The NCEA Trust Board agreed to form a Local Governing Body (LGBs) for Bishop’s Primary School in 2019/20. Trustees agreed to the separation of this in summer 2022 and a new Ashington LGB was formed with Thomas Bewick C of E Primary School and James Knott C of E Primary School.

In 2022, an external review of governance was carried out on request of the Dept for Education by a National Leader of Governance. One of the recommendations from the report was for each school to have its own local governing body. The Trust Board agreed with all recommendations and as part of the action plan, Thomas Bewick LGB and James Knott LGB were formed.

Thomas Bewick C of E Primary School now has a governing body which focuses on the individual school’s needs. The LGB is accountable for their decisions to the Trust Board. The first meetings of the LGB took place in the autumn term 2023.

For more information about School Governance at NCEAT schools visit

Key Documents

Meet Our Governors:

Sue Whitfield : Chair of Governors

Sue Whitfield

Chair of Governors

I have been in Primary education throughout my career, teaching in Manchester, Shropshire and Cheshire. I was a Headteacher for 18 years, for 5 years in a one form entry Primary School then 13 years in a large two form entry C of E Primary School in Cheshire.

Three years ago I qualified as an Executive Coach and started my own Coaching business. I now coach senior leaders in schools across the country and Headteachers in the North West.

I moved to Northumberland two years ago and I am enjoying it so much. I have two grown up sons.

Helen Gordon : Parent Governor

Helen Gordon

Parent Governor

I have over 18 years’ experience of working in education and now work within the
Justice sector.

My previous roles whilst working in education have provided me with vast experience
and knowledge of the daily business running of a school and the curriculum side.
I wanted to be a Parent Governor to support the school that continues to flourish with
the growing local industry.

I live locally with my son, and we love getting out and about, adventuring across the
County and enjoying the superb coastline.

Barbara Billingsley : Vice Chair

Barbara Billingsley

Vice Chair

Upon retiring from my role as Headteacher of a primary school for children aged 2 to 11, just outside the city of Liverpool in Merseyside, I moved to North Tyneside to be closer to my family in 2015. Shortly after, I became a Governor at a local Middle School as I wished to keep abreast of educational developments and use my experience to contribute to the area which I was about to make my home. More recently, to broaden my experience of school governance, particularly governance within multi academy trusts, I volunteered to become a governor within the NCEA Ashington Hub and was delighted to be accepted onto the LGB.

Throughout my years working in education, I gained many skills and a wide range of experience. Investing in school improvement and in particular, the professional development of colleagues, is an area of special interest to me. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to put the experience and knowledge gained in my professional life to good effect in my role as a school governor and to be part of this new, growing and flourishing community with a bright future ahead.

Tanya Barlow : Governor

Tanya Barlow


Natalie Cain : Governor

Natalie Cain


I have worked in education over the past 14 years both in the North West and more recently in the North East.

My previous roles in education have provided me with experience and knowledge when working with a range of learners from 5-18 in the local area.

I am passionate about the importance of careers in the curriculum and highlighting all of the opportunities our amazing region has to offer. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and working with the board to continue the progression of your school.

I live in Northumberland with my daughter and when I am not working we enjoy spending much needed down time with family and friend's.

Cheryl Craggs : Parent Governor

Cheryl Craggs

Parent Governor

I am a stay at home married mother of one. Originally from Portsmouth in Hampshire, my family and I relocated to Ashington in 2018. I have previous experience of working within education recruitment. I enjoy a variety of hobbies including gaming, photography, video editing, and all sorts of crafts.

I decided to become a parent governor as I had some free time in which I wanted to give something back and be a part of the community.

Annie Newlands : Governor

Annie Newlands


Jess Hodson : Headteacher

Jess Hodson


In 2009, I started as a newly qualified teacher at the Trust and have worked across the different schools. For the past 4 years, I have been headteacher of Thomas Bewick. Over my time within the Trust, I have seen it grow and develop and I feel honoured to be part of its journey. Being part of the Thomas Bewick governing body, gives me the opportunity to share the incredible things the staff do in order to ensure the children reach their full potential. I feel very privileged to be the headteacher of Thomas Bewick and I am proud of the staff and children we have in the school.

For the past 14 years I have lived in Northumberland, and there is nothing better I like doing than going for walks on the beach with my daughter and partner.

I hope that I can continue to develop myself professionally and eventually broaden my horizons to be on another governing board for a different school within the Northumberland area.

Contact the Local Governing Body

The Chair of the Local Governing Body, may be contacted by email at or in writing:

Chair of Governors
c/o Thomas Bewick Primary School
Moorhouse Lane
NE63 9FZ

Alternatively, Governors may be contacted via Lesley Dalby, Director of Governance, on 01670 816111 ext 368.