Leeds West Academy



Our Vision

To be an exceptional and responsive academy sponsor providing life-changing education, skills and experiences for individuals in our academies and in their communities.

Our Values

  • We believe that education can transform lives
  • We respect the individual, relishing the contribution that diversity brings
  • We strive to be the best we can be, actively and with pride
  • We look after our environment to keep it safe, healthy and inclusive
  • We lead by example and work as a team 
  • We take responsibility for our own actions and are active in finding solutions to any problems
  • We respond flexibly to the needs of students & take advantage of opportunities in the City of Leeds and the wider world

Leeds West Academy LAB Members

Christian Wilcocks - Principal / Ex-officio

As a Deputy Headteacher, Mr Wilcocks worked closely with Executive Principal Mr Whitaker to transform learning and behaviour at Todmorden High School; taking the school from the bottom 5% of schools nationally, to the top 15% within a three-year period. From September 2014, Mr Wilcocks was Principal of Colne Valley High School, leading the school through a period of significant cultural change and improvement... 

Jeanne Rogers - College Nominee

01/09/2016 – 01/09/2019
Jeanne Rogers lives in North Leeds with her family and has worked with children and young people for over 25 years. Beginning her career in Children’s Centres in East Leeds, she went on to teach students that aspired to be childcare practitioners... 

Cllr. Caroline Gruen - Vice Chair / CLA & Pupil Premium / Board Nominee

02/09/2017 - 01/09/2020
Caroline has lived in Leeds all her adult life and initially trained to be a teacher at Leeds University, gaining firstly a BEd and then a MEd in Education. She went on to teach in five of the city's schools... 
Read More >> 

Darren Finley - Board Nominee

02/09/2017 - 01/09/2020
Darren is a barrister at Park Square Barristers in Leeds and head of the civil team.  He practices in civil and employment law. He has been a governor at schools in Leeds for over 20 years and is a former chair of governors at what is now Leeds City Academy.


Gillian Knutsson - Board Nominee

15/01/2018 – 15/01/2021
Gill initially trained as a teacher in Leeds before moving to live and work in Sweden for ten years. Returning to Leeds with her family in the 1980s she went on to develop a long and successful career in teaching and senior leadership, including as interim Headteacher and Principal in schools in the west of Leeds...


Gemma Simmons-Blench - College Nominee

01/07/2017 – 01/07/2020
Gemma lives in the North East of England with her family and has worked in education for almost 20 years, she has extensive experience working in secondary, further and higher education...


Kim Hird - Parent Member - Elected

08/02/2016 – 08/02/2019
Kim Hird was born in Leeds and attended the Academy in 1991, which was formerly known as Intake High. As such, her she has specifically close ties with the wider school community... 

Tracey Simpson - Safeguarding / Parent Member – Elected

01/10/2017 – 01/10/2020
Tracey is a parent governor at Leeds West Academy.  Born in Leeds and married with two sons, one who has studied successfully at Leeds West Academy and one who has just commenced his journey...


Donna Hobson - Support Staff - Elected

25/01/2017 – 25/01/2020
Donna is the Support Staff governor at Leeds West Academy.  Donna has close ties with the wider school community as she has lived in Bramley most of her life...

Read more>>

Claudia Gorrard-Smith - Teaching Staff - Elected

01/10/2017 – 01/10/2020

Claudia joined Leeds West Academy in January 2017 as a Teacher of Art. Originally from Essex, Claudia studied Art and Design at the University of Leeds and received a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from UCL, Institute Of Education. As a recently qualified teacher Claudia is...



Download the full LAB Register of Interests 2018-19
Download the full LAB Terms of Office and Responsibilities


LAB Attendance Register

View 2016-17 Register

View 2017-18 Register



The White Rose Academies Trust - Board of Directors / Trustees

Click here to view the full details of the WRAT board of Directors.



Colin Booth OBE

CEO, Leeds City College Group

Christine Smith (Chair)

A commercial general manager with extensive cross-functional experience, combining financial and commercial skills. Formerly a Category Director at Morrisons, now with Intertek Testing Services Ltd. A current governor of Leeds City College

Erica Hiorns (Vice Chair)

School Improvement Adviser, Leeds City Council

Anthony Blackwell

Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Cllr. Caroline Gruen

Councillor for Bramley and Stanningley Ward, Leeds City Council.  Former Director of Education, Calderdale Council and Head of Learning, Kirklees Council.

Jane Pither

Deputy Principal Corporate Services and Resource Management, Leeds City College

Prof. Darren Shickle

Professor of Public Health, University of Leeds. Formerly Chair of the Standards and Curriculum Committees at both Leeds East and Leeds West Academies.

Claire Rix

Biography coming soon.


In accordance with the company’s Articles of Association, the Directors may appoint up to 3 co-opted Directors 

 CEO (ex-offcio)

 In accordance with the company's Articles of Association, the CEO (if any) shall be a Director for as long s/he remains in office as such.