Our Core Team is made up of our Chief Executive, Chief Finance and Chief Operations Officers.

Karen Burns (Chief Executive Officer and Executive Principal of Inspire and Discovery Academies)
Karen was appointed to the post of Executive Principal for Inspire and Discovery Academies in April 2015. Karen is an experienced Headteacher with a proven track record of school improvement. Following a successful Deputy Headship involving the amalgamation of two schools in Stockport, Karen’s position before joining the Trust was as Headteacher of a Primary School in Ashton.

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 across all subjects. This achievement was acknowledged and celebrated by the Minister for Schools, David Laws MP.

In 2013 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 has taken part in discussions with Ministers and the Chair of Ofsted regarding the way forward for improved practice for early years’ pupils.

Since joining the Trust Karen has continued to work for Tameside supporting schools as a Schools Performance and Standards Officer and also sits on Tameside’s School’s Forum. Karen has recently had an active role in all party parliamentary group discussions. She is a member of a multi academy trust advisory body for Prospects Education and been a guest speaker at several national conferences including the Optimus Education Summit and the Daily Telegraph Education Festival.

David Thompstone (Chief Finance Officer)
As Trust Chief Officer David is responsible for the financial operation of the Trust and our academies. David is an ACCA qualified accountant with over 26 years’ experience working in the local government financial sector, with most of that time spent working directly with Schools and Education Service teams. Working with the Trust David provides our academies with financial support and training for academy budget holders, finance support staff and governors.

David’s role for the six years prior to joining the Trust involved managing the Local Authority’s Schools and Education Services accountancy function. That role included the calculation and management of School funding for Tameside Schools and managing the delivery of a traded Schools Finance Support Service to Schools across Tameside. David’s role at the Local Authority included providing financial advice and support to schools, assisting with their budget planning and providing training and presentations to groups of Head Teachers and Governors. David sits on the Local Governing Body at Discovery Academy.

Nicky Wise (Chief Operations Officer)
As Chief Operations Officer Nicky takes the lead in developing the academies, working with schools joining the Trust, developing and promoting links with the DfE, RSC and ESFA, and with the Trust Board. Nicky is a qualified architect and is also IOSH trained. She has over 20 years’ experience in the public and private sectors, successfully delivering a wide range of primary and secondary new build and refurbishment education projects across England. Nicky took the lead in the formation and development of the Trust and with the establishment of Inspire and Discovery Academies.

Nicky is a Trust Governor at a primary school in the north east, as Vice Chair of Governors and Chairs the Curriculum Committee. After recommendation Nicky has also recently joined the Governing Body of a school requiring improvement. Nicky sits on the Local Governing Body at Inspire Academy.