Academy Council

Jo Warner – Chair of Academy Council
Assistant Director of Education for the Joint Education Team, Dioceses of Durham and Newcastle

I am delighted to be the Chair of the Academy Council at Northern Saints Church of England Academy.

I started teaching over thirty years ago, as a teacher in an inner-city primary school. I have been very fortunate to work as a headteacher of four schools in the North East – a region I was brought up in, and am very proud of.

I have always loved working with children and young people, and I see my role in shaping their future as both a privilege and of course at times, a challenge. I am passionate about education and the role it plays in developing young people with strong values, spiritual and moral awareness, and excellent skills and knowledge to enable them to grow and develop into outstanding citizens in our world.

For me the relationships between families and the academy is key to a successful academy. As academy councillors we need to be approachable and accessible so we can work closely with you and the academy to celebrate success and find solutions to any concerns. As a parent myself, I know how important it is that the academy gets it right to meet the individual needs of all our children – something I know is central to all the staff in our academy.

I hope we can work together to ensure we provide the best learning opportunities and life skills we can for our children at Northern Saints.

Olivia Vickers – Vice Chair

I have been a part of Northern Saints Governing Board since 2018. During this time, I have been responsible for supporting the Resources Committee, upholding the Christian ethos of the school and becoming an active Link Governor for Pupil Premium.

Having two young children myself and spending most of my career in Finance, I am passionate about education and ensuring the children get the most they can from their time here.

I am proud to be a part of your amazing community. I am openly contactable should any of the children, parents, teachers or staff need support.

Eileen Watson – Academy Councillor

After a 25 year career in teaching, mostly in a large Junior school, I became an independent music consultant helping to develop the music curriculum in primary school classrooms across many schools in Sunderland and beyond. This also led to involvement with Sunderland and Northumbria Universities providing training sessions to student teachers and supervising them during their placements in schools. My beliefs are closely aligned to the academy ethos that all children should have the same opportunities. Since retiring, my interest in education has been continued through the academy council when not otherwise occupied by involvement in Bishopwearmouth Choral Society.

Emma Maxfield – Staff Academy Councillor

I’m Miss Maxfield: the Staff Academy Councillor here at Northern Saints. This is my sixth year at Northern Saints, during that time I have taught across both Key Stage One and EYFS. Currently, I am Phonics Lead and responsible for the development of Early Reading across the academy. This is something I have a particular passion for and something which I will continue to develop and progress further.

In addition to this, my love of outdoor activities has allowed me to take part in many of the academy’s outward bound programmes. This is something I believe is integral to the children’s wider learning: providing opportunities and experiences which otherwise would not be possible.

Jennifer Bradshaw – Academy Councillor

I am Jennifer Bradshaw one of the academy councillors and also one of your local vicars!

Working with children has always been a big part of my life – I love seeing people grow and develop into the person God made! Being an academy councillor offers the chance to support some of the most important years of a child’s life and support the staff who will inspire and encourage them along the way.

Gary Wallis-Clarke – DBE Academy Councillor
School Improvement Consultant and National Leader of Education

Having taught in the North East since 1992, I am delighted to be a member of the Academy Council of Northern Saints CofE Academy.

I grew up and went to school in Sunderland and was fortunate to have had a wonderful education that allowed me the opportunity to train as a primary teacher with specialisms in music and design technology in Lincoln. I have taught in schools in South Shields, Blyth, Fulwell, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, West Denton and Jesmond over the past 29 years.

I have been the Head teacher of two very successful primary schools in Newcastle and was Head of Primary Education for South Tyneside Authority. I have led a National Teaching School and am accredited as a School Improvement Partner and National Leader of Education.

I want the education of children at Northern Saints to be exciting, inspiring and broad; so they have many opportunities to explore all areas of the curriculum and find their passion, whether that be maths, singing, football or painting. I want the children to be secure in their own identity and individuality and also aware of the wonderfully diverse world we live in today, alongside the proud history of our region.

As a step-father to two wonderful children, I know how important the primary years of education are and will work tirelessly to support the academy and the staff to achieve the very best for your children.

Tina Murphy – Academy Councillor

I have been involved in School Governing Bodies for the past thirty five years. I am currently an established Headteacher in a neighbouring local authority. I am also a National Leader of Education.

I care passionately about improving the life chances of all children through the provision of high quality primary education. I look forward to continuing to support Mr Jones and his team of dedicated staff throughout the coming year.

Heather Broderick –  Parent Academy Councillor

I joined the Academy Council as Parent Academy Councillor in 2021, my oldest daughter is a pupil at Northern Saints.
As a parent academy councillor I want to support the academy to continue to deliver on their ethos and visions. I believe passionately in doing the best for the children.
I have a background of workplace learning, development and engagement.

Cllr John Usher –   Academy Councillor

I am John Usher one of the academy councillors and also one of your local Sunderland City Councillors. I am delighted to have been nominated as the LA Academy Councillor at Northern Saints. I will give everything to ensure your child has the best education we can provide. Every child matters! I have been Chair and Foundation Governor at schools in Blyth and now look forward to contributing in Sunderland where I grew up.

Gary Scott-Cummings –   Academy Councillor

My name is Gary Scott and I am delighted to be an Academy Councillor at Northern Saints. I joined as a Foundation Governor in November 2022 after a similar spell at another local Primary School. I am currently Headteacher at a school in South Tyneside which has also recently joined the Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Learning Trust. I have been teaching for 16 years beginning in the Redcar and Cleveland area before moving up to this area in 2013. I am passionate about making a difference to the lives of children and young people and am looking forward to working with the school staff as the school moves into its next chapter as part of DNDLT.

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