Senior Leadership

Executive Director: Mr R Burman

"I have been a Headteacher for 18 years in three schools.  Following an Ofsted grading of Outstanding in my last school, I became a National Leader of Education which meant I could work in schools in challenging circumstances and I took on the Executive Headship of an MLD Special School in Special Measures. That school has just been judged as Good in every area which means those students now get a good deal.  This process took two years.

I studied at Leeds University following a BEd and later on a MEd.  I have a real passion for social mobility through education and I believe that all students should have their life chances improved immeasurably because of what we do in terms of organising school resources and staffing, creating an achievement culture where all students make at least good progress.

I have worked in a number of schools in Yorkshire before coming to AVA.

I have played professional rugby and enjoy watching it and going to the gym.  My sons are at University studying Civil Engineering and working as an actor, respectively."

Secondary Headteacher: Mr G Gibson 

Mr G Gibson"I graduated from the University of Dundee 1997 with a degree in English Literature. After completing a certificate of English Language teaching to adults, I travelled to Japan where I taught in a private language school in central Tokyo teaching students with ages ranging from two to eighty two. 

After four years as a teacher and Director of Studies in Tokyo, I returned to the UK where I embarked on a PGCE at Goldsmiths, University of London.  I taught for ten years in schools in South West London before moving to an upper school in Leighton Buzzard.

I have held a range of roles including Head of English and more recently, Assistant Headteacher in charge of teaching and learning. My passion has always been the development of students as leaners and if my career has taught me one thing it is that we are all lifelong learners.

Away from school, I enjoy watching rugby and being with my family."

Vice Principal: Mr A West 

 Miss P McManus“I graduated from the University of Durham in 2000 with a degree in Natural Sciences.

Having spent a year rowing and coaching rowing to secondary school children in Australia I become a full time athlete, representing England and Great Britain, between 2001 and 2003.

Following up on my coaching experience I completed a PGCE at Nottingham University in 2004 and then moved South where I have taught at secondary schools both in Henley and Oxford over the last 12 years. 

I have held a range of roles including Head of House and Head of Science and I have throughly enjoyed taking responsibility for the coaching and development of middle leaders.

Away from school I enjoy cycling to keep fit, camping trips with my family and going to see live music."

Primary Headteacher: Mrs C Baughan 

"I have over 20 years’ experience in both Primary and Secondary settings. I have been a senior leader for 16 years and have extensive knowledge of Teaching and Learning, Safeguarding and Assessment. I am extremely passionate about education and the life experiences of all children and young people. Much of this love started when I studied Theatre Design at University in Nottingham. This made me an advocate for creative learning and for enriching the National Curriculum whilst offering a wide range of opportunities for all. 

I am also a Parish Councillor within Aylesbury Vale, this is a role that I find both interesting and rewarding. I consider community links vital and have worked with many businesses and organisations throughout my time in education.

I am married and have 2 sons. My oldest is an avid cricketer and my youngest a footballer - therefore I can be mainly found at weekends by the side of a sports pitch supporting one of them!"

Primary Deputy Headteacher: Miss S Luton 

Mrs S Luton“I graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree in Counselling and Therapy. During my thirteen years in education I have held many different roles and taught all children in the primary age range. 

I added another dimension to this when I taught at an international school in Hong Kong. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and learned a lot about different learning strategies, I am now intending to utilise this experience to create exciting learning opportunities for children and staff. 

I am passionate about enabling children to reach their full potential and am committed to getting children to succeed and for helping my colleagues to join me in a self improvement journey to provide experiences which enable children to flourish. I believe that in order to learn a child needs to have a calm and secure environment in which to work and that it is our job as educators to motivate the children to want to learn.  

I am really looking forward to working alongside the wonderful staff here and seeing the school grow from strength to strength."

Assistant Principal: Mr K Ahmed 

 Mr H Copas"I graduated from the University of Manchester in 1995 with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. I then went on to complete my PGCE in Mathematics at Oxford University. I have worked in both middle and secondary schools in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.

