Who's Who

WEST Board of Directors

John Anderson                   St John's Primary School      Chair

Wendy Mitcheson               Broadwood Primary School    Vice-Chair


Samantha Robson              Bridgewater

Nitin Shukla                       Bridgewater

Meg Fisher                         Broadwood Primary School

Kathryn Herron                  Canning Street Primary School

Jill Lyall                             Canning Street Primary School

Jane Dube                         Hawthorn Primary School

David Drewe                      Hawthorn Primary School

Craig Heeley                      Lemington Riverside Primary School

Robert Wilson                    Lemington Riverside Primary School

Linda Hall                          Moorside Primary School

Pauline Piddington              Moorside Primary School

Tracey Caffrey                   St John's Primary School

Jason Cochrane                 St Paul's Church of England Primary School

George Curry                     St Paul's Church of England Primary School                         

Jane Mullarkey                   Wingrove Primary School

Asad Haque-Ahsan             Wingrove Primary School

Sarah Edgar                       Newcastle City Council

Liz Todd                             Newcastle University

Lorna Longworth                 General Practitioner

David Jones                        Centre for Life

Thomas Elwick                     TWAM


Trust Officer

Helen Thomson

Email: helen.thomson@bridgewater.newcastle.sch.uk
Telephone: 0191 274 5290
Working Days: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday term time only

  • Tracey Caffrey

    I've been part of the St John's family since 1996 and immensely proud to be headteacher for the past ten years.

    I'm passionate about making learning exciting and memorable for children and look back on my own school years with joy. We all remember those teachers who inspired us and helped shape the people we are now and I think I'm lucky to work in WEST with a whole team of people who do that every day. I love that being part of a trust of eight schools gives us the chance to share ideas and develop. I'm not shy about the fact that I never leave another school without at least a couple of great ideas worth stealing!

    Working in a primary school means there are no two days the same and surprises wait around every corner. I've long accepted that there are often days that I don't do any of the work that I had planned, but I have the best job in the world (most of the time).

    On a personal level, I'm married with two grown-up sons and a dog called Wilf. I take every chance I can to travel and enjoy visiting new places and exploring. I love to feel the sun on my face but I find it increasingly difficult to sit still! The world is a big place and I plan to see as much of it as I can.

  • John Anderson

    I am a retired solicitor and law graduate of Newcastle University. I have lived all my life in the west of the city.

    I am a governor of St John’s Primary School in Benwell and a volunteer with the NSPCC Schools Service.

    I can often be found in second hand book shops, browsing and sometimes even buying!

  • Kathryn Herron

    I have been Headteacher at Canning Street since 2017. I have worked at Canning Street as Deputy Head and Phase Leader since 2006 and have enjoyed working in the West end and getting to know the people and the community.

    Previous to that I taught for a number of years in a small primary school in South Tyneside, which was also the primary school I attended as a child.

    I have two small children and enjoy spending time with them outdoors, cycling, running and playing tennis. We also like to spend time at the beach, whatever the weather.

  • Jane Dube

    I was appointed to the board in January 2018. I am currently Head of Hawthorn Primary School and have worked in schools in the West of Newcastle since 2001. I am originally from Glasgow, Scotland and trained there before going overseas to teach in Zimbabwe, Africa. After living and working in Zimbabwe for over 10 years I moved to the North East.

  • David Drewe

    I am a solicitor and a partner. Originally, I am from Liverpool but came to University in Newcastle, and basically have never left since! I am a governor at Hawthorn Primary School which is how I became associated with the Trust.

    Outside of work I am a season ticket holder at St James Park (long story!), enjoy cycling and walking and socialising with friends, with a terrible reputation for "daddy dancing"

  • George Curry

    I am a Governor of St Paul’s Primary School, Elswick. I am also a governor of an independent secondary school.

    I am Trustee of Centre West., Member of the Newcastle Diocesan Education Board and I am also a resident of Elswick.

