Steve Collinson

Chair of Governors

Steve joined the Governing Body five years ago following his retirement as a middle school Head Teacher in Whitley Bay. For the last three years, he has been our Chair of Governors. He feels it has been a great honour to fulfil this role and to be involved in this way in such a wonderful and caring school.
In his spare time, Steve is involved in his local church, he is an examination invigilator in Cramlington and also works as a listening volunteer with the Samaritans. He is married to Alison and they have two children, David and Molly.

Dr. Sue Fisher

Head Teacher

B.Ed. (Hons), Primary Education, PG.Dip. Psychology, M.Sc. Educational Psychology, D.Ed.Psy.

Sue trained and worked as a primary school teacher for 12 years before moving to a special school to teach pupils with speech and language difficulties in 2002. She trained as an Educational Psychologist in 2004 and returned to special education as an Educational Psychologist and then as Deputy Head Teacher (from 2006), Associate Director (Headteacher) and Executive Headteacher in 2016, leading two all age special schools and a specialist college.

Sue took up the role of Headteacher at The Dales in January 2019 and her first priority was to develop and successfully open Ashdale site in Ashington.

During her years as a school leader, Sue has successfully applied for the Character Award, Teaching School Status, Specialist School Status and funding bids for significant school building developments. She wrote and developed iASEND and Pebbles assessment approaches.

Sue completed her doctorate in Educational Psychology in 2014 and remains a registered Educational Psychologist with HCPC.

Adam Florance


Geoff Wright


Geoff has worked in Northumbria Healthcare in Social Care for 13 years.  His daughter started in Ashdale just after it got completed. From the moment Geoff saw the school and the staff he was blown over by the feeling of warmth and safety for the children.  The learning environment felt so comfortable and progressive.  It was apparent the staff have great enthusiasm and positivity.  He knew then that his child was going to have a great learning experience but also a fun experience.  His child has had a new beginning at the school and she grows in confidence and skills every day.  She has made some wonderful friends and Geoff could never see her being anywhere else.  She is always talking about her teachers and school friends.  She has become a very happy child and will surely continue to grow and flourish.

Gill Wright


Gill's background is in both security & teaching. She taught primary school children in a Chinese school in Hong Kong for 30 years. Although most of the children were born in Hong Kong, children also came from all over the world; the UK, the USA, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, China and many other countries. Gill ran the English Department, trained teachers to teach children aged 2 to 11 years, and taught the children English. She was very lucky because she loved her job and was privileged to do it for 30 years until she retired!

She was also the organiser for the Hong Kong branch of Dreamflight, a UK charity, and they kindly took some Hong Kong children on their flight from London to Walt Disney World in Florida every year. The children had health problems, and some were quite ill, but they definitely had the holiday of a lifetime and were well looked after by all the doctors, nurses and escorts.

Gill also adapted and wrote some simplified English story books for primary children for Oxford University Press. She now spends her time relaxing, reading, spending time with friends and family, and gardening. One strange fact about Gill is that she loves doing housework!

Janet Simpson

Assistant Head Teacher

B.A. (Hons), Specialist Leader in Education, NPQSL

Janet has responsibility for Behaviour and Attitudes. She began her career in Early Years and she has worked in Primary Special Education for more than 22 years. Her specialisms lie in working with complex needs, including Autism and those with social, emotional and mental health needs. Janet is also a School Governor, overseeing and supporting the strategic direction of The Dales School, contributing to school improvement and development as a whole.

Janet recently completed her Deputy Safeguarding Lead training.

Katie Murray


B.Sc.(Hons) Conductive Education / Psychology (QTS)

Katie trained as a Conductor teacher at Keele University and the Peto Institute, Budapest. She is the Head Teacher of a non-maintained special school. She has taught from KS1 through to Post 16 and her particular specialisms lie in Conductive Education, ICT, e-safety and children with complex needs. She is an ambassador for CEOP (Child exploitation and online protection) and a safeguarding lead.

Sara Dunn


Sara is a Parent Governor for The Dales and her son currently attends Blythdale. She wanted to be a governor at The Dales after her son started to attend in year 1 as she was unfamiliar with how specialist schools operate and hoped she could be a voice for parents and get to know the school.
Sara can wholeheartedly say that the staff at The Dales have completely changed her son’s school life and he now goes to school with a smile, has grown in confidence and is now happy and willing to learn. She feels the staff at The Dales nurture and support the additional needs of our children in inventive, creative and strategic ways to support their social, communication and personal development. This in turn helps our children to be ready to learn and progress with their education and flourish in their own way.
If any parent wishes to discuss any aspect of the school or this child with Sara please don’t hesitate to contact her through school. She knows The Dales, both Blythdale and Ashdale, have a fantastic future ahead of them, hopefully just like our children.

Glynis Burn

Family Partnership Co-ordinator

Glynis began her career as a Business Secretary and started work at The Dales School 21 years ago as the Admin Manager. She realised that a huge part of this role was supporting and working with families. Her passion for this, along with additional training, has helped create the strong and dedicated Family Support Team we now have at The Dales School.

Glynis is also a DSL, part of the safeguarding team, and sits on the Governing body.

For further information, please click Governing Body Responsibilities 2020-2021