Jane Burton

Chief Executive Officer of the Girls' Learning Trust (GLT)

What is your present role & school?

I am currently the CEO of the Girls' Learning Trust.  We are an all-girls multi academy trust that was formed in 2015 with two schools (Nonsuch High School for Girls and Wallington High School for Girls). We are currently undergoing the process of taking another girls’ school, Carshalton High School for Girls into the Trust in April 2018. This means we will be a multi academy trust the educates around 4000 young women.  More information about the Trust can be found at http://www.nonsuchschool.org/321/welcome-from-the-ceo

In my current role I provide the strategic leadership to GLT. After graduating with a degree in Economics, I enjoyed a successful career in business and entered the teaching profession in 2000. I held several middle and senior management positions within local schools and was appointed as Headteacher of W allington High School for Girls in 2012. I was appointed as Executive Head of Nonsuch and W allington Education Trust when it was formed in 2015 and have now moved to the position of CEO from September 2017 when the Trust became GLT.  I am currently the joint President of the Association of State Girls’ Schools and also a member of the Governing Body of Royal Russell School in Croydon.  I am fortunate to have the love and support of my family and pay for this by spending most weekends in muddy fields watching my teenage son compete in cross country races or playing football!

What two professional achievements are you most proud of?

1. Deciding to take the leap and change career in my mid- 30s. Have never regretted moving into the teaching profession

2. Setting up the Trust in 2015- it has been tough at times but the lessons I have learned about change management have been invaluable and the satisfaction of creating something new has been wonderful. 

What four words best describe your approach to leadership?

Enthusiastic; Purposeful; Inclusive; Addicted to ‘to do’ lists for me and my team! 

What have you learned about effective leadership most recently?

I have learned never to underestimate the effect that change has on people and that not everyone always wants to move at the same pace as you. It is important in a strategic ole to appreciate this and really think about people’s potential reactions and motivations in situations. I have also learned that developing a thicker skin is a good coping mechanism.

What three pieces of advice would you give to a new headteacher colleague?

1. Look after yourself – you have to ‘Be well to Lead well’

2. Ask for help- from other heads, your Governors and anyone you can. People are always willing to help

3. Those things that frustrate you and may keep you awake usually disappear in a short time and become ‘yesterday’s news’ 

Who have been your influential mentors/ role models?

Kim Winser, CEO and founder of Winser London. I worked for her in the 90s at Marks and Spencer and she was the only women at Director level- she was an inspiration.

My Mum and my Nan (who sadly is no longer with us)- strong women, great role models and always there to remind me not to take myself too seriously!

What do you view as the most pressing issues / challenges for girls and young women in our schools currently? 

The challenge of continuing to progress in their career throughout their working life and not hitting the glass ceiling that is still there, especially in their late 20s and early 30s. Alongside this, battling the debilitating perfection that girls’ have a tendency to aim for and beating the demon that is ‘Imposter Syndrome’

Do you have any books that have been important to you professionally that you would recommend for our leadership library? 

Pig Wrestling’ by Dr Mark Bawden- very good for getting you to think differently about problems

Collaboration’ by Morten Hansen- a must for all leaders