  • Jane Mullarkey

    I am the head teacher at Wingrove Primary School, which is one of the eight schools in the Trust. I firmly believe in schools working together to ensure that all children are supported to achieve their very best and be happy. Our Trust aims to ensure that no child is left behind. We are committed to provide children with an exciting curriculum and through the engagement of our Trust partners we are able to provide a wide range of experiences for all of our children. I am also a Mum to two children which keeps me very busy. In my spare time I like to keep fit by doing Pilates and running and I love to go to see live music whenever I can. I trained at The Institute of Education in London where I gained a PGCE following my first degree (BAHons) in business and marketing.

  • Wendy Mitcheson

    It is a real privilege for me to return to schools in the West End in the role of Headteacher at Broadwood Primary school. I have been teaching for over 20 years and my passion for education is unwavering as I believe every child deserves the best education and opportunities possible. Being part of the Trust is fantastic as everybody within the Trust is fully committed in trying to achieve the same goals for our children, and the collaboration is so valuable!

    I am mum to 3 children and also take care of Broadie (our school dog) who all keep me very busy. Being a mum is an absolute joy and my hopes and ambitions for their experience of school life certainly sets the bar for what I strive to achieve for all children.

    I prefer to be in the great outdoors so in my spare time you will find me walking Broadie, cycling or climbing mountains – Ben Nevis being the highest climb so far!

  • Meg Fisher

    I worked as an analytical chemist in the pharmaceutical industry before I retired some years ago. I am on the board of governors at Broadwood Primary school. I attend the Church of the Holy Spirit Denton and am involved in many activities there including toddlers club and community lunches. In my spare time I enjoy gardening, reading and needlework.

  • Sam Robson

    I have been teaching for 25 years and a Head teacher for the past 10 years at Bridgewater School which is a 0-11 years school. I have worked in 4 schools in Newcastle, all in the West End and I worked for four and a half years as Deputy Head in a school in Hebburn, South Tyneside. I have a Psychology degree, PGCE and a Masters in Education. I represent our Trust on a number of Boards and I am working with Newcastle University, the LA and all the voluntary sector organisations in the West End to develop our Children’s Community.

    I have mentored new Heads and was Head of another school in our Trust for a year alongside my own. I am an Achievement Partner for a Newcastle School and I am involved in school to school support through Newcastle’s ‘Promise Board’.

    My passion is making a difference for children and families particularly in challenging circumstances and as a Head I like to be as involved as possible working directly with the children and their parents.

  • Liz Todd

    I am a Professor of Educational Inclusion. I research community schools, youth voice, the impact of poverty on schools and theory of change approach to evaluation of initiatives. I also works on the engagement of young people in development and research, and the practice of respectful democratic approaches to change (personal and organisational). I am a Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Social Science at. This Institute champions Newcastle University’s world leading in the social sciences and forges partnerships between the university and external organisations in order to contribute to creative solutions to societal challenges. I am co-editor of the International Journal of Research and Method in Education. My books Beyond the school gates; can extended schools overcome disadvantage? and Partnerships for inclusive education were highly commended. I continue to be a practitioner.

    I have worked as a maths teacher and an educational psychologist before moving to Fiji for 3 years to the University of the South Pacific, which started my academic career. I still work as a trainer in video interaction guidance and undertake narrative team building with small charities.

  • Dr Lorna Longworth

    Lorna joined West Road Medical Practice in 2011. She previously worked in Benwell. She currently works part time. She enjoys dealing with the wide variety of conditions seen in an average day. Her particular interests include care of elderly patients. She works with other team members to co-ordinate the Patient Participation Group.

  • David Jones

    I was appointed to the Board in June 2018. I works in the Life Science Centre where he is Community Liaison Manager. Prior to this I had a long career in housing management, most recently with Byker Community Trust where I was Head of Engagement and Community Development. I am a graduate of Northumbria University where I was awarded a PG DIP in Housing Studies and Management.

    I am passionate about working in partnership to support communities and making a difference to people’s life’s.

    In my spare time I play the bagpipes in a pipe band and I also follow Newcastle Eagles Basketball Team.

  • Linda Hall

    Head Teacher at Moorside and Director of West End Schools' Trust

  • Pauline Piddington

    I worked in education for almost 40 years. Having trained as a middle school teacher, I began my career as a class teacher and ended it as a Senior Inspector with the school improvement team of a local authority. My particular interests are curriculum and quality assurance.

    Now retired, I have been very pleased to be able to continue my association with education as a school governor and, more recently as a director of the Trust.

