About Our Members and Trustees/Governors


Mr Kenneth Tonge – Member

Mr Tonge has been described by Ofsted as ‘an inspirational leader’.  

He has a background in education, beginning his career as an English teacher in 1975.  His first headship was in 1991, since then he has been the Headteacher of a further 7 schools in all phases. 

He formed the first schools’ Trust in 2006, the Ashington Learning Partnership, an all-age organisation with 3,500 pupils and 800 adult learners.  This was the largest federation of schools in the country.  He served as Executive Director of the Trust until 2011. 

In addition, Mr Tonge has worked as an adviser for Headteacher performance management and is a School Improvement Partner.  He is an accredited Ofsted Inspector.  He has been a consultant for school leadership in a large number of schools around the country. 

In addition to serving on the Governing Bodies of the schools he led, Ken has been a co-opted or Parent Governor of 5 schools.  He has led Governor training in 3 Local Authorities. 

Mr Tonge is now retired but serves on 2 Governing Bodies. 


Mr Jim Clark- Member

Mr Clark is an educator with over 40 years experience.  He has worked in all sectors of education; schools, colleges, as an LA Inspector/Advisor, and more recently in Higher Education.  

Mr Clark was Head of the Department of Education and Life Long Learning at Northumbria University.  He retired from the university at the end of December 2016 and continues his association with the university through his honorary title of Visiting Scholar; he is also an Emeritus Professor.

Both nationally and internationally he has led on many initiatives in education and schooling and has supported both teacher and school development.  He was Chair of the Board of Trustees of one of the first hard federated school Trusts in the country and has also supported the development of a number of Trusts in the North East. 


Mr Keith Hind – Member

Mr Hind joined Kepier as a Governor in Feburary 2015, starting as a Community Governor, moving across to a Parent Governor and having a spell as Chair of Governors.  Currently his role is as a Member.

Mr Hind has a HND in Mechanical Engineering and has also completed many vocational and bespoke qualifications including Operations Management, Quality Management, Lead Auditor Certification in Quality Management and Process Standards, several Geometric Dimensional & Tolerance Certificates, First Aid, Fire Warden, COSHH regulations & Hazardous Waste.

Mr Hind’s work role is that of Manager in a local North East Company.  He has several years experience in Operation & Quality Management in a career spanning over 30 years.  During his working life he has been responsible for dealing with customers and suppliers mainly within the automotive and aerospace industries.  Additionally he has a strong background in people management and an understanding of Human Resource practices.  His grounding was originally built on an Engineering platform, but he feels that his core skills are problem solving and Process Adherence Auditing.  The drive for Mr Hind is to ensure Kepier is providing a broad brush education for all children who attend the school no matter what their ability level.

Mr Hind’s son attended Kepier and he has a younger daughter who will be joining the school.  Both his children play football and Mr Hind coaches an U16 Football Team – football takes up the majority of any free time he has.  In addition he enjoys music, both listening to and attending music events.  He very much enjoys family life including holidays and socialising. 


Mr Mark Atkinson – Trustee/Governor (Vice-Chair of the Trust/Kepier Local Governing Body)

Mr Atkinson was a Governor for 6 years (at Heaton Manor in Newcastle) prior to joining Kepier’s team in October 2020.  He serves as Vice-Chair of the Trust/Local Governing Body.  He is also Link Governor for Inclusion, PE and MFL.

He has a BA (Hons) First Class in Leadership and Management, an MSc in Leadership (ongoing) and is a Lead Auditor.  Mr Atkinson serves as an Army Officer in HM Forces.  Accumulating a vast amount of experience in leadership, coaching and mentoring along with strategic planning and change implementation, Mr Atkinson feels he can support the school as we look to develop and improve school leaders, teachers, support staff and learners.  He also feels that his experience in organisational auditing can help identify areas for improvement allowing the School Leadership Team to be proactive rather than reactive.

