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, we have 2 children at KEVI, 1 child at Newminster, 1 at Abbeyfields the eldest is now at college training to be a flight attendant. I have been an Academy Councillor for Thropton Village First School for many years now and from day one fell in love with what a lovely nurturing school it is and the passion the staff have for making it so.

I have been Managing Director of our family run Estate Agency Clarke Holland and have been now for many years. You could say that my life revolves around property, I also manage serviced accommodation for contractors/holiday makers in Northumberland. My love of property also includes a monthly property networking event that I have been running now for our 5th year.

Charity and children are subjects that I'm passionate about I’m also a trustee for Hope 4 Kidz and Kinship. I've done a lot of volunteering within the charity world over the years and taken part in different projects from peer to peer support to helping parents to engage with their children via the use of toys. Some resent highlights interviewing Sir James Munby for a professional knowledge exchange (daily social workers). Taking part in a round table with Josh MacAlister Chair of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care (his last engagement before writing the review). Attending the People’s Postcode Lottery Gala in Edinburgh.
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.
Christine Sampson
I am a History graduate and I have been a teacher at Dr Thomlinson Middle School since 2005. I am passionate about History both professionally and personally, I can often be found in castles, museums, cathedrals, ruins and trenches in my spare time. I also love to read History books to keep my knowledge up to date. As an educator my primary aim is to make History accessible to everyone regardless of ability. I seek to make History challenging, thought provoking and most of all enjoyable.

I have three children, my eldest attends Dr Thomlinson Middle School, my younger two both attend Thropton First School, all three are thriving in the wonderful learning environments found in both schools. I hope that my passion for education and my expertise in History will be of benefit to Thropton First School and I am committed to assisting the trust in its future successes.