of the board of Future Leaders, a trustee of the Hirst Miners’ Welfare, and serves on committees for the Association of Anglican Secondary Heads, the NAHT Secondary Heads, amongst other commitments.

Jimmy Lang

Jimmy LangI have lived in North Seaton for 40 years and represented this community for 30 yrs as the local County Councillor. This community is very important to me and ensuring that its children receive the best possible education is a main priority. During the planning and building of the academy I took an active role as part of the steering group overseeing the development. Leaving school in 1970 I worked in the mining industry for 25 yrs in a number of management roles, moving from mining I have continued in a number of different roles from Factory Manager, Health and Safety Manager and Project Management in the Oil and Gas Industry.

Steven Stubbings 

Steve StubbingsI am the Agricultural and Rural Property Manager for The Northumberland Estates, having taken up the position in 2011. My role is to manage the Estates’ rural property portfolio in the North East.

I am a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Fellow of The Association of Agricultural Valuers. I have worked in Northumberland and the North East since 1999.

Since 2002 I have been heavily involved in the Young Farmers Youth Organisation which aims to provide skills, learning and travel opportunity for a membership which currently numbers 25,000 in 644 clubs across the United Kingdom in the age range of 10 to26. I held the position of County Chairman to the East Riding of Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs in 2005-6 and more recently was asked to serve a term as President to the Northern Area Committee. I strongly believe that every child should have access to the best education opportunities with emphasis on social and personal skills development in addition.

Colin Davidson 

Colin DavidsonI am a chartered surveyor with 15 years’ experience working in the UK commercial property sector. As commercial property director of Northumberland Estates, a sponsor of NCEA I manage the organisations commercial property portfolio. I manage a team of internal and external partners to deliver the business objectives of the portfolio; this covers a range of disciplines including, business planning, finance, development, legal, health & safety, and compliance. As a graduate of Northumbria University I present on property related issues regularly to the BSc and MSc students within the School of The Built Environment and have assisted a number of graduates progress through their RICS Assessment of Professional Competence to become a Chartered Surveyor.

Jane Scott

I qualified as a Primary Teacher in 1973 and worked initially in South Yorkshire. After some years away from teaching to be at home with my children, I returned to teaching in Northumberland. I was ordained in 2001 and have served as a priest in Denton, Seahouses, Beadnell and latterly Monkseaton. I am a member of the Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education.I am now delighted to have been given the opportunity to serve on the board of governors at the Academy and I will do all that I can to support the staff and pupils, as they strive to achieve their full potential.

Peter Birmingham

Peter Birmingham

For almost a decade I have worked in Development and Alumni Relations – firstly at Durham University and, since 2011, at Northumbria University – engaging graduates in the life of the University and encouraging philanthropic giving to support University projects.  My particular skills lie in fundraising from charitable trusts and foundations, and I am experienced in seeking support for projects that address disadvantage, tackle inequality or enhance young people’s self-confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing.  I am also an experienced educational researcher, having worked at the National Foundation for Educational Research, the Department of Educational Studies at Oxford University and Newcastle University’s Centre for Learning and Teaching.  My two children attend the Academy and, in them, their friends and teachers, I see the Academy’s mission to inspire excellence, achievement and compassion vividly brought to life.

Alex Cox

I am a solicitor and partner at the law firm Ward Hadaway specialising in development and property work.  I was involved with the original establishment of the Academy and was delighted to be given the opportunity to continue my association with it as one of the sponsor governors.  Along with my fellow governors, I am committed to supporting the Academy and ensuring that we create an environment where our young people can achieve their full potential.


The Chair of Governors, Carole Snelling, may be contacted by email at or in writing:

The Governing Body
c/o The Northumberland Church of England Academy
Josephine Butler Campus
Academy Road:
NE63 9FZ