In Memoriam: Neil Morrison, PLT Trustee

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23rd Nov 2023

It is with great sadness that I share the news of the recent passing of Neil Morrison, a Trustee of Prosper Learning Trust.

Neil joined the Board of Trustees of PLT in January 2023 after a long and distinguished career in education and school leadership. His 36 year career included teaching and leadership roles in his subject area of Economics and Business Studies and 18 years in school leadership including the Headship and Executive Headship of two large secondary schools in the North East. More recently he worked in school improvement roles for a local authority and a large Multi Academy Trust.

It was this wealth of experience and expertise that Neil brought to the role of Trustee. It allowed him to establish himself rapidly as an important and insightful contributor to all aspects of whole Trust strategy, especially in the realm of school improvement. In particular he quickly became an important member of the Standards Committee where his measured and informed advice was regularly sought and adhered to.

Despite all of the experience he brought to the role Neil was still eager to learn new skills and contexts and set about learning all aspects of SEND and alternative provision with great enthusiasm and vigour. He very quickly visited all of our schools to meet staff and pupils, immediately getting a feel for the unique challenges they faced and took every opportunity he could to contribute to other Trust business and events. He was an important contributor to the governance conversation with Ofsted during the inspection at Thomas Bewick School in September and was there to share in the positive feedback with staff at the end of the process. His empathy and humanity were immediately apparent to all those who met him on these occasions.

I have no doubt that had we been lucky enough to benefit from his contribution for a little longer his impact upon our Trust would have been significant and long lasting.

On a personal and professional level I knew Neil for 34 years. He was my first Head of Department, appointing me to my first teaching job at Cramlington High School in 1989.

I only worked alongside him for four years but that formative experience shaped my approach to teaching and leadership for the rest of my career. And still does today. He was and will always remain the single biggest influence upon my professional career and I’m so glad now that I got to tell him this over a few beers on more than one occasion. Despite all that he achieved, he remained humble, unassuming and grounded. A thoroughly nice guy.

In the latter years we moved from being colleagues to becoming good friends and it is in this sense that I will miss him most.

Chris Richardson

Prosper Learning Trust CEO