Leeds West Academy

Helen Russell 

Helen gained her Biology degree from The University of Leeds where she also completed her PGCE. She began her teaching career in Bradford in 1999 and spent four years as KS3 Science Coordinator before moving to France as Head of Biology for the British School of Paris for two years. On her return to the UK, Helen started work at Intake High School as Head of Science. 

Helen was appointed to the Senior Leadership team at Leeds West Academy in 2012 as Director of Training for newly qualified and trainee teachers. In this role Helen helped to ensure the training model and programme for NQTs and ITT students at Leeds West Academy was exemplary, and in 2014 the LWA training programme was used as ‘model practice’ in training for schools across Leeds. In 2014 Helen also gained her Masters In Teaching and Learning from Leeds Trinity University; her dissertation focussed on improving engagement for girls within Science and STEM subjects. 

In 2014 Helen took a one-year sabbatical from Leeds West Academy to undertake voluntary teaching and conversation work.  She spent three months on the Caribbean island of Montserrat working for Coral Cay, a marine conservation group, as Education officer; Helen taught in the High School on the island, organised the Island’s School Science Fair and delivered Teacher Training to local Primary teachers.  She also spent two months in South Africa doing conservation work on game reserves and a cheetah breeding programme. Finally, she spent three months in the rural southern region of Madagascar, where she taught English in a Malagasy High school, as well as to women working in a remote village as part of a sustainable livelihoods project. Since returning, Helen has shared her experiences with Leeds West Academy students through numerous assemblies and lessons; she is passionate about conservation and global issues and about engaging all students with ecology and care of the environment.

In 2015 Helen was appointed Director of Health and Wellbeing for Leeds West Academy. In this crucial role she helped to secure the Healthy School status for the Academy in 2016. In this position she also introduced new initiatives for healthy eating, supported with the development of the Values Curriculum and oversaw the development and implementation of policies to ensure all students are gaining a broad curriculum experience. 

In January 2017, Helen began as Senior Assistant Principal overseeing EAL, SEND and Alternative Provision at Leeds West Academy. She is now looking forward to developing the provision at LWA to secure outstanding outcomes for all students. Helen continues to raise the profile of ecology at within the Academy and beyond.