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Pioneer Academies Community Trust

Children are at the centre of everything we do and everything we do, is about improving their life chances

Home Page

Pioneer Academies Community Trust

Children are at the centre of everything we do and everything we do, is about improving their life chances


Helen Harrison

Helen has had substantial experience in school leadership, including three successful headships and advisory positions across South Yorkshire. She is currently Chief Executive Officer of The Rose Learning Trust, a trust of seven schools across Doncaster and North Lincolnshire. As one of the founding headteachers of the trust, Helen has been able to apply her skills as both coach and mentor to identify and share outstanding practice in order to facilitate impactful system wide improvements and build effective partnerships with other schools and partner organisations.


Dave Thomas

Dave is a mining engineer by trade, qualified in mining and mechanical engineering. For the last 34 years he has worked for AMCO who are a leading partner in the design and delivery of innovative and complex multi-disciplinary engineering, construction and maintenance services across transport, energy and environmental sectors.  Dave is currently Operations Director and leads a team of 51 staff and 85 operatives across the UK. 


James Kilner - Chair of Trustees

James works as an independent consultant and School Improvement Partner. He has held four primary headships over his career, taking two schools out of special measures. He became an accredited school inspector in 1996 when working as a senior adviser in a large local authority.  He was recruited to His Majesty's Inspectors in 2004 as HMI where he led inspections and survey work across all phases as well as leading inspections of initial teacher education in universities and colleges. He inspected Service Children's Education (SCE) abroad and led HMI training in early years, assessment, SEN and curriculum. He has also worked as director  of education services for a large local authority. James continues to work as a consultant to a number of academy trusts and conducts safeguarding reviews in primary and secondary schools and early years settings.


Melanie Barber

Melanie is an early-retired deputy head with experience of schools in challenging environments. She is a lead practitioner in literacy and a SEAL coordinator. She has provided particularly high-quality support for pupils and families and her work has been described as outstanding in literacy and creative arts.  She is a champion of education, well-being and support for vulnerable children.


Gemma Conway

Gemma has extensive experience as a school governor and brings a wealth of expertise in the field of safeguarding and children in care. She also has excellent community stakeholder relationships as part of the local community group and a neighbouring ward alliance.


Adrian Otley

Adrian worked for almost 20 years within the field of risk management in financial services, in a variety of roles. Most recently heading up the Enterprise Risk Team as the business transitioned out of public into private ownership refocusing the risk agenda onto a new strategy and focus. The bulk of Adrian's wider experience has been obtained within the financial services sector, during a time of notable change and transition within the industry. Adrian is a chartered fellow of the Institute of Risk Management (CFIRM) and an associate member of the Business Continuity Institute (AMBCI). As well as being a trustee for PACT, Adrian supports wider school governance currently serving on a number of school governing bodies.