    My “just for fun” interests are gardening and learning [very slowly] to play the piano.

  • Helen Thomson

    I qualified as a Solicitor in 2005 and worked in private practice.

    In 2017 I joined WEST as a Company Secretary/Trust Officer. I enjoy working with all of our schools, applying for grants and providing opportunities for the schools to learn and have fun together.

    In my spare time I am a Trustee for an emergency services charity, trustee of a community garden and orchard, PTFA committee member at my local village Primary School and School Governor. I have a Labrador dog and can often be found walking her in nearby woodland. I also have two cats who are zero value for money and only really bother with me if they are hungry or require an expensive vet bill!

  • Nitin Shukla

    Nitin is Policy, Performance and Scrutiny Officer at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria and is currently seconded to Northumbria Police to focus on workforce development. He has worked in the public sector for over 30 years and has experience of equality and diversity. Nitin is Chair of Governors at Bridgewater Primary School and Chair of Haven Tyneside which provides supported accommodation for vulnerable people; Development Board Member of Marie Curie Hospice and member of the ITV Tyne Tees Diversity Panel. Nitin is also a member of Newcastle University Council and Secretary of the North East Gujarati Association.

  • Asad Haque-Ahsan

    I have been a Governor at Wingrove Primary School for the last 10 years and am extremely proud to be associated to such a fantastic school and, now, Trust. I have seen first hand the positive impact a caring, inclusive culture can have on childrens’ lives.

    I am an analyst / project manager by day, where my focus is on improving the way things (whatever they may be) are done. I currently work in the civil service. Prior to that I spent 20 years working at a major Telecoms provider.

    I live in the local area with my wife and 3 children. I also volunteer with Northumbria Police and coach a boys football team.

  • Mr Jason Cochrane

    Working within this Trust is a real privilege. I am the Headteacher at St Paul’s Primary School and have been in education for 20 years as a teacher and as an IT Consultant.

    Although I have lived in the Northeast for 20 years, I was raised in Northern Ireland and my love for education was shaped by my own P7 (Year 6) teacher.

    My guiding principle for teaching is this quote by Martin Luther King Jr, " Intelligence plus Character - that is the true goal of education."

    I love a good challenge and have undertaken quite a few over the years, including a marathon, half-marathons, sprint triathlon, long distance bike rides, Three Peaks and hiking. My latest challenge is to achieve a black belt in Karate within the next 2 years.

    I am married to Lydia and have four children, two at secondary school and two at primary and they all keep me active, entertained and sometimes exhausted!

  • Thomas Elwick

    I'm a Museum education professional currently working in History and STEM. My original training saw me working as a qualified Art Teacher, with a specialism in Fine Art, but have now worked in Museum Education for a considerable number of years. I have also worked across a wide range of Museums and Art Galleries across Tyne and Wear and also supported Museum and Heritage colleagues across the North East region. I currently manage of a small team of education professionals who deliver the Learning Programmes at Discovery Museum, Tyne and Wear Archives and The Boxes of Delight loans service. We have recently been awarded a Sandford Award (2021 - 2026), which recognises the quality of our learning provision.

  • Jill Lyall

    I am newly appointed to WEST. I am a governor at Canning Street Primary School

  • Sarah Edgar

    I am School Effectiveness and EAL lead at Newcastle City Council

  • Craig Heeley

    I am headteacher of Lemington Riverside Primary School and co-chair of the inclusion sub group of the city’s Promise Board.

    I am passionate about schools being hubs at the heart of their community and that was one of the driving factors behind our school joining WEST in 2023 to work with other like-minded schools. I am committed to ensuring our school is as inclusive as it can be. I am a firm believer that children should leave primary school not only with the strongest academic outcomes, but with positive memories that last them a lifetime.

    Prior to being headteacher of Lemington Riverside I was deputy headteacher at primary schools in Newcastle and Derbyshire. I am also a DfE ‘Specialist Leader of Education’ (SLE) specialising in curriculum development and have supported a large number of schools through this role.

    When I’m not at school I love travelling to new places, photography and supporting my hometown football club, Chesterfield FC!

  • Bob Wilson

    I am Chair of Governors at Lemington Riverside Primary School