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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

Data Analyst and DPO

Chris is an experienced Data Analyst, who has worked in the education sector for 16 years. He worked with Newcastle City Council from 2005 to 2016 as a Business Performance Management Officer, a role that developed to include school performance analysis, population forecasting, and leading the calculations behind the cities school funding allocations. In 2016 Chris moved to Northern Education Trust as a Data Analyst, supporting performance analysis for the Trust's leadership and across the Trust's 20 schools. Prior to this Chris worked for a large national insurance company, specialising in analysing call centre metrics.

Alongside being the Trust Data Analyst, Chris is also the Trust Data Protection Officer, Information Governance Officer and Trust IT lead.


Mr Ray Childs

Finance Manager

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.


Mrs Sandra Garrity

Governance Officer

Sandra has been involved with schools since 2003 both as a Local Authority employee and volunteering as a governor for 10 years and as a trustee in a local Multi Academy Trust for 2 years.

She worked with schools in Northumberland County Council providing support on Budgets and Personnel matters and delivering a clerking service, leading on School’s Finance for 5 years. For 6 years at North Tyneside Council her role related specifically to clerking and governor support for a number of schools.

Sandra has a BA (hons) in German Studies, a post graduate diploma in Financial Management and completed the NCSL Clerking programme.

Sandra joined the Trust in September 2020 and was delighted to be able to take up a new role to support the Trust in developing and improving governance across the Trust.


Mrs Jenny Spoors

Administration & Finance Support Officer

Jenny joined the team in September 2020 with a background of primary education studies and customer service. She worked as a Customer Service Manager at Tyneside Cinema for 9 years and has a strong work ethic and passion for teaching and education. Jenny supports all office functions of the Central team, and is the initial point of contact for the Trust, located at the front desk of the Central Office. Please come and say hello if you are passing by.

Outside of work, Jenny loves to spend time with her husband and daughter. She enjoys reading, sci-fi films, walking in the countryside, and playing board games.


Contact Us

Smart Multi Academy Trust

Wyndham Primary School, Montagu Avenue,

Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 4SB

Smart Multi Academy Trust is a company registered in England and Wales.

Company registration no. 10257723. Registered office address

Wyndham Primary School, Montagu Avenue, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 4SB

If you need this in an alternative format, please contact the school office or phone Smart MAT on 0191 2559251.