Eden Academy Trust

Meet the Trustees

Mr Peter Ingham


 I sit as the Chair of Trustees for the Multi Academy Trust  that oversees the governance of Eskdale, Jesmond Gardens, Bluebell Meadow and Stranton Academies. It is the job of the trustees to ensure schools within the MAT fulfil their duty to educate our children in a safe, efficient and effective environment and to set a vision with our Schools to provide the very best learning experiences for our students.


We are a trust absolutely committed to developing the ‘whole child’ and to helping pupils develop the highest of ambitions. We aim to deliver the finest learning environment for all children, and seek to provide inspirational experiences to help our pupils achieve their potential. However academic success is only half the story: our schools are all high performing, but throughout them there is an ethos of care for the students that is greater than academic achievement. We are an inclusive trust, filled with staff that seek what is good for all pupils, with a clear commitment to the pastoral needs and wellbeing of every child.


Mr Peter Hart

I've been involved with Stranton Primary School since 2004; starting as a youth and children's worker for a local church, before becoming a School Governor and then transferred to the Trust board in 2013, then spending 5 years as the Founding Chair of the Trust. I now work at the University of Leeds as a research fellow, with an interest in character education and reading interventions. 


Mrs Sandra Saint


Sandra is an advocate for anything that supports positive personal development within schools, workplaces and communities.

A qualified teacher (BA Hons QTS) with many years of classroom experience; she then spent almost 10 years as a PSHEe/Healthy Schools School Improvement Adviser within a Local Authority. She has developed a range of education programmes and resources at local, regional and national levels.

Since 2010 Sandra has been running her own consultancy and training business in relation to Health & Wellbeing education (so all things PSHEe/Healthy School related) and has spoken at several national conferences in relation to PfBV (Promoting fundamental British Values) and SMSC (Spiritual Moral Social Cultural) curricula. She was the north-east parent a school coordinator for 3 years for the Alcohol Education Trust. She is a member of the PSHE Association, a train-the-trainer for Quality Circle Time, a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader & Teacher.

Sandra is a national verifier for the Citizenship Foundation’s SMSC Quality Mark award and a national Adviser and Verifier for Optimus’ WAS (Wellbeing Award for Schools).

Sandra is also a Director of Golden Tree CIC which is a community interest company providing a range of innovative Mental Health & Wellbeing programmes. She delivers a range of this mental health training to organisations across the country. She is also a Train-the-Trainer for the FRIENDS programmes.

Sandra is an experienced school Governor, a Trustee of the Eden MAT and a mother to two teenagers.


Mrs Helen Haygarth


Helen is a passionate early years advocate with almost 30 years’ experience in a range of settings. Having lead the two year provision at Stranton Primary School for a number of years; she fully understands and embraces the ethos of the trust whilst recognising  that nurture and high quality intervention is key to transforming life opportunities for children.

She has a firm belief in the holistic approach to education and care and is fully committed to empowering positive outcomes for children and their families. Helen currently works as an intensive family support worker where she specialises in early years. Helen also works for the University of Sunderland as an Academic Tutor supporting Childhood Studies students on several modules.

Helen strives to learn and develop her own skills, studying part time to obtain her degree and currently MA. She believes in creating a graduate workforce within early years.

Helen has three children and vast experience of being a school governor. As a trustee she hopes to represent the voice of the child.


Dr Shirley Ann Paul

PhD, MSc, MA (Hons) Psychology


Shirley is a Research Psychologist at the University of Leeds where she specializes in the design, delivery, and evaluation of educational interventions. She currently works on the Narnian Virtues Character Education English Curriculum project which is designed to foster character development in 11 – 14 year olds. Her main research passion is in developing and evaluating methods for improving children’s reading skills. In 2013 – 2015 she worked on the Reading for Comprehension (REACH) project at Leeds, a Randomised Controlled Trial, designed to evaluate the effectiveness of two reading interventions developed for secondary school children with weak reading skills.


Before moving to Leeds Shirley worked at The University of Edinburgh, first as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and then as Undergraduate Teaching Coordinator in Psychology. Shirley obtained her Psychology degrees from The University of Dundee and is also a certified PRINCE 2 Project Manager, and a qualified Reiki practitioner. She is a Trustee of Eden Academy and is dedicated to developing evidence-based methods for improving educational outcomes in children and reducing attainment gaps.



Mrs Gillian Slimings


Gill Slimings has been involved with Stranton School for over 10 years,  initially as the manager of the Children’s Centre and then as a governor. She is currently on the Board as a Trustee with Eden Academy. 

She has been a governor in Hartlepool for over 30 years believing passionately in every child being given the best chance in life. Gill has a Masters Degree in Integrated Leadership which transfers well into governance by ensuring everyone has a voice. 

Although now retired, Gill worked as the Children’s Librarian with Hartlepool Library Service for 32 years, subsequently managing Children’s Centres across Hartlepool for a further 10  years. 

Gill is an advocate for the importance of Early Education, in particular the impact of early speech and language development. Through working with the local community and schools, Gill has contributed to ensuring the very youngest children and their parents were supported seamlessly from birth to school and that they started life with the best outcomes possible. 

Gill is Mum to two grown up children and a Grandma to one.  Having been  brought  up in Hartlepool and worked across the whole borough for over 40 years she knows the community well.


Mr Alan Clark


Mr Peter Gowland

I have worked in the Third Sector for many years, chiefly with Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency - the town’s voluntary sector support body. My main role was as project development officer - providing advice, guidance and developmental assistance to new and existing organisations. This included help with governance, fundraising, representation and volunteering.

I am now a director of Hartlepower, a trustee of the Friends of Carlton Camp, the Asylum Seekers and Refugees group and the Hartlepool Men’s Shed and a member of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Hartlepool Action Lab; the latter looking at ways to address community needs in Hartlepool through citizen involvement. 


Mrs Julie Thomas

Julie is  a recently retired Head Teacher and a National Leader of Education. She has been a school Governor in schools in which she has been a Leader since 2005 and she has a Masters Degree in Education.

Julie very much wants to remain involved involved in Education whilst her experience and skills are still relevant.  Julie is extremely passionate about education and believe that all children deserve a good education irrespective of their background and start in life