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Schools forum

The schools forum is a formal advisory and decision making body for the allocation of funding for schools in Darlington. The main roles are:

  • To be consulted upon changes to the funding formula proposed by Darlington Borough Council
  • To decide upon the allocation of funding for centrally held budgets
  • To give a view upon a number of areas including: 
    • contracts for the provision of services to schools
    • the minimum funding guarantee
    • financial arrangements for special educational needs
    • financial arrangements for education out of school
    • financial arrangements for early years


Schools forum terms of reference [pdf document]

Schools forum election procedures [pdf document]

Future meetings

Date Time Venue
Tuesday 12 March 2024 2pm via TEAMS
Tuesday 14 May 2024 2pm Town Hall, Darlington

Next meeting

12 March 2024

The Darlington schools forum is currently holding meetings virtually and in person.

Non schools forum members are still welcome to attend the meeting as non participating observers.

Should you wish to attend a meeting, please contact Eleanor Marshall for joining instructions.

Most recent meeting

16 January 2024

Previous meetings


Nursery schools

  • Helen Dummett – Federation of Darlington Nursery Schools


  • Cheryl Theakston - Federation of Darlington Nursery Schools

Primary schools

  • Shirley Welsh - Whinfield Primary School


  • Carol Hall, Whinfield Primary School

Pupil referral unit

  • Sally Hudson - Rise Carr College


  • Kerry Loftus - Rise Carr College

Academy primary schools

  • Vacancy
  • Paula Ayto (Vice Chair) - Reid Street Primary School
  • Peter King – Federation of Mowden Schools
  • Jo Blackham - Mount Pleasant Primary
  • Peter Norman - St Bede’s RC Primary
  • Marco Ramsay -  St John Academy


  • Vacancy
  • John Armitage - The Rydal Academy
  • Sam Hirst - West Park Academy
  • Gerry Mackowski - St Bede’s RC Primary
  • Kath Hull - Lingfield Education Trust
  • Richard Gartland - Springfield Academy

Academy secondary schools

  • Dean Judson (Chair) - Swift Academies
  • Mel Kane - Carmel RC College
  • Dean Lythgoe -  St Aidan's C of E Academy
  • Kate Reid – Polam Hall School
  • Mike Fryer - Governor, Hummersknott Academy


  • Glen Hart - Swift Academies
  • Jo Keane - St Aidan's C of E Academy
  • Julie Mogridge - Polam Hall School
  • Alan McNab - Governor, Hummersknott Academy
  • Mike Shorten - Carmel RC College

Academy special schools

  • Mike Butler - Education Village Academy Trust


  • Marie Roe - Education Village Academy Trust

Diocesan representatives

  • Trish Abbott – Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust
  • Judith Skirving - Church of England Academy, Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Learning Trust  


  • David Leane – Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust
  • Catherine Pollard – Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Learning Trust

16-19 education

Paul Richardson - Darlington 16-19 Education

PVI early years providers

  • Elizabeth Baker – Little Acorns Nursery Hurworth
  • Ella Long - The Play Hut Day Nursery


  • Ian Maile - Flora House Day Nursery
  • TBC Manager - Little Acorns Nursery Hurworth

LEA observers:

  • Tony Murphy (Head of Education & Inclusion)
  • Emma Clennell (Finance Manager)
  • Jack Aconley-Foster (Finance Officer)
  • Eleanor Marshall (Education Partnerships Officer)

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