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

Governance at NCEA

The Northumberland Church of England Academy is a 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 (FGPC) and Academy Standards and Improvement (ASIC). Terms of Reference of the two committees are given here.

Finance and General Purposes Committee: Terms of Reference

Academy Standards and Improvement Committee: Terms of Reference

Register of Governor Interests 2016

Governor attendance 2016-2017

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


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

Governing Body

John Brearley Chair, Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Jane Scott Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Richard Bishopp Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Alex Cox Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
John Marshall Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Stephen Purvis Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Jim Lang Local Authority
Martin Browell Parent
Marc Kelly Community
Paul Johnson Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Alan Hardie interim CEO (Ex-officio)

Finance and General Purposes Committee (FGPC)

John Brearley Chair, Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Stephen Purvis Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Alex Cox Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Alan Hardie Interim CEO (Accounting Officer)

Academy Standards and Improvement Committee (ASIC)

Richard Bishopp Chair, Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
John Marshall Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Jane Scott Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Marc Kelly Community
Paul Johnson  Newcastle Diocesan Board of Education
Alan Hardie  Interim CEO







Governor Pen Portraits

Richard Bishopp

Richard Bishopp

I have been involved in education 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 a school adviser/inspector and continued in that role until I retired, as senior adviser, in 2010. From 2010 until 2018 I worked as an independent consultant, providing advice and support principally in relation to school improvement.  I am also a governor at the Northumberland Pupil Referral Unit, where I was chair from 2010 to 2017.

I am proud to serve as a Foundation Governor, currently as chair of the Academy Standards and Improvement Committee. I am passionate about ensuring that all children receive the best possible education and are enabled and encouraged to achieve to their full potential.

Away from education, I am an active member of my local church; I sing with my local Choral Society; and I am president of Alnwick and District Swimming Club.

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.

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.

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.

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.

John Marshall

I am a lawyer and spent my legal career at Dickinson Dees LLP, latterly Bond Dickinson LLP, from 1989-2016 as a Disputes Resolution lawyer working nationwide, and latterly Senior Partner.  I am Chair of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, the destination marketing organisation for Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider region.  I am also Chair of Trustees of Newcastle United Foundation, Chair of the Regional Development Committee for Prince’s Trust, Council Member for North East England Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Advisory Board for Newcastle University Business School.  I am non-Executive Director of both North East Ambulance Service and North East England Chamber of Commerce.  I am proud to serve as a Foundation Governor and am committed to ensure every child here gets the opportunity, and is encouraged, to achieve to their full potential.

Martin Browell

I work in adult social care for Northumbria Healthcare and I am a parent of two girls: one in primary and one in secondary at Josephine Butler Campus. For the last five years I have also been the Chairperson of the Friends of Josephine Butler Primary Campus, and during this time I have organised many fundraising events such as school fairs, discos and our annual fun run, securing in excess of £50,000 to support charities, extra-curricular activities and resources. I work hard to ensure the school is a vibrant part of the local community and am an ambassador for them with local businesses, families and other organisations.  I also support, where possible, with school trips to local points of interest, museums and other attractions, I have recently become more involved in supporting the learners and staff of Josephine Butler Primary with their alternative curriculum and very popular award winning gardening group. These give learners a chance to work outdoors on such projects as planting, cultivating and harvesting their own flowers and vegetables.  I am very interested in how learning is developing within the academy and I am committed to help make each learner in the academy the best they can be.

Stephen Purvis

I serve as a Foundation Governor representing the Bishop and Diocese of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.  Born and bred in the North East, I served for 12 years in the Royal Navy as a pilot in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft.  I served operationally around the world including in Northern Ireland, Iraq and latterly in support of the campaign in Afghanistan.  Retiring in 2011 I started a bespoke software business that grew rapidly and was sold as a group of companies in 2016.  I have invested in 10 North East technology companies and am on the board of around half of those.  I am the co-founder and Chairman of the dedicated Northern policy think tank – Policy North.  I run a private charitable foundation and live and manage a country hall and estate in mid-Northumberland.  I have a passion for investing in our children as future technologists and entrepreneurs.


The Chair of Governors, John Brearley, 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