Mr Atkinson believes that everything is built on a foundation and without said foundation nothing substantial can grow.  He sees education as the foundation of every learner’s development to adulthood.  Whether that is a future in academia or through a modern apprenticeship, he wants to support the development of the future leaders, doctors, solicitors, builders, carers, retailers and entrepreneurs. 

He lives local to Kepier and his daughter is currently a learner at the school.  His younger son will eventually join Kepier in a few years.  His hobbies include mountaineering, orienteering and walking.  

Mr Atkinson lives by two quotes: Einstein, “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created them” and General Shinseki, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to enjoy irrelevance even less”.


Mr Martin Connor – Trustee/Governor (Chair of Trust/Kepier Local Governing Body, Chair of Achievement & Progress Committee, Chair of Appraisal Governor Panel)

Mr Connor was connected with Kepier for five years as a Member before moving his role to that of Trustee/Governor in October 2020 where he currently serves as Chair of the Trust/Local Governing Body and Chair of Achievement and Progress Committee.  He is Link Governor for Teaching and Learning, English, Literacy, Geography and Wellbeing.  His qualifications include a BA (Hons) English and Politics, a PGCE, a National Professional Qualification for Headship, Consultant Leader, National College of Teaching and Leadership – Professional Partner.  He was Headteacher of two Secondary schools from 2000- 2016.  He was CEO of an Academy Trust 2016-2019.  He is now semi-retired.  

Mr Connor has around 40 years of educational experience including 30 as a Senior Leader and 19 as Headteacher/CEO.  He has significant experience as a Senior Adviser for Headteacher performance management, is Professional Partner for seven Headteachers across the whole country and is leader of School Centred Initial Teacher Training Programme.  

He feels that education provides opportunities and enriches lives and it is vital that such opportunities for enrichment, fulfilment and lifelong learning are available to all.  Mr Connor developed a strong professional relationship with Kepier during his second headship.

Cricket is his passion and he played semi-professionally for many years.  Walking, travelling both in Britain and Europe, and visiting his children who both live in London occupies much of his time.  He has a claim to fame as his school friends had a number one hit when they were all in the sixth form in Manchester.


Mrs Gemma Fenwick – Trustee/Governor

Mrs Fenwick has been a Governor at Kepier since January 2017, and before that she was a Parent Governor at a primary school for 9 years.  She is Link Governor for Most Able Learners, Art and Music.

Her work role is that of a Project Manager with the Civil Service.  Mrs Fenwick thinks she brings a parent’s perspective to decision making for the school and she can offer a different viewpoint on the school as she is not involved in education in her day to day work.  She does, however, have a lot of management experience that she brings to her Governor activities.

Mrs Fenwick believes that a good education sets children up for life, and feels that there is nothing more important than ensuring all children get the best education available and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.  Mrs Fenwick has two children who attend Kepier.


Mr Steven Forsyth – Trustee/Governor

Mr Forsyth has been a Trustee/Governor at Kepier since 2016.  He has been employed as a teacher at Kepier since 2007 and is currently Subject Leader for History.  He is Link Governor for the Football Academy and for Community.  His qualifications include a BA (Hons) History, a PGCE and NPQML.

In his role as Trustee/Governor, he feels able to offer a classroom and Middle Leader perspective to decisions the school makes.

Mr Forsyth’s hobbies include running/parkrun and his claim to fame is that of being an extra in the first Harry Potter film.


Mr Neil Houghton – Trustee/Governor

Mr Houghton’s role of Trustee/Governor began in June 2019 and he is Link Governor for Maths, Numeracy and History.  His qualifications include BSC (Hons) Sport and Exercise Leadership and he has a Primary PGCE.  He is Assistant Headteacher at Shiney Row Primary School and currently teaches Year 6 but has taught across the primary age range.  He is responsible for teaching and learning throughout the school and plays an important role in analysing and acting upon whole school data.  He has also previously worked as a Parent Support Advisor and at a Pupil Referral Unit – both of which were in the Secondary sector.

Mr Houghton believes that education gives people the knowledge and skills they require to succeed in all aspects of life.  It forms the building blocks and foundations of every choice we make and has no limits to where it can take us if harnessed in the correct way.  Hard work and education are the keys to every door.

