New Laidlaw Schools Trust Chief Executive Jane Spence
The newly-appointed chief executive of a leading trust of North East schools will use her teaching experience and understanding of local communities to help ensure pupils are supported to reach their full potential.
Gateshead-born Jane Spence spent ten years teaching biology and psychology at Newcastle and Sunderland Colleges.
She made the move into the Civil Service to work for the Department for Education, most recently as the Head of New Academies working to the Regional Schools Commissioner for the North.
As the new Chief Executive of the Laidlaw Schools Trust (LST), Jane will work with head teachers at the trust’s four academies – Excelsior Academy, Thomas Walling Primary and Atkinson Road Primary, all Newcastle, and Academy 360 in Sunderland – to continue raising educational standards and pupil aspiration.
“I’ve worked closely with Excelsior and the Laidlaw Schools Trust in the past,” said Jane.
“I became a trustee for the LST and that has been brilliant experience which has allowed me to work very closely with the academies to help shape and support them.
“As chief executive, I see myself being in our schools, working with head teachers, and staff – I would like get to know the schools really well because otherwise how can you influence, how can you help, how can you share and support?
“My job is to ensure that the Laidlaw Schools Trust is adding real value, making sure that what happens at the centre in the trust is supporting the schools to raise standards and do the very best for all our children.”
As head of new academies for the regional schools commissioner, Jane helped schools convert to become academies – in an area covering from Cumbria and Northumberland down to North Yorkshire.
“I wanted a fresh challenge in my career, to do another job where I feel I can make a real difference,” said Jane.
“So I’ve come full circle. I started off teaching in the west end of Newcastle, teaching at Newcastle College then at Sunderland College, moving on and now back in education working in these same communities.
“I taught health sciences, biology and psychology. I really loved all of that, working with young people and helping them to achieve, to move on to jobs and into university was an amazingly rewarding job.
“It is about making sure that whatever we have got at LST is supporting our schools – so that we can make sure that maths is great across all of our schools, English is great across all of our schools and that children are allowed to reach their potential whatever their interest and talent.
“It is important that whichever school a child goes to within our trust, they get the best possible deal.”
The Laidlaw Schools Trust was founded by Lord Laidlaw, an internationally successful businessman and entrepreneur, to help the life chances of young people and their communities.
Peter Fair OBE, LST Chair, said: “The Laidlaw Schools Trust is delighted to welcome Jane as our new chief executive.
”Her understanding of the trust and its schools working to the Regional Schools Commissioner and deep knowledge of the education sector, makes her ideally suited to lead the trust’s work in ensuring our pupils and students are given the best possible education.”