Northern Education Trust

Working to fulfil the potential of young people

Chair & Vice Chair

Les Walton CBE, Chair

Prior to 1996 Les was Headteacher of Norham Community Technology College. In 1996 he was awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours. He then held a number of roles between 1996 and 2009 including Executive Director for Education in North Tyneside and Principal and Chief Executive of Tyne Metropolitan College. In 2000 he was requested by the DfE to lead the interim management and outsourcing of Bradford Education Authority. In 2000 Les founded Northern Education in order to provide support to schools. During this period he developed the concept of a "New Relationship with Schools" and introduced partnership boards involving Headteachers.

In July 2009, Les was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education, as Chair of the Young People's Committee within the Learning and Skills Council and Chair of the Young People's Learning Agency which he held until 2012. Les currently chairs the Advisory Group for the Education Funding Agency. He is a member of the North East Council for the Chamber of Commerce and is the education advisor to the North East Board of the Institute of Directors. Les is also a member of the Regional Schools Commissioner Board. Les primarily focuses on his role as Chair of the Northern Education Trust. His main interest is education governance and recently The Northern Education Trust won the IAA 2014 'Best Practice Award for Effective and Innovative Governance'.

Les was awarded the CBE in the New Year's Honours list 2013.

Chris Roberts, Vice Chair

Chris is a Founding Trustee. After a number of years working in the private sector Chris worked as a Director for both Newcastle City Council and subsequently as Executive Director of North Tyneside Council.

Joining the Learning and Skills Council in 2001 he was the Executive Director for Tyne and Wear and later became Regional Director for the North East. Chris assisted in the formation of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) by both working as the Chief Operating officer and Interim National Director of Skills.