New CEO appointed at Ascend Learning Trust

By Jessica Durston - 2 March 2023

  • Jane Coley

    Jane Coley

The Ascend Learning Trust (ALT) - based in Wiltshire - has appointed Jane Coley who will take over the CEO role from 1 September 2023.

Jane will be joining Ascend Learning Trust from Anthem Trust, where she currently is Director of Education.

Jane has been teaching for 25 years, and most recently with the Anthem Trust which has 16 schools across five Local Authorities.

In this role she worked in both the Secondary and Primary phases focusing on supporting leaders to drive improvement and helping to secure effective and inspiring practice in the classroom. 

Prior to this Jane was Principal at Brakenhale School in Berkshire, which was said to have been transformed under her leadership. 

During her career to date, she has also worked as an Associate Headteacher in an Outstanding school and was known for her work as a national lead for PiXL6 (Partners in Excellence), where she worked alongside over 500 schools to lead improvement for Post16 students. 

In her various leadership roles, Jane is said to have earned a reputation for working at a rapid pace to improve progress and standards in schools whilst creating positive cultures that embody a strong moral purpose, to ensure all young people thrive and where staff feel empowered to lead.

Outside of the work arena Jane is a mother to three children aged 6, 9 and 15, and says she is well aware of the challenges facing families and young people. She is also a keen runner, and says she very much enjoys spending time with her family and friends. 

Ascend Learning Trust now has seven Academies within the Trust. It was set up as a Multi Academy Trust in May 2017, and rebranded in September 2022 as Ascend Learning Trust to better reflect the growing Trust.

The Academies based in Swindon, Royal Wootton Bassett, Tidworth, and Calne, work together, sharing their leadership principles and management processes.

The Trust exists to ensure that the staff, pupils and parents from each Academy are able to benefit from Excellence in Education.

The Trust says it aims is to ensure that all staff and pupils are equipped to deliver the highest level of performance. Regardless of its pupils starting points the Trust says it strives to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves, using its values - Compassion, Respect and Ambition.

Chair of Trust Nathan Coombs said: "This is an exciting development in the journey of ALT with the recruitment process extended over two days. It certainly was a tough and vigorous set of interviews with a number of experienced senior school leaders applying for the CEO role. The Board of Trustees were unanamous in appointing Jane and she is now joining the team in a strong position.

"We are all very aware of the challenges to education that we face. Over the coming months Jane will be planning to get to know us better, meet the members of the team personally and start building relationships, showing her qualities that she will bring to our Trust. Her appointment will add to the strengths of our superb executive team as she starts to work alongside them and leads them, furthering the quality of education in our schools and academies.

“I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank George Croxford who has shown exceptional leadership and with his vision and support to the other senior leaders in our schools and academies, he has shown how every child can be nurtured and achieve their potential. We wish him well for any future endeavours.”

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