Dean Jackson

End of term for Education Director

Northumberland County Council will say goodbye to Dean Jackson, Director of Education this week as he leaves in search of a new challenge. 

Dean has been with the authority for two and a half years and has been proud of many successes during that time, including how schools in the area have come together during the pandemic, the work that has taken place to reduce the number of school exclusions and ensuring the Council’s SEN Support Services were offered free of charge to residents. 

Dean said: “We’ve done a really good job keeping schools together during the pandemic. It wasn’t something any of us were prepared for, but through regular contact, having that trusting relationship and sharing vital information from Public Health England and the Department of Education we really have come back together as one county. 

“The team, our schools and all staff involved in education have been absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t be more proud of what they have dealt with during this time.” 

On starting his post back in 2018 schools across the county had 115 permanent exclusions and 4514 fixed term exclusions, something which he really wanted to tackle. He wanted to give schools the support they needed in order to be able to successfully help students facing exclusion to continue their education in the school they had started in. 

“It is refreshing to see that the hard work has paid off, our teams and the schools have worked together to reduce the number of exclusions both permanent and fixed term by more than 50% in the time I have been with the authority. We have now seen only 55 permanent exclusions and 1569 fixed term exclusions across the county compared to the same period last year, and I know the team will continue their work to reduce these numbers further” he said.

Dean has guided the team in taking a major step forward for the equality and opportunities of our most vulnerable children by ensuring the SEN Support Service was offered free of charge, making it more accessible to all. 

“All children and young people deserve the right to access good education and support, by making the SEN support service free we are certain this can be the case. Again, I cannot thank the team enough for helping me accomplish this for the Council. It was something I wanted to achieve and we have, together!” he continued. 

Dean has been instrumental in improving school engagement for Northumberland and he leaves the Council with a good grounding to continue on improving its education offer. 

From officers to Members, Dean is a well respected member of the team. 

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children’s Services said: “Dean has really brought something out in our education offer in Northumberland right from the get go. 

“He knew what he wanted to achieve during his time here and he got straight in and did it. I wish him all the very best for the future.” 

Headteachers have also shared their praise of working with him over the years.

Neil Rodgers, Executive Headteacher for James Calvert Spence College said: “Dean, thank you for the help and support you have given me in my role at James Calvert Spence College, and I know that your influence and impact has been a lot wider than just for me but personally I want to say thank you. You have been a great source of advice and encouragement during your time with us. You will be missed and I wish you all the best for whatever you go on to do in the future.”

John Barnes, Executive Headteacher Seaton Valley Federation said: “Working with Dean has been a joy and a pleasure. He has always been incredibly supportive both to the school and myself. He is someone who wants the very best for those he works with, and the work he has done during COVID19 has been super.” 

Dean and his wealth of knowledge will be missed by many at the Council, and those across schools county-wide. 

Cath McEvoy-Carr, Executive Director for Adult and Children’s services said: “Dean has helped to guide headteachers, governors, teachers and support staff in reaching the highest of standards and he has put in place changes that we will continue to be guided by.

"Having been a headteacher himself in Northumberland for eight years he really did bring knowledge from the ground up. We appreciate everything he has done and achieved at the Council and he will be sorely missed by all. 

“We wish him all the best for the future, and look forward to hearing what his next challenge pans out to be.”

Moving forward, Audrey Kingham will take over from Dean as Interim Director of Education, supported by David Street who will take up the role as deputy. 
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