Our Executive Team

The Star Executive Team comprises of established and experienced education leaders, all of whom have an outstanding track record in school leadership, education management and business.

The Executive Team is responsible for the strategic development and leadership of Star Academies. They promote a culture of excellence in everything the Trust does. Supported by Star Central, the Executive Team oversee the network of schools.

(Mufti) Hamid Patel CBE – Chief Executive

Hamid is the Chief Executive of Star Academies. He has led the Trust since its inception.  Hamid is passionate about the highest of ambition for children and young people from the most disadvantaged communities across the country and this vision has guided the philosophy of the Trust and his work in particular.    Hamid, as a National Leader of Education, is a member of several national and international strategic educational and policy forums.  In this role, he has contributed to the development of strategies and programmes as diverse as teacher training, leadership development, community cohesion, curriculum reform and social mobility. Hamid is committed to the development of a strong and world-class academy sector and actively works to improve its reputation.

Within his previous role, as Executive Principal of the Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School (TIGHS), the school secured three ‘outstanding’ inspections by Ofsted and became the top school in the country for progress by all students, those with low prior achievement at primary school and from disadvantaged backgrounds.  The school is now an Academy within the Trust.

Prior to his role at Star Academies, Hamid was the Director of Strategy, Change and External Relations at Bradford College – leading on one of the most ambitious change programmes in Further Education.

In recognition of his service to education, Hamid was awarded a CBE in 2015.

Hamid is the Accounting Officer for Star Academies

Kieran Larkin – Executive Director: Education

Kieran is responsible for Star schools in the Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and London regions of the Trust. This involves ensuring each of the schools in these regions implements, embeds and maintains the Star Quality Standards.

In addition, he provides the strategic leadership across the Trust in curriculum and assessment, performance monitoring, and the Trust’s school improvement framework.

Kieran joined Star Academies with extensive school, multi-academy trust, regional and national leadership experience.

For six years, Kieran worked for the DfE as part of the National Strategies, becoming a member of the national leadership team. He brings experience of developing and implementing national programmes in leadership, teaching, learning and assessment.

Over the last decade, he has held senior leadership roles in two of the largest and most successful multi-academy trusts, one as Head of Education Support and the other as Director of Education Services.  In addition, he has been the founding Principal and Executive Principal of two sponsored academies in areas of considerable disadvantage.

Starting out as mathematics teacher, Kieran still maintains an active interest in the subject and has particular interest in the sustainable development of teaching and learning in and between schools.

Lisa Crausby – Executive Director: Education

Lisa is responsible for schools in Lancashire and the Midlands. She has Trust-wide responsibility for the Rapid Improvement Model, Teaching and Learning, Inclusion and safeguarding.

Lisa Crausby joined the team from a multi-academy trust where she was the Chief Education Officer responsible for transforming the education of over 12,000 pupils from areas of high deprivation across the primary, secondary and Further Education phases. Under her leadership, over 90% of schools were judged as Good by Ofsted with no school performing below the government’s coasting criteria.

Prior to this, Lisa was the Inspector Adviser for Service Children’s Education (an agency of the Ministry of Defence that serves children of service personnel) responsible for securing high personal and academic achievements across all secondary and middle schools world-wide. 100% of schools were judged as Good or Outstanding. Outcomes were consistently well above national averages despite high pupil mobility.

Lisa is a Lead Ofsted Inspector in the Northwest.

Shirley Gornall – Executive Director: Quality Assurance

Shirley leads quality assurance visits to all the Star schools. She also co-ordinates the education due diligence process for prospective Star schools.

Shirley Gornall joined Star Academies from Ofsted, where she was Senior Her Majesty’s Inspector with responsibility for the quality assurance of inspections in the North West region. Shirley led inspections of primary and secondary schools and academies, and inspected local authority school improvement services.

