Meet the Team
Mr Colin Lofthouse
Chief Executive Officer
After graduating from Sheffield University with a degree in Archaeology and Pre-History, he began a career as an archaeologist before re-training as a primary teacher in 1997.
He began teaching in a primary school in Gateshead before becoming a deputy headteacher in a first school in Northumberland, at which he became acting headteacher. After this, he took on a school of his own in Newcastle, and successfully led that school out of special measures and on to outstanding in all areas in its Ofsted Inspection. He left to become headteacher at a larger primary school in Washington, Sunderland.
Colin is a trustee of Schools North-East, a charity whose mission it is to support and champion all schools in the north east. He sits on the Healthy MindED Commission which is researching the causes and impact of mental health issues in our young people, and the excellent work our schools are doing to help. He is also a representative on the Newcastle School’s Promise Board, and Chair for the Newcastle Virtual School’s governing body.
Colin is an experienced school improvement partner, headteacher mentor, published author, and conference speaker on the themes of his research into leadership, coaching, and curriculum development.
He is father to 3 adopted children (now grown up), and has a lovely dog called Duke. In his spare time he is a mountaineer and rock climber, plays the piano, and is an obsessive cyclist.
Colin committed to working with our schools to improve the opportunities and experience of all children and parents in the communities we serve.
Mrs Alison Robinson
Director of Business & Finance
An accounting graduate of the University of Abertay in Dundee, Alison joined British Gas as a Graduate Finance Trainee based in Newcastle upon Tyne and achieved membership of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) shortly after. Although being determined to head back home over the border after a year, the city is very much home now after 25+ years, despite some time spent working in London and Munich.
An experienced Finance professional who has successfully fulfilled senior and managerial roles in both the manufacturing and service sectors, across a varied array of industries in large, complex multinational organisations, in addition to smaller privately owned businesses. Alison has extensive experience in delivering high quality finance support as part of the senior leadership team of organisations.
Alison joined the Trust in September 2019 and has been steering our team in delivering truly excellent education and opportunities for our pupils ever since.
Mr Chris Haves
Chris is the Trust Infrastructure Manager, with responsibility for wider Trust infrastructure such as IT and telephony. The role also includes the production of Trust-wide KPIs and being the Trust Data Protection Officer (DPO).
Chris has worked in the education sector since 2005, formerly as a Business Performance Management Officer with Newcastle city Council, before moving to Northern Education Trust in 2016 as a data analyst. Prior to this Chris worked for a large national insurance company.
Chris is father to two children and has a wide range of interests including cycling and retro gaming.
Mr Ray Childs
Ray is a big 4 qualified ACA chartered accountant. He worked for 17 years at the North of England P&I Association, a marine insurance company, where he was responsible for all financial and regulatory reporting. During his time there the company expanded considerably, both by organic growth and by acquisitions, and his role included assisting in the management of systems development.
Subsequently, Ray spent 6 years as the accountant for a marine claims handling company where he was involved in all aspects of the finance function and general systems development. The company won two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise while he worked there.
Ray produces the monthly management accounts, assists with the year end audit and the budgeting process for the Trust. In his free time Ray enjoys hiking and travelling.
Mr Stephen Davies
Stephen joined SMART in August 2022 having worked in the education sector in the northeast for over 20 years. He is passionate about history and taught it at secondary level before moving into a variety of management roles in schools and multi-academy trusts.
He sees good governance as integral to the health of the education sector and is pleased to be working with the dedicated Members, Trustees and Local Governors at SMART. All of our governance volunteers know that their respective roles require strategic thinking, intelligent scrutiny and community engagement to be combined with a determination to see children's life chances transformed. If you share that vision, do find out more about volunteering on the Vacancies section of our website HERE.
Miss Hollie Lowrey
Administration & Finance Support Officer
Hollie joined the team in July 2022 having previously worked in customer service roles in both the travel and healthcare sectors.
Hollie supports all the office functions of the Central Team and is the initial point of contact for the Trust, based in the reception area of the Trust Office.
Beyond life at SMART, Hollie enjoys walking with her partner and her dog.
Mr Simon Anthony-Tatters
Health & Safety and Estates Manager
Simon (known as Tats) was born in Sunderland and educated at Washington School. Following completion of an RAF Sixth- Form Scholarship, he attended the RAF College Cranwell and was commissioned in 1988.
He initially served as an Air Traffic Management Officer and later specialised in Air/Land integration at the tactical and operational level. He has extensive operational experience from the Gulf War to Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
He completed 25 years of military service in 2013 and transitioned to Consultancy, specialising in Aviation and Airspace Management in the energy industry before joining Knight Frank LLP in a Facilities Management appointment.
From 2017-2023 he worked for Tenth Revolution Group as Head of Facilities, managing multiple global sites. He oversaw the expansion of the business footprint in mainland Europe and successfully guided the business through the CV19 pandemic.
He took up his current role with the Smart Multi Academy Trust in Jul 2023.
He is married to Janice and in his spare time is a keen cyclist, lover of the outdoors and spends far too much time keeping his MGs on the road.