I have held numerous roles over the course of my career within education. These have included Head of Mathematics, Head of Year, and more recently, Assistant Principal Director of Behaviour. During my 21 years of teaching I have also had the opportunity to be a NUT rep, PTA chair, Staff Academy representative and Director of a DBMAC (Multi Academy Company compromising of 7 primary and a secondary school).

I passionately believe that not only is every child entitled to a good education but also they should be able to enjoy their time in school in a safe and encouraging environment.

In my spare time I enjoy going to cinema and captaining both my local Hockey and Cricket teams."

Assistant Principal: Mr R Cooper 

 Mr H Copas"I was incredibly lucky to have inspirational teachers who encouraged me to apply to study English at Cambridge University.  I graduated in 2001 and went straight into teaching – initially because it was the only way I could carry on talking about literature!

During my career,  I have worked in a wide range of schools, from a Technology College for boys in the centre of Birmingham to a rather tranquil independent school for girls.  However, most of my teaching has been done in state-maintained academies in Hertfordshire.  Most recently, I’ve had four very successful years as Head of English at an outstanding school in St Albans.  I’m passionate about literature, literacy and ways to use educational technology to enhance a learner’s experiences.

When I am not working, I enjoy watching football, listening to and writing music and spending time with my young family.”

Assistant Principal: Miss E Kitter 

Miss E Kitter“I graduated from the University of Greenwich in 2004 with a degree in English Literature with Drama.  I immediately embarked on a career in the media industry, working in advertising for publications such as ‘The Times’ and ‘The Scotsman’, before completing my PGCE in Secondary English at the University of Hertfordshire in 2006.

I have held numerous roles over the course of my career including Advanced Skills Teacher, Head of Department and more recently, Year 11 Achievement Director.

Having been lucky enough to have been taught by inspirational teachers at school myself, I am very passionate about providing the same standard of education for our students. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and working with young people.

I love to travel and enjoy spending my spare time venturing to new places, both at home and abroad.  I also have two very boisterous dogs and I enjoy taking them on long walks around my local area.”

Assistant Principal: Miss J Gibbs 

 Miss P McManus"I graduated from Brunel University in 2009 with a degree in Physical Education and Secondary Education with QTS. I began my teaching career at Aylesbury Vale Academy in July 2009. During my time at AVA I have had many roles including Head of College and Achievement Director.  

I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing young people throughout my time at AVA, this has reinforced my belief that all students deserve the opportunity to succeed in life and I am committed to giving every student the skills necessary to achieve their dreams.

Outside of school, I love to travel and keep fit whether that is going for a long run or playing a game hockey!"

Assistant Principal: Mrs K Briggs 

"I graduated from the University of Birmingham with a BSc degree in Geology and Geography in 2002.  I continued my studies and was subsequently awarded a MSc in Meteorology and Climatology again from the University of Birmingham.  I then worked for the Environment Agency, at which point I decided teaching was how I wanted to spend the rest of my working life.  I studied at The University of Hertfordshire for my PGCE in Geography which I gained in 2005. 

Fundamentally I believe that education is the cornerstone to all other aspects of life.  Providing people with life skills and improving their life opportunities are always at the back of my mind as a teacher.  I have held a variety of roles in previous schools: I started teaching in a Grammar school and  I then became Subject Leader in an outstanding comprehensive specialist Geography school in Hertfordshire.  I was in this role for 10 years.  I have also been Deputy Director of the sixth form, and most recently a Specialist Leader in Geography education.   I have also facilitated the training of a group of other schools in adopting a national pupil premium strategy.   

Outside of school I enjoy travelling the world with my husband and children.  I have a Springer Spaniel who likes to join us on camping holidays, walks, and runs."

Assistant Principal: Mrs C Kirk 

 Miss P McManus“I graduated from Stirling University with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology in 1997.  After working in the DNA Sequencing Laboratory at Oxford University for a year I decided to pursue a career in teaching and completed my PGCE at Oxford University.  I then taught in two schools in Oxfordshire where, alongside teaching Science I held positions as Head of Biology, Assistant Head of 6th Form and Director of Science before moving to AVA as Curriculum Leader of Science in 2014.  I have taught in a wide variety of schools ranging from those requiring improvement through to an outstanding school in an advantaged area.  Not only am I passionate about teaching Science, I am also passionate about importance of education in improving the life chances of students regardless of the area you live in or the school you attend.