He has lived in the Hetton/Houghton area his whole life.  He enjoys keeping fit in the gym, playing football, etc.  He also enjoys photography and spending time with his two children.  His claim to fame is being the cousin of Manchester City and England women’s football captain Steph Houghton.


Mr Andrew Slassor – Trustee/Governor (Chair of Welfare and Support Committee)

Mr Slassor has been a Governor at Kepier since 2011 and was previously a Governor at Newbottle Primary.  He is Link Governor for SEND, Safeguarding, Looked After Children, Child Protection and Science.

He has a background in engineering, qualified to ONC, and is an MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional).  He was a Service Engineer working with printers, copiers, fax machines, etc but is now retired.

Mr Slassor managed two football teams for a local youth football club and during this time was the Club Welfare Officer for 15 teams.  This gave him the skills and training which support him in his role at Kepier as link Governor for Safeguarding. 

Both of Mr Slassor’s children attended Kepier, leaving in 2010 and 2012.


Mr Keith Stout – Trustee/Governor, Chair of Personnel & Salaries Committee, Chair of Discipline and Complaints Committee)

Mr Stout joined the Governing Body as a Parent Governor in 1994.  When the children left school he became a Community Governor and is currently Link Governor for Most Able Learners (with Mrs Fenwick), Business, Careers, Curric for Life, IT and Pupil Premium.

His qualifications include an HND in Electrical Engineering, Practitioner in Business Continuity and Business Risk, ISEB ITIL Certified in IT Service Management, trained Auditor for IT Managed Services.  He recently retired after a long career in IT.

Originally a Support Engineer for one of the largest IT Providers, he moved into the managed service on large Government and Education customers in the UK.  In the last few years he has been delivering IT Service Management Consultancy and Project work for a Consortium of Local Authorities in the South of England.

Mr Stout’s background includes coaching, mentoring, student placements, Graduate Programs and setting up new apprenticeship schemes.  He has developed new job roles and conducted the recruitment into those roles and has a good understanding of the applicant requirements, job benefits and the training required for personal development.  This experience allows him to add value to Kepier’s careers and student development programs.  He is from an industry that believes in lifelong learning and continuous personal development.

He feels that the STEM subjects in particular, can lead to very exciting and demonstrable opportunities for learners.

Both his daughters attended Kepier, enjoying their time here and excelling before going on to achieving A Levels and on to University.  One is now a Project Manager for a London City Bank and the other a Corporate Communications Manager for a large Offshore Oil Company.

His interests include IT, cycling and travel.  An interesting fact is that his team implemented the Freedom Pass (The Bus and Tube card) for all 33 of the London Councils with 1.4m cards worth £7m, produced in 3 months, delivered on budget and ahead of time.  Mr Stout was responsible for reporting progress weekly to Vince Cable and the then London Mayor Boris Johnson.


Mr Gary Wallace – Trustee/Governor (Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee)

Mr Wallace has been a Trustee/Governor since May 2017 with a finance speciality.  He has a Degree with Honors in Accounting and Finance and is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales).

His professional job role title is UK Country Accountant and he is a Chartered Accountant working at a global chemical manufacturing company which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.  He is responsible for accounting, taxation and statutory compliance for the UK companies within the group.  Their combined turnover of UK is around £400million.  Previously (up to June 2019) he worked in an independant accountancy practice as an audit and accounts manager where he worked with both single and multi academy trusts and provided various services: external audit, internal audit, annual accounting return audit, teachers pension audits, general business advice, software training, benefit pension accounting. 

Mr Wallace brings to his role as Trustee/Governor financial compliance, budgeting, finance strategy, accounting software, pensions, business development, financial curriculum planning, HR issues (management and HR experience). 

Mr Wallace values education because he says that the modern world is tough and often people do not realise until it is too late how important education early in life can be to provide a foundation for any good career.  He believes that business and industry experience add significant real world value to education provision. 


Staff Governor vacancy due to recent resignation of Mr Tom Mayer – details to follow