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John Milton Academy Trust

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Retiring CEO reflects on John Milton Academy Trust’s amazing achievements

The CEO of the John Milton Academy Trust has retired after a nearly 40-year career in education.

Karen Grimes said farewell to trustees, local board members and present and former colleagues at an event on Thursday, October 19, celebrating everything the trust has achieved since it was launched in September 2016.

Starting her career in Leicestershire in 1984, Karen moved to Suffolk in 1987, working at Copleston, St Albans and Holywells in Ipswich, before moving to Stowupland in 2005, where she was headteacher until 2017.

She said: “I believe there have been 21 Secretaries of State for Education during my career – that’s quite a number, but the flux and change has never mattered, because there has always been the Trust and our family of schools, providing stability and continuity.

“We have achieved so much since those early years. I have always been a strong supporter of the arts and that is reflected in the culture, ethos and curriculum of our schools.

“I have worked with some truly wonderful professionals over the years and it was important to me that my retirement celebrated their achievements and contributions as well.”

In her time at the trust, Karen has overseen the construction of the new John Milton Sixth Form building, which was officially opened by MP Jo Churchill in April 2022, the opening of two specialist provisions as well as seeing staff at Cedars Park and Bacton Primary Schools achieve ‘good’ ratings from Ofsted inspectors last term.

Karen added: “My retirement was delayed due to Covid, but I am now looking forward to having the luxury of time and being able to focus far more on family and friends.”

The Trust Board has appointed Shaun Common, of the Gippeswyk Community Educational Trust, as its interim CEO, who will continue to oversee his own schools in Ipswich as well as the JMAT family.

Karen said: “Shaun has been a valued colleague for a number of years and I know he is really looking forward to working with all our schools.”