How We Govern

School governors and trustees have three core functions:
• Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
• Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
• Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well

LATEST NEWS!  Warkworth CofE Primary School joins the Trust

Trustees are delighted to welcome Warkworth CofE Primary School as a new member of the NCEA family of schools as of 1 September 2020.

Warkworth will continue to operate as a separate primary school and will not become part of Bishop’s or a feeder school for Duke’s, so there will be no changes to admissions for Warkworth or the other NCEAT schools as a result.

Mr Hardie commented: “Warkworth is a highly successful and popular school at the heart of its local community. As a Church of England school, its vision and ethos fits perfectly with that of our Trust. We look forward to building an excellent partnership with Warkworth over the next few years and we are delighted they’ve chosen to join NCEAT”.

Governance at NCEA Trust

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

The structure is made up of Members, Trustees and Governors.

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At the beginning of September 2019, there were two Trust committees; Finance, Operations and Risk (FORC) and Achievement and Standards (ASC).   In May 2020, Trustees agreed that with the introduction of local governing boards to Bishop’s and Castle in September 2019, the ASC should disband.  The NCEA Endowment Trust (ET) is a registered charitable trust.

There are local governing bodies for Bishop’s Primary and Castle Schools and an Academy Improvement Board for Duke’s School (see explanatory note below).  The Terms of reference for the local governing bodies are held within the Scheme of Delegation.


The Members, Trustees and Committees are given below:

Rachel Scheffer Appointed by Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Dennis Handley Representing the Bishop of Newcastle
Peter Robinson Representing Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Rory Wilson Appointed by Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
in consultation with Northumberland Estates
John Brearley Chair of Governors

John Brearley Chair, Member appointed
Richard Bishopp Member appointed
Martin Browell Parent Elected
Alex Cox Member appointed
Alan Hardie Ex-officio
Jeff Hope Co-opted
Paul Johnson Member appointed
John Marshall Vice Chair, Member appointed
Mina Munns Member appointed
Stephen Purvis Member appointed

Stephen Purvis Chair of FORC
Alison Alden Chief Financial Officer (non-voting)
John Brearley
Alex Cox Chair of Endowment Trust
Alan Hardie CEO/Accounting Officer (non-voting)
John Marshall

Disbanded in May 2020

Richard Bishopp Chair
Natalie Fountain
Alan Hardie CEO
Marc Kelly
John Marshall

John Marshall Trustee (Chair)
Richard Bishopp Trustee
Dave Cookson  Commissioner for Secondary Education, Northumberland County Council
Alan Hardie Trustee and CEO
Jeff Hope Trustee
Mina Munns Trustee
Stephen Purvis Trustee
Paul Rickeard Director of Education, Newcastle Diocese
Rachel Mays English specialist support

Governance at Bishop’s Primary School, Castle School and Duke’s Secondary School

The NCEA Trust Board agreed to form Local Governing Bodies (LGBs) for Bishop’s Primary School and Castle School.  What this means is that Bishop’s and Castle each have a governing body which focuses on the individual school.  The LGBs are accountable for their decisions to the Trust Board.  The first meetings of the LGBs took place in the spring term 2020.

Duke’s Secondary School
In order to secure rapid improvement for Duke’s School, Trustees have appointed an Academy Improvement Board which meets monthly.



The Chair of the Board of Trustees, John Brearley, may be contacted by email at or in writing:
The Board of Trustees
c/o Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust
Josephine Butler Campus
Academy Road
NE63 9FZ

Alternatively, Trustees may be contacted via Lesley Dalby, Governance Manager, on 01670 816111 ext 368