Staff Development

At Northern Lights Learning Trust we invest significantly in our staff and their professional development.

Our carefully structured and designed Leadership Programmes develop leaders at all levels –  from enhanced CPD programmes for our ECTs to core support for our Headteachers. 

These programmes are a hybrid of research informed theory-based sessions and in school/across Trust practical training and are available for both the academic and pastoral areas of school life. Northern Lights Learning Trust has seven levels of progressive programmes of development for our staff  : 

  • Enhanced ECT Development
  • New to Subject Leadership
  • Aspiring Leaders
  • Developing Leaders
  • Aspiring Senior Leaders
  • Developing Senior Leaders
  • Head’s Core Support.


Added benefits of joining the profession through Northern Lights

Becoming a teacher through Northern Lights gives you exclusive access to additional face-to-face as well as recorded sessions, delivered by experienced and senior practitioners.

We place great emphasis on wellbeing and work-life balance and we’re always open to consider creative ways of working.

ECT Term 1 – Includes access to fully funded provider-led ECT programme

NLLT Safeguarding
Lead for Safeguarding, Attendance and Inclusion

NLLT Vision and Values
Chief Executive Officer

Behaviour and Culture
Lead for Safeguarding, Attendance and Inclusion

Trust SEND Lead and Director of Teaching School Hub

Director of Northern Lights Early Years Stronger Practice Hub

Reading Pathway (if applicable)
Director of Education (Primary)

Maths No Problem/ Maths Scheme
Aspiring Leader

Working in a Church School (if applicable)
Head of School, St Peter’s Elwick Church of England Primary Academy

Within the two-year programme – Includes access to fully funded provider-led ECT programme

Grammar and Punctuation Course
Director of Education (Primary) and others

Cognitive Science
Director of Education (Primary) and others

Director of Education (Primary) and others

A variety of curriculum subject knowledge courses
Aspiring Leaders

Year 3 (beyond ECT)

New to subject leadership support sessions
Director of Education (Primary) and others

Opportunity to access all fully funded NPQ programmes

Opportunity to access curriculum subject knowledge courses, grammar and punctuation, cognitive science and metacognition courses previously missed

Opportunity to join the Northern Lights’ programme for leaders, which include:

  • New to Subject Leadership
  • Aspiring Leaders
  • Developing Leaders
  • Aspiring Senior Leaders
  • Developing Senior Leaders
  • Head’s Core Support

Below are a range of profiles from our up and coming leaders each having different specialisms and passions.

Aspiring Leaders

Design and Technology: Alexandra Wilcox
  • Diploma in Early Years at Bede College in Sunderland
  • BA (Hons) Primary Education Degree at University of

Why I’m a Design Technology specialist in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and 2:

I developed a love for ‘designing and creating’ whilst in secondary school and I enjoy completing DIY projects and building flat pack furniture at home. Who doesn’t love an ‘upcycled’ piece?

I have been leading Design Technology across two schools for the past seven years. I have a passion for the subject as I believe it gives ALL children the opportunity to be creative whilst working to a given brief and following/creating their own specification.

There is nothing better than seeing a student enthralled within the design process and so proud of their achievements when producing their final product.

Outside school:
I LOVE to follow the latest trends and home décor inspirations. I enjoy going on new, exciting adventures with my family. I am married and have two amazing children, Phoebe and Archie. We
enjoy walking our cockapoo, Reggie, and visiting new places on weekends and in the school holidays. As a family we love to travel and go camping. We hope to see lots more of the UK.

History: Lyndsey James
  • I studied at Charlotte Mason College (CMC) in Ambleside for four years and have a BA Hons with QTS.
  • I am also a registered coach for the NPQLBC programme and am currently studying an OU course in Reading for Pleasure.

Why I’m a History specialist in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and 2:

I have been a history lover for many years, always wanting to know about local history wherever I visit. I particularly love learning about the local area and how the North East has developed over time.

I enjoy listening to historians speak and I meet regularly with a local Hartlepool historian.

If I hadn’t trained to be a teacher, I was looking to be an archaeologist! Being a member of this team is like having both of my career dreams come true!

Outside school:

I am both a bookworm and a book dragon! Every surface in my house holds a book – some which have been read numerous times and some which are waiting to be read! (Hence the dragon aspect!).

I complete cross stitches as a hobby and anything Christmas themed is my go-to style. Christmas is another passion of mine!

I have two birth children and two foster children living with myself and my husband. To date, as a family, we have cared for over 25 children ranging from new-born to 17 years old. Caring for these children and giving them the best start in life is something which brings us all great joy.

Developing Leaders

Art and Design: Amy Baines
  • First Class Honours from Cleveland College of Art and Design in Fashion Enterprise (BA Hons)
  • PGCE from Durham University
  • Taught for the past seven years across KS2 at St Helen’s Primary School.

Why I’m an Art and Design specialist in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and 2:

My love for art and design has paved my way throughout my whole life and led me to follow my passion into a creative degree and career path. I have focussed on a wide range of applied arts and
have worked as a visual merchandiser for a high street department chain, alongside some freelance work opportunities before following my chosen path into teaching.

I believe the arts encompass all aspects of learning and children need to be given opportunities to be creative and free to express themselves.

Outside school:

Family is the most important thing for me and spending time with my dog, Toby, out of school.

Geography: Jade Tillson
  • Chose Geography at GCSE level – Grade A
  • Went to university in Teesside, First Class Honours in English Studies
  • PGCE with The Academy of Shotton Hall and Durham University – SCITT Route – Outstanding Grade
  • Teacher for five 5 years at St. Peter’s Elwick CE Primary School and Hart Primary School

Why I’m a Geography specialist in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and 2:

I’ve always had a love of geography. When I was younger, I wanted to be a journalist so I could travel around the world and learn about different countries. My teachers encouraged me to pursue both passions of English and geography and it’s made me the teacher I am today. Journalism was not for me, but my excitement for learning about the world and its people stayed with me. I vividly
remember doing volcano experiments, playing games to locate countries and learning about erosion on our coasts.

Over the past few years, it’s been great developing the geography curriculum and seeing the impact it has made.

Outside school:

I love playing netball and squash. I’ve also started taking up running and love walking my dog, Bella.

Computing: Matthew Cain
  • Education and Sport, Sunderland University.
  • PGCE in Primary Education through a School Direct course with Town End Teaching School and Northumbria University.

Why I’m a Computing specialist in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and 2:

I have developed a love and passion for technology and Computing and I was extremely excited to be made Computing lead in 2018.

As a subject leader, I have developed my own knowledge through professional development from the NCCE and other experts. I have completed the NCCE “Leading Primary Computing”, I am a trained STEM Learning Facilitator, and I am also an Apple Teacher and Showbie Certified Educator.

I have developed the subject within my school by ensuring that I have a curriculum that is fit for purpose and equips our children with the necessary knowledge for their life now and in the future. Computing is a subject that is constantly changing and it is essential that I keep up to date with new developments in technology, pedagogy and key knowledge.

I have recently completed my NPQ in Leading Teacher Development and have a passion for developing teachers. As part of my role in school, I have supported ITTs during their training year as well as support ECTs to implement Computing effectively.

Outside school:

I have a passion for football. I enjoy watching football especially my team, Sunderland. I am also a referee and currently referee at a semi professional level within the region.

Plans for staff development programmes for TAs are coming together and will be detailed here soon.

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