Leeds West Academy


Dan Whieldon


Dan Whieldon began teaching at West Leeds High School in 2002 after a number of years working in television production at ITV in Manchester following his graduation from Staffordshire University in English, Media and Cultural Studies. After working as intervention lead and Head of Media Studies at West Leeds he left to start work as an ICT Teacher advisor for Education Leeds, working with schools across the south and west of the city on school improvement, before being offered a role at the newly established Bradford Academy as Achievement Director for Key Stage 3. In this role Dan supported a transformative period for Bradford Academy with results improving exponentially year on year and culminating in a ‘good’ judgement from Ofsted.

Moving back to Leeds, Dan was appointed as Associate Principal and Director of English at Abbey Grange Church of England Academy and year after year set a new benchmark for the best results the department had achieved. During this time he was promoted to an Assistant Principal for teaching and learning, staff development and research overseeing the award of the nationally recognised CPD mark, the School Leadership Mark from the Prince’s Teaching Institute and one of only two academies in the country to be awarded the SSAT top award ‘transforming practice’ for Professional Learning; as well as implementing a full one to one iPad coverage across the academy alongside a four year research project for EEF. In recognition of these successes he was appointed to a trust wide role for Abbey Multi Academy Trust as Director of Academy Effectiveness across seven academies both primary and secondary and within the first year supported a sponsored secondary academy out of special measures. During this time Dan completed a Masters in Leadership and Management in Education at Leeds Beckett University.

Dan has been Principal at Leeds West Academy since September 2020 after initially joining the academy as a Vice Principal in 2018 before promotion to Head of School and subsequently to Principal. Leeds West Academy has undergone a transformative period since 2019 securing a ‘Good’ judgement from Ofsted, hugely improved results and is now oversubscribed and one of the most popular secondary schools in the city with over 800 applications for 300 places in 2022. Dan is passionate about the community in the west of Leeds and the continual improvement journey the academy is on with an unwavering commitment to excellence and transformation through education for all of the community. Dan has an MA degree in Leadership and Management in Education from Leeds Beckett University and also works as an Ofsted Inspector as a serving practitioner.  

Dan is the extremely proud father of Stanley, Noah and Evie though is still adjusting to the fact there isn’t a Stoke City fan amongst them and seems to spend more time being dragged to Elland Road than watching Stoke City these days. Outside of work Dan’s passion is skiing having many years ago trained alongside the British ski team; he also trains regularly at CrossFit Leeds and has represented his gym at local and national and European competitions.