Before joining Ofsted, Shirley was a school improvement adviser for a local authority, a role in which she had particular responsibility for English and literacy across primary and secondary schools; she also advised headteachers and governing bodies on leadership and management.  She originally trained as a secondary English teacher, has led a very successful English department and been a senior leader in a high-performing school.

Amanda Bailey – Executive Director: Finance and Operations (CFO)

Amanda is responsible for overseeing the Operational Directorate of the Trust. This includes Governance, HR, Finance, IT, Estates and Admissions.

Amanda previously worked for Ambition School Leadership (formerly Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders) where she was Head of Coaching.  Her responsibilities included the design of coaching resources and the recruitment and development of the team of coaches serving leadership development programmes for middle and senior leaders. Prior to this, Amanda worked as Chief Operating Officer for a multi-academy trust where the Teaching School was part of her strategic responsibility.

Prior to training as a science teacher, Amanda had a successful career in industry working for Marks and Spencer, United Utilities and PricewaterhouseCoopers both in the UK and internationally in a number of senior roles across HR, finance, IT and learning and development.  She has a strong belief in providing equality of opportunity for all children regardless of background and set up and ran a work experience programme across Greater Manchester based on a model from charter schools in the USA to promote high quality, professional experiences to young people from less privileged backgrounds.

She coordinated the education strand of the All Party Parliamentary Group for mindfulness resulting in the Mindful Nation report in 2015 and is committed to supporting children and those who care for them in accessing strategies for wellbeing and positive mental health.

Amanda is currently a trustee for Mindfulness in Schools Project and The Apprentice Academy.

Dr. Kathryn Chorlton, CPsychol – Executive Director: Communications and Development

Dr. Kathryn Chorlton has responsibility for new projects, communications and the Trust’s pupil leadership specialism. Dr. Chorlton leads the delivery of Trust-wide corporate programmes, change management and new business opportunities. She oversees and manages the establishment of new schools and academies. Her portfolio includes marketing and communications for the Star schools, as well as the communications strategy for Star Academies itself.

Dr. Chorlton was previously a Research Fellow within the Safety and Technology Group, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, a multi-disciplinary team undertaking research in road safety and driver behaviour. With a decade of experience in the field, she worked on a variety of high profile research projects exploring the socio-cognitive determinants of driving behaviour and the impact of intelligent transport systems. Her work involved collaboration with national and international policymakers, including the Department for Transport, Highways Agency, Transport for London, and the European Commission, as well as leading global industrial partners. Dr. Chorlton is also a Chartered Psychologist.

Linda Thompson – Executive Director: Star Institute

In her role as Executive Director of Star Institute, Linda Thompson leads the learning and development centre for Star Academies. The Institute exists to enhance the knowledge and skills of leaders, teachers, governors and support staff throughout the school system.

Originally appointed as Star’s Director of School Improvement, Linda went on to serve as the Principal of two Star schools – Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School and Eden Girls’ School, Coventry. Both schools achieved Ofsted “Outstanding” under her leadership.

Linda previously worked as a Senior Regional Adviser for School Improvement with responsibilities for North West schools identified under the National Challenge initiative, where she was tasked with driving up standards in schools where less than 30% of students were achieving five A*-Cs at GCSE. Prior to that, she served as the Deputy National Lead on Assessment for Learning.

Working alongside the New Schools’ Network as an Education Adviser, Linda has provided leadership support and guidance to more than 50 Free School proposer groups.

David Holland – Executive Director: Capital Programmes

David is Executive Director of Capital Programmes for Star Academies and leads a £100m capital programme.  David is an experienced property and programme management professional having worked extensively in the Private and Public sectors delivering a mix of property, legal, Public Private Partnerships and Education projects.  He has advised on more than 100 Free School and University Technical College projects over the past seven years and was previously the Head of Property and Legal (Free Schools) at the Education Funding Agency as well as a Project Director at Partnerships for Schools leading multi-disciplinary teams to deliver £750m of capital projects under Building Schools for the Future.  David is also a qualified solicitor having worked for blue chip international practices.


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