Meet the Governors

Pen Portraits

Paul Stewart
“Paul Stewart has been a Governor of Willow Fields Primary School for nearly 30 years and since 2013 our chair of Governors. Spending most of his career working for Local Government, Paul was a support officer for 12 years dealing primarily with school finances, before changing direction to become a Human Resources Business Partner. He brings with him extensive knowledge of employment law and initiating successful change management within organisations.
As a local Councillor he was previously Chair of the Port of Sunderland and the Portfolio Holder for Education. Most recently, he led the council move to become a “Co-operative Council” with the aim of promoting a closer working relationship with other local not-for-profit stakeholders. He is currently Chair of Bishopwearmouth Co-operative Nursery and a member of the Board of Gentoo.”


Richard Bell

I have been a Governor of Willow Fields for just over a year. I am currently chair of Red House nursery school and have been so for over 12 years. In the last 8 years, have guided the school through 2 Ofsted inspections – gaining and maintaining the outstanding category we were awarded and which is becoming harder to achieve and maintain. In the position of Chair at Red House Nursery school, I have learned a lot about EYFS, which focuses on working intensively with children to improve their life chances, this is achieved by working with children has soon as you can in their education. At Red House we embraced the 2 year old provision and to improve Willow Fields, I would like to try and introduce this into school.

I am currently one of the Councillors for Redhill Ward, and have been since 2004, but I have represented other wards for 8 years. This includes St. Peter’s and Town End Farm Wards. I serve on the children and learning scrutiny committee and am aware of the problems education faces. I have attended courses on outstanding leadership in schools and I represent the council on Beamish Museum’s board. I have been one of the directors, running one of the best open-air museums in Europe if not the World, since 2009, being Chairman and vice chair for part of my time on Beam.

I am a member of UNITE the Union, a joiner by trade, being a trade union member for over 40 years with UCATT and my current union.

Cllr Richard Bell

Zoe Hepplewhite

My name is Zoe Hepplewhite and I have been a co-opted Governor at Willow Fields Primary School since 2015.  At present I am on the School Improvement Committee and link Governor for Maths.  I have worked in the Further Education sector for almost 20 years delivering various ICT, maths and English courses in the community as well as being a NVQ assessor for Business Admin.  Prior to this I worked for Sunderland City Council.  I look forward to working with the Head teacher and staff to continue moving the School forward.

Liam Clark

My name is Liam Clark and I’m currently a secondary school computer science teacher. I have taught and led in two large schools within the city and bring with me a plethora of experience which I hope will be beneficial and supportive to the role of School Governor at Willowfields Primary School. I will be leading the school improvement committee and believe firmly in a well organised, well structured curriculum that allows for strong teaching and produces children who thrive academically. I am very passionate about teaching, learning and assessment, and, I’m currently completing research in this area as part of my postgraduate studies at Newcastle University. As part of my research based studies I access cutting edge pedagogical developments through the  regional research centre for teaching and learning and I hope to bring ideas from this forum to Willowfields too.

Bob Brammer

After retiring from a relatively successful career in first the manufacturing industry and then the financial services sector, I believe I can use my skills and experience to support Willowfield School in its efforts to help children achieve their aspirations and be the best that they can be. I am currently Vice Chair of Governors and Chair of the Willowfields Finance, Risk Management, Premises and Personnel Committee. I have several decades of management experience behind me, including working with national regulatory bodies and managing large and complex projects, and I have good negotiation, communication and analytical skills. My background includes particular experience in operational, financial and people management, and I aim to use that knowledge and expertise to help Willowfields set – and meet – aims and objectives in line with national policy, and make the best possible use of resources to the benefit of its children. I believe very strongly that every child has the right to a good education, and one that will underpin their long-term success and happiness, and I would like to play a small part in helping that become a reality for every child in our society.