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Academy Committee

Margaret Armstrong - Chair of the Academy Committee

I have a long and happy association with Belsay School having lived in the area for over 36 years. Both my children attended Belsay continuing their education through the Ponteland schools. Over the years I have been a parent helper, an active member of the PTA and a Governor at both Belsay and Richard Coates Middle School. All my working life has been in education, initially as an English teacher and then as the SEND Coordinator at Ponteland High. I am now retired and a very proud Granny of four pre-school children.

I hope I can help to support Belsay in providing the highest quality education for all students and celebrate their success. I would also like to be part of ensuring that Belsay continues to serve the local community in its own unique way as part of the Pele Trust.

Sarah Peto - Vice Chair of the Academy Committee

Parent Member

I grew up in the countryside on a working farm and went to a rural school like Belsay and know how vital these small schools are to the children and communities they support. I am passionate about how the early years of teaching shape the children’s interest for learning for years to come and I am pleased by joining team Belsay, as a parent member of the Academy Committee, that I can have a part to play in this. I currently work within adult learning and have previous knowledge of safeguarding and investigations.
On a personal level we have a small holding consisting of sheep and hens, which we look after as well as working full time. I love the traditional rural life style and everything that goes with that and think it’s so important to keep these skills alive in modern society. I’m always busy doing something like baking or handicrafts as I’m no good at sitting still and hope I can bring of these skills to the role.

Demi Houghton

Staff Member

I started my journey at Belsay on a university placement what feels like many years ago. I then completed my degree in BA (hons) Early Primary Education and was lucky enough to apply for a job with Team Belsay. I work in the Reception class and enjoy every day as it is always so different. I feel lucky to be able to work with such fantastic young people who amaze me every day with what they set out to achieve.

Stephen Symons

Parent Member

My family and I moved to Belsay in 2015 and my children all now attend Belsay Primary School. I have been a secondary school teacher of mathematics for the last 22 years and currently work in the Maths department at Ponteland High School. After graduating from Northumbria University in August 1997 with a 1st Class BA (Hons) Mathematics degree. I initially worked outside of the education sector, but since 2000 I have enjoyed teaching at numerous local schools as well as a school in Luxembourg. I now find myself most content sitting with a cup of tea whilst doing hard sums!
My three youngest children have all taken to rural village life and I look forward to supporting the wider village community as a member of the Academy Committee at Team Belsay whilst, at the same time, helping the school move forward as an active partner in the Pele Trust.

Paul Woodford

Parent Member

I am Northumbrian born and bred.  We moved to near Belsay in 2009.  Our children Ralph (yr 5) and Otis (Rec) started their Belsay lives first at the pre-school before progressing to the main school.  I am keen to promote the diverse activities that rural schools have to offer in order to help ensure their future viability.  I want to ensure that, as much as possible, all of the children get the most out of their education in a safe secure setting.

Professionally I am a Partner and Head of Department at a Solicitors firm in Newcastle.

Emily Moffatt

Parent Member

I grew up in Northumberland and attended Belsay School, you can still spot some of my art work on the hall wall! I graduated from The Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester in 2012 with a BA(hons) in Agriculture and returned to work on the family farm near Capheaton. You will generally find me herding cows, lambing sheep, sorting horses or rushing around after my husband and children.

I have three children, who attend Belsay School.

I joined the School Governing Body as a Parent Governor and look forward to being supportive and part of the decision making of our unique, rural school.

Interested in joining our Academy Committee?

If you are interested in joining our Academy Committee, or would just like to find our more about what that entails and how you can support, please contact either:

Margaret Armstrong -

Lynn Blain -

Kieran McGrane -