Ruth Younger (Chair of Academy Council)
I grew up on my family’s farm near Rothbury, and I’ve returned here to raise my own children. I graduated from Durham University with a degree in Politics and worked for 11 years in various campaigning and communication roles, based between London and the North East. I now run a Bed & Breakfast and enjoy welcoming lots of visitors to this beautiful part of the world.

I have two sons who are currently attending schools within The Three Rivers; the eldest is at Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School and the youngest is at Thropton Village First School.

I have been a Governor at Thropton since 2016 and have a particular interest in communication, as well as education in rural areas like the Coquet Valley. I’m really pleased to now be an Academy Councillor within the Learning Trust.
Judith Carr (Vice Chair of Academy Council)
My professional background has always been in education. I taught for 36 years, entirely in the secondary sector, in the west end of Newcastle. My principal subject was Physical Education which in later years developed to include Sport Science. I was a Head of Department for 10 years and for my last 8 years before retirement I worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher within my own school and was seconded to the Local Authority for 1 day a week. This work focussed on the development of teaching and learning styles across the curriculum and included outreach work in First, Primary and Middle Schools giving me some experience of all Key Stages including very active involvement in the organisation and delivery of five Summer Schools each involving over 200 children aged between 6 and 10.
Since retirement I have worked occasionally as a Consultant supporting Subject Leaders, most of whom were in the primary sector. I have also worked with a Disability Charity in developing an advice service specifically to support disabled people experiencing a variety of challenges including young people, their parents, friends and carers.
I have an association with Thropton going back throughout my life and have lived here permanently for 21 years. I am currently a member of the Parish Council and as such I have an interest in all areas of village life however, as a retired teacher, particularly the School. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to serve as an Academy Councillor and look forward to working collaboratively to support the work and development of the whole School and Learning Trust community while continuing to develop my own knowledge and experience of rural education.
Liam Murtagh (Executive Head Teacher)
Hello, I am Liam Murtagh - the Headteacher of both Thropton Village First School and Dr Thomlinson CofE Middle School. I am very proud to be part of a committed team that is striving to enable each child to be the very best they can be.
Flora Whitfield (Assistant Head Teacher)
I grew up in Northumberland, attending school in Gosforth and then Alnwick. I went on to do a Sociology degree at Durham University and then did my Primary PGCE at Northumbria University. I taught in Bedlington for 3 years in a first school which then came a primary school, before coming to work at Thropton Village First School as a class teacher and then becoming Assistant headteacher. My particular interests are in educating the whole child and I have enjoyed working on curriculum design at Thropton. I am a Year 2 external moderator for County and enjoy visiting other schools through this work.
Natalie Baldry
Myself, husband and 5 children live in Morpeth, from September I will have 3 children in Newmister Middle School and 2 children in Abbeyfields First School. I recently became a Academy Councillor for Thropton Village First School and I’m really enjoying getting to know the school.

I am currently Managing Director of Clarke Holland Estate Agents. A busy family run business that sees myself and my husband work alongside each other managing their team to sell people’s homes as well as managing their own and other property investors portfolios. My knowledge of property and the Estate Agency industry enables me to be best placed to support others to start their own Estate Agency, this is done via a mentor based franchise. Expanding on my love of property we have recently also bought a Serviced Accommodation business, Shortmove Group Ltd. Women’s Property Network is a monthly property support group that I set up with my partner Michelle after spotting a need for the event for females in property to come together and form lasting friendships. We have recently branched out into Serviced Accommodation and have bought into a national serviced accommodation management company called Shortmove.

Charity and children are subjects that I'm passionate about I’m a also trustee for Hope 4 Kidz and Grandparents plus. I’m also a volunteer for Family Lives and work on 2 of their projects, the first being befriending of kinship carers and helping with funding forms and I’m part of the Parent Child Home Program being trialled in the North East of England after being brought over from the USA.
Melanie Thompson-Glen
Having had my three children all attend Thropton Village First School, the youngest still being in year 3 I am delighted to join the Academy Council.
I have lived around Rothbury my entire life and am passionate about keeping vibrant communities in rural areas, including local schools. My current role as Business Development Manager at Gateshead College provides me with a great deal of insight into an Ofsted outstanding College and the importance of offering children as broad a range of experiences as possible from a young age.
In the past I have worked as a business and export adviser for a range of organisations including the Foreign Office through the Department of International Trade and the local Enterprise Agency. I ran my own consultancy business for six years before joining Gateshead College two years ago. I hope my skills can be used to benefit the continued success of Thropton Village First School.