Away from school I enjoy camping trips with my family, travelling and cooking but more recently seem to be spending an increasing amount of time watching my young son playing football and rugby”.

Assistant Principal: Mr B Lee 

"I completed my degree in Psychology and Philosophy at Leeds University in 2000 before spending a year doing dull jobs while taking a photography course and learning to teach English abroad.  I then spent three years teaching in Brazil.  After returning to the UK I worked for a not-for-profit organisation running events in secondary schools and it was during this time I discovered that teaching is my true vocation.  I trained as an RS teacher in 2006 and since then have held various roles, including Transition Group Co-Ordinator, Gifted and Talented Co-Ordinator, Head of RS and Head of Humanities, while completing my Masters in Leading Change and Innovation and the National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership.

For me, teaching is only partly about imparting knowledge, it is also about helping to develop the self-belief and positive attitude in students to do well in school and life, whatever challenges they face.  This is what drives me.

Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my wife and two young children, keeping fit, and going to see live music played very loudly". 

Assistant Principal: Mrs E Jefford 

"I graduated from Bristol UWE as a Bachelor of Arts in English and History in 2005, just 2 weeks before I gave birth to my first born child. Though I already had ambitions to become a teacher, early parenthood dictated that my route into my career would have to be somewhat creative. In 2007 I became a cover supervisor. This was an ideal platform from which to gain experience and secure placement on a teacher training course that would allow me to work and study simultaneously. I achieved QTS in 2009 (before adding to my family once more) and achieving a Master of Arts in Education (Special Educational Needs) by 2011. I was delighted to have my work on 'Accommodating All' recognised as outstanding with an award from the British and Foreign School Society.

Alongside my studies, I have held a range of roles (and doubled my own children), progressing steadily from Teacher of English to Assistant Head of House, Head of Year 7 and Transition before embarking upon my SENDCo Career.  I have qualified in this position and join AVA including Berryfields with some fantastic experience behind me. 

I am most looking forward to being a part of a learning journey at AVA including Berryfields that begins at just 2 years old and progresses all the way through to 18 in a position that enables me to champion student needs and work closely with them to address the barriers to learning that they may encounter along the way.

During holidays, my family and I love to go camping! We have been known to spend the entire summers campsite 'hopping' along the coast".

Associate Assistant Principal: Miss S Hussain 

“We should never forget, or fail to appreciate, that as teachers of mathematics, each one of us is engaged in something much more important that our daily tasks of instruction, curriculum, and assessment. We are engaged in empowering our students so that they can improve not only their own lives but can also better understand and critique the world around them." 

I graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2009 with a degree in Biomedical Sciences. After applying my learning in the hospital labs, I then went back to Oxford Brookes to complete my PGCE in Mathematics in 2012. I have worked in a secondary school in Oxfordshire before joining AVA.

As a new member of the SLT, I believe that I can support the current teaching & learning in further improving the pedagogy being used in lessons,  to help support raising results and our students having a better understanding of the curriculum being taught.

In my spare time I enjoy going to the cinema and reading a good book."


Business Manager: Mrs S Cooper 

"I graduated from Cambridge University in 2001 with a degree in Genetics. While I enjoyed every minute of studying Genetics, I decided working in a lab wasn't for me and I wanted to try something new and so pursue a career in the world of business.

I have worked for a very well known retailer for 17 years, working in many different branches and in a host of different roles. My most recent role as Operations Manager in a London flagship store was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed leading a large team and driving sales.

I recently decided to switch paths a little and use my knowledge and experience of the world of business to join Aylesbury Vale Academy as the Business Manager. I love that I can support and improve the smooth running of the school so that we can provide the best environment for students to flourish in.

I have a little toddler so my spare time is mostly taken up entertaining her and we can often be found reading good books together."