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Chief Executive Officer

Karen Burns

Karen took on the role of Chief Executive of Victorious Academies Trust from January 2018.  The Chief Executive role entails being ultimately responsible for all day-to-day management decisions between our Trustees and Members ensuring that their vision and aims are realised. 

Following a successful Deputy Headship involving the amalgamation of two schools in Stockport, Karen moved to the position of Headteacher of a Primary School in Ashton under Lyne, Tameside.

During her first 18 months at St Peter’s Primary in Ashton it rose from being in the bottom ranking for English to being in the top 1% of the country for progress in all subjects.  This achievement was acknowledged and celebrated by the Minister for Schools, David Laws MP.  In 2013, following a highly successful inspection, the school was selected as one of only 50 early year’s settings in the UK to take part in an Ofsted ‘Best Practice’ survey and as a result their systems and structures featured in an Ofsted school improvement document highlighting best practice for school readiness. 

Following recommendation from an Ofsted Lead Inspector, Karen took part in discussions with Ministers and the Chair of Ofsted regarding the way forward for improved practice for early years’ pupils.

Karen was appointed to the role of Executive Headteacher for Carillion Academies Trust in April 2015. She became Executive Headteacher for Inspire Academy in September 2015 and Discovery Academy in September 2016 and subsequently took on the role of Chief Executive from January 2016. 

As the Trust developed, Karen was also appointed as the Primary Schools Performance and Standards Officer for the local authority and supported local schools with school improvement and Ofsted inspections. Karen has been Chair of the Tameside Schools’ Forum Committee since 2017.  

Whilst working for Carillion Academies Trust Karen had an active role in many all-party parliamentary group discussions and was a member of the multi academy trust advisory body for Prospects Education. 

During 2017 Karen led discussions with Lord Nash, Regional Schools Commissioner and Carillion to relaunch our Trust without a commercial sponsor.  Victorious Academies Trust was subsequently launched in January 2018 with new Members and Trustees. Our Trust currently comprises of eight primary academies with an additional three schools under application, two of whom have been associate academies for several years. 

Between 2018 and 2021, Karen supported a three primary school MAT in Cumbria in the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer, leading to their successful re-brokerage.  Karen is currently mentoring two multi academy trust Chief Executive Officers in Greater Manchester, supporting two local primary schools outside our Trust as their School Improvement Partner and is also a Member of The Fallibroome Trust.

Karen has been a guest speaker at several national conferences, including the Daily Telegraph Education Festival and Optimus MAT Summits.  Karen also co-facilitates NPQH and NPQEL training for several providers. Recently, Karen was invited to present as an ‘inspirational woman in educational leadership’. 

From September 2022 Karen has been a member of the North West Region Advisory Board, supporting the Regional Schools Commissioner with decisions around schools applying to convert to academy status. 

From November 2022 Karen joined White Rose Academies Trust as a Trustee.