Leeds West Academy

Fiona McMahon

Fiona McMahon started her teaching career in a large inner city suburb of Hull. After a few years she was appointed as Head of Music and in this role, led a variety of creative projects including working with students to create a performance for the opening of the KC stadium and musically directing the second ever school production in the UK of Les Miserables.

Fiona was appointed as Director of Performing Arts at the Cathedral School in Wakefield where she led the team in gaining Performing Arts College status. She developed a number of successful partnerships with local arts providers and together, they created a specialist Post- 16 arts provision in order to provide high quality creative vocational arts training for aspiring young performance artists in Yorkshire. Fiona also led a successful visit to Gothenburg to research inclusion as part of the British Council’s Teachers’ International Professional Development Programme and developed a cross curricular arts scheme, which empowered  teachers of all subjects to use arts based techniques to further develop students’ experiences in the classroom.

In 2008, Fiona joined the newly formed leadership team at Leeds West Academy. In this role, she has worked on a variety of projects, including the development of the EEP programme, the introduction of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, the introduction of Expressive Arts, the adaption of the Academy’s performance management process (in preparation for performance related pay) and the development of vocational provision. Fiona’s commitment to life-long learning led her to complete an MBA in Educational Leadership, mentor staff on the Masters in Teaching and Learning and develop a partnership with the University of Leeds to enable more staff to complete Masters level qualifications.

Fiona’s most memorable experiences at LWA to date have been leading student trips to Namibia and Malawi to carry out crucial community work, including building a Kindergarten school for the village of Kanwe in Malawi. She has thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the students transform into mature, sensitive and experienced travellers by the end of the two-year programme, so much more humble and grateful for their unique mind-expanding life experience.

In January 2017, Fiona takes on the development of Leeds West Academy’s Post-16 provision. She is very much looking forward to working with both staff and students to ensure that all students reach their potential and achieve well beyond expectations in order to access the next exciting phase of their lives.