Corporation Road, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear SR2 8PL

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  1. Governance

Meet our Local Academy councillors



Sarah Hindmarch - Chair of Local Academy Council (Trustee Appointed)

My name is Sarah Hindmarch, In 2007, I gained a 1st class Honours degree in Business Administration from Alliance University in New York City where I played NCAA Division 1 level basketball.  I am a chartered accountant, with over fifteen years’ experience in a variety of finance roles, working with organisations such as Galileo Multi Academy Trust, Durham University, the NHS, and Business & Enterprise Group. 

What is your motivation for being part of our Learning Trust? 

In 2020 I had the privileged opportunity to work alongside the IRIS Trust CEO who introduced me to Valley Road Primary. 

From my first visit I could sense just how special Valley Road Primary School is to its local community and stakeholders. The culture is underpinned by a strong set of values, the staff are driven, dedicated, and motivated to ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure the hopes and aspirations of all pupils are fulfilled. 

 What can you offer our Learning Trust?

I have over 5-years’ experience working in a Multi Academy Trust. I have a track record of embedding robust financial governance across organisations to protect cash flow and profitability while maximising income generation. I bring drive, determination, dedication, and compassion as standard with a burning desire for success.


Neil Clyde - Vice Chair (Trustee Appointed) 

My name is Neil Clyde and I have a background in Electrical engineering and thirty years experience as a social worked for the local authority, I have also worked as an advisor on Benefits, Housing , Employment and Debt management, until I retired. 


What is your motivation for being part of our Learning Trust?

To ensure children in the area can benefit from education in its widest sense at Valley Road Academy. My  own children attended Valley Road School and did very well. I considered it my duty  as a councillor to continue and contribute after my own children left ,so the children that followed could benefit from the education offered by Valley Road. When the old infant and Junior schools closed, I was one of 4 governors who raised the money and worked with builders and architects to construct the existing school which became part of the Iris learning Trust  .

 What can you offer our Learning Trust?

A particular set of skills acquired over  a long life and career in engineering , community development , Social Work and Advice Work.


James Taylor- Staff Councillor

My name is James Taylor and I have been a teacher at Valley Road since 2014. During this time, I have taught in Year Four and Five. I have led a range of subjects such as:  design technology, computing and careers / aspirations. Currently I am responsible for coordinating maths across school. Prior to completing teacher training, I worked as a Youth Worker and for Youth Music. These roles involved working with young people to develop their interests in music. This led me to my career in primary teaching. 

What is your motivation for being part of our Learning Trust?

To enhance my knowledge and understanding of the strategic leadership of school and to work as part of a strong team to drive the school forward. 

What can you offer our Learning Trust? 

A passion for teaching and learning. I enjoy developing my knowledge and understanding of teaching and the strategic leadership of school. I am a dedicated individual and always strive to achieve the best for the children in our school and trust. 


Laura Carlin Brown - Parent Councillor 

My name is Laura Carlin Brown and I have two children who attend Valley Road Academy.  I studied fashion at University and love to design and make children's clothes. I have recently qualified as a teaching assistant, and now work in the school as part of the Early Years Team.  

What is your motivation for being part of our Learning Trust?

My motivation for being part of the  learning trust is be the voice for the parents. To help make the school a place where our children can enjoy learning and be the best that can be by providing the right environment they need. I am also interested in the running of the schools and what it takes to keep a school at a good standard. 

What can you offer our Learning Trust? 

 I can give an insight from a parents of view. Making sure that Valley Road keeps achieving at a high standard in helping our children by working as part of the governance team. 


Nicola Claire McAlwee

My name is Nicola, and I am currently a stay at home mum to 4 children, 3 of which attend Valley Road Academy.

I have studied at University and achieved a Degree and Maters in Crimonolgy.

 I have previous working experience with Northumbria Police as a emergency call handler. I have undertaken courses in my spare time to gain better insight into a number of issues that children and young people may face, and enjoy learning new things.

What is you motivation for being part of our learning trust?

Three of my children currently attend Valley Road Academy. I have an keen interest in their education and becoming involved as a volunteer with their school. I have volunteered at previous schools and attended parent days to be part of my childrens education.

I am proud of how much my children have grown in Valley Road Academy and the support they have recieved, particularily my eldest daughter for her preparation for SATs. I am always happy to help when possible to do so, and I look forward to learning more about Valley Road Academy.






























Local Academy Council Information and Attendance

Please click here to visit our Governance attendance page.