Who we are

for details of Key Notes, Conferences, CPD and Training delivered please click HERE

Director: Dr Wendy Thorley PhD, M.Ed, B.A (Hons) Ed. R.G.N. National Teaching Fellow HEA, Trainer for Friends Resilience Programme 

Director of CEL&T

Co-Founder ACE Network North East

Director of New Blueprint Group

Additional professional qualifications:  The Child Trauma Academy-  NMT Advanced Clinical Practice Training Series-  (NMT-NueroSequential Model of Therapeutics and Mobius Care as well as - NMT interventions for supporting traumatised children),  

Further Education and Adult Teaching Certificate and Internal Verifiers Award as well as Vocational and Skills Trainer and Assessor, 

Human Resource Development and HRD Training (Level 4),  and HE Diploma: Further Education and Training and Youth Trainers Award, HE Diploma - Primary Education

Counselling in the development of learning, alongside numerous CPD achievements including counselling the bereaved.

Facilitator for Friends Resilience Programme (all programmes) 


Whilst at the University of Sunderland Dr Wendy Thorley has been involved in several programmes as a consultant and programme leader, including: Applied Family Studies, Early Years Professional Status, Foundation Degree in Education and Care, BA (Hons) Education and Care, Higher Level Teaching Assistant and collaborative partnerships with further education colleges and Local Authority organisations for continuing professional development (CPD). Within her role of Senior lecturer at University of Sunderland she led her department in developing the use of technological innovations to enhance the learning experience. Her innovative use of virtual learning environments for network peer and tutor support and the collection of student feedback has been commended by external examiners. Starting her career in the NHS, she undertook a range of CPD initiatives to develop her teaching and learning expertise. She gained professional experience initially in Nurse Education prior to moving into  primary education. She has held positions in  Local Authority Social Services Human Resource Department (HRD) related programmes before consolidating her experience first in Further Education then moving into higher education.  She is highly regarded across voluntary and statutory organisations locally and regionally and has published a range of papers, completed national and regional consultancy roles and  a number of invited key note speaker contributions.

Director: Al Coates MBE BSc Social Work, Trainer for Friends Resilience Programme 

Social Worker (Fostering, independent Social Worker, Practice Educator  & Trainer)

Director of CEL&T

Co-Founder ACE Network North East

Co-founder and Podcaster on the Adoption & Fostering Podcast

Director of Phoenix Community Care

Director of New Blueprint Group

Trustee for Families in Care

Blogger at alcoates.co.uk

Member of the DfE’s Adopter Reference Group

Mr Al Coates MBE: is an experienced Social Worker who has extensive knowledge of Fostering, independent Social Work as well as Social Work Practice Educator and Trainer. As a member of the Department for Education's Expert Advisory Group on Adoption Support (now replaced by Adoption and Special Guardian advisory group) he has undertaken to help support families who adopt, recognising these children and young people who are adopted can present with a wide range of challenging behaviours. As a father of 6 Adopted Children he is well aware of the diverse needs of children who are adopted. In addition, managing his own Foster Care caseload and working with those who Foster as well as those who provide residential settings for children who are Looked After, he understands that children and young people can often display behaviour that can be viewed as unacceptable, aggressive or violent; and managing these behaviours places immense pressure on those within the family setting. Mr Coates runs a popular blogging site at alcoates.co.uk; for which he was awarded First4Adoptions blogger of the year in 2015 and 2016. He also produces the Adoption and Fostering Podcast which is available at: http://adoptionandfostering.podbean.com. In recognition to his commitment and work he was awarded his MBE in the New Years Honours list, January 2018. He has presented at a number of events as a Key Note Speaker and an invited contributor at regional and National conferences and events, discussing Child to Parent Violence or Aggression, following the success of the CPV publications with Dr Wendy Thorley in January 2017.

Ruth Whiteside: M.Ed in Leadership, PGCE, BA (Hons), Trainer for Friends Resilience Programmes

Trainer/ Consultant/ Advisor


Director of Coaching Solutions for Schools Ltd

Additional Professional Qualifications: Certified profiler for 6 seconds

Ruth taught for twenty years in primary schools in the North East, including twelve years in a senior leadership role. She recently left teaching to concentrate on her passion for developing teachers through coaching and mentoring with a focus on building resilience and exploring the power of emotional intelligence. Ruth’s experience included eight years at a mainstream primary school with provision for children dealing with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. This was instrumental in furthering her knowledge and understanding of how and why children behave as they do – including those children who display violent behaviour. For these children in particular, resilience and emotional intelligence are key to developing a greater understanding of self and others, and provide alternative ways of thinking. Resilience and emotional intelligence then are essential for the health and well-being of both children and their teachers and to this end Ruth is now a certified trainer for Friends Resilience, an intervention programme suitable for children, young people and adults. She is also certified with the not-for-profit organisation Six Seconds to offer coaching with a focus on emotional intelligence.

Ruth has a Masters in Educational Leadership from Newcastle University.


Company number 10659796


Company Address: Mill View, Plessey Hall Farm Plessey Hall Lane, Shotton Lane, Cramlington, Northumberland, United Kingdom, NE23 1JH

Telephone: 07758 589529                                                                       

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