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Valour MAT

Ensuring all children feel happy, safe and loved.

Executive Leaders

Chief Executive Officer

CEO Blog 3


Dame Nicola Stephenson DBE

Chief Executive Officer and Executive Headteacher Valour Multi Academy Trust.


Dame Nicola has been Executive Headteacher of 2 successful primary schools working in areas of challenge for over 20 years. 4 years ago she led the transformation from 2 softly federated schools to the creation of Valour MAT. Dame Nicola is highly effective in school improvement and has a proven track record in transforming schools and  aims to be involved in school to school improvement for the good of the education system nationally.

In addition to CEO she is also a National Leader of Education supporting schools in the North of England. Dame Nicola is Vice Chair of Schools North East which provides a non-political voice for schools from all sectors in the North East, North Yorkshire and Humber regions. They have developed a manifesto to advocate for the needs of the North East and challenge the myth surrounding some of the narrative about the area. Dame Nicola’s role as a National Executive officer for NAHT enables her to further champion the work of leaders in the North East of England and try and find solutions to any regional problems that arise. She has worked in school improvement Nationally and Internationally and also been an advisor for the DFE. As a member of the Fellowship commission she has developed an interest in international educational research and the balance between leadership experience and educational data. Currently Dame Nicola works with the Regional School Commissioner on the CEO advisory board. 

Dame Nicola enjoys a charity challenge, be it cycling across Madagascar or trekking the foothills of the Himalayas. She has a son at university, 2 cats and 3 cockapoos, one named Indiana Bones, another called Scrappy Doo and the recent addition of Boo. She believes childhood should be full of love, happiness and security, gathering memories to last a lifetime.








Fiona Sample

Assistant Head & KS1 Leader

Fiona Sample is the Assistant Head and KS1 Leader at Walbottle Village Primary School. She graduated in 2000 with a 2:1 BEd (hons) in Primary Education and started her teaching career in Gateshead and Northumberland. She achieved her NPQML qualification in 2018. Fiona is currently working in Year 1 but has taught in all year groups. She has 3 children and following maternity leave she worked as a supply teacher for a short time and for an award-winning child development film making company where she deepened her knowledge of child development from 0-8. 

At Walbottle, she is responsible for KS1, music, art and parent partnership. She has recently led the school to be re-awarded the LPPA (Leading Parent Partnership Award) which demonstrated the outstanding collaboration between school and parents to provide the best offer for our children. Fiona is passionate about music and art and ensures that all children have the opportunity to access high quality, regular lessons. She also arranges for children to take part in music workshops, singing in the community and after school music clubs. She has successfully mentored many university students embarking on their initial teacher training and has supported newly and recently qualified teachers in their careers. Fiona is currently working on a project which supports children to recognise, regulate and understand their emotions. 

Mr Alan Greensitt

Finance Director


Alan is the Director of Finance for Valour MAT having worked in education for 26 years. Before joining Valour MAT Alan worked for Durham Local Authority as an Assistant head teacher with responsibility for all aspects of accounting, prior to education he was an accountant with various companies.

In his current role he works between Walbottle Village Primary Academy and Beech Hill Academy. Alan provides accountancy support for the Academy Trust performing a range of accountancy activities including preparing and producing financial reports, balance sheets and management accounts, to operate period end processes including VAT and preparation of monthly audits and Trial Balances and presenting reports to the Academy Trustees.

Alan has a BA with honours and uses his knowledge to train and mentor the finance staff.

Alison Oliver

Head Teacher

My name is Alison Oliver and I am the Head Teacher of Walbottle Village Primary school. I have worked in Newcastle Local Authority for many years and taught children from 3-11 years of age. Before joining the team at Walbottle Village in 2004 I worked with many schools in Newcastle as a consultant, supporting improvements in maths teaching and learning. I am passionate about inclusion and ensuring early identification of children with special educational needs. As Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, I lead the team in strengthening our understanding of every child’s needs and providing the best possible, personalised support for our children.

Jess Eatock

Head Teacher Beech Hill Primary


Jess Eatock is Head teacher at Beech Hill Primary School having worked in education for over 20 years. Before joining Beech Hill, she worked in a variety of schools in the north of England and with the Newcastle Local Authority as a literacy and assessment consultant. The role included working with schools to improve their literacy practices and individual staff development as well as ensuring summative assessment across the city was fit for purpose; this included working closely with the NCA.

In her current role, she specialises in staff development, school to school support and initial teacher training as well as ensuring that all children in school reach their full potential. Jess is a Regional System Leader, designated by the National College to offer school to school support in a school lead system.

Jess is a Visiting Fellow for Ambition Institute within the NPQEL course (English Leadership) supporting leaders to develop others.

Jess has a Masters Degree in Education and looks to research to influence her own practice.



Mrs Kate Telfer

Deputy Headteacher- Beech Hill Primary

I graduated from Sunderland University in 2000 with BA in Education with honours. I have taught in Beech Hill since 2001. I began in year 5 when the school had just turned to a Primary but have spent the majority of my time in year 6 teaching Literacy. I am a Deputy Head Teacher and lead writing across the school. This role allows me to look at all the fantastic work that occurs throughout the school to ensure all children are receiving an enriched learning curriculum. When I’m not at work I like to spend time with my family by getting out and about with walks and bike rides.

Mrs Jackie Manning

Deputy Headteacher- Beech Hill Primary

I graduated from Northumbria University in 2000 after gaining a 2:1 BA in Education with honours. I have had the genuine pleasure of working at Beech Hill since 2000 as a fresh newly qualified teacher and have stayed here ever since (testament to how fantastic a school we have). I have taught in Years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and currently reside in Year 6 – where I have taught for nine years. I am one of two deputy head teachers in our school. I am a trained “Outstanding Facilitator” and an SLE (Senior Leader of Education) – which means I can deliver high quality training to other teachers. I am “Thrive” trained. In my spare time, I have young daughters, a husband and a chocolate Labrador who keeps me on my toes and I feel very lucky to have the life I live!



Mrs Samantha Peverall

Deputy Head teacher- Walbottle Village


I graduated from York St John University in 2010 after gaining a 2:1 BA in Education with honours. I have worked at Walbottle since 2012 as a recently qualified teacher and have stayed here ever since (which is a testament to how fantastic a school we have)! In my time here, I have taught in EYFS, Years 3, 4, 5 and 6. I have also taught groups in KS1 and lead booster across school. I am currently teaching in Year 4 on a Monday and Tuesday and spend the rest of my time doing.


In 2015, I completed my NPQML (National Professional Qualification in Middle Leadership) and shortly after became Deputy Head. I am BSL (British Sign Language) trained and enjoy sharing my skills with the children. During my time here, I have mentored School Direct Students to help them become newly qualified teachers and enjoy helping others to develop their own careers. Art is a passion of mine and in 20>>, I led the school to achieve Artsmark Gold. I have also worked closely with local museums and history groups as curriculum coordinator and believe it is important for the children to have a sense of cultural identity and know about their local history. A few years ago, I led the Y5 class to create their own exhibition at The Discovery Musuem in Newcastle and last year led the Y3 class into being part of a local history film about the Romans. I am passionate about ensuring the children in our school have experiences with us that they remember forever!


In my spare time, I have a two year old (who keeps me on my toes), a husband and a very disobedient pug – Dexter - who I love spending time with!

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C/O Beech Hill Primary School, Linhope Road,

West Denton, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne,

Tyne and Wear, NE5 2LW

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