Headteacher Group

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Sue Vickerman

CEO and Responsible Officer Sue has worked as an NLE for the last 9 years and has carried out deployments in Leeds, Leicester, Barnsley and Wakefield. These deployments have included executive Headships of Schools in Special measures. She has a strong track record of supporting schools out of OFSTED categories and supporting schools to achieve a judgement of good. Sue is Head of Aspire Teaching School which has a specific focus on supporting primary schools across the Wakefield district and beyond.  Aspire offers a wide range of leadership programmes focusing on developing the next generation of school / academy leaders.  She is a member of the West Yorkshire Teaching School Council. Sue was Principal of Gawthorpe Community Academy in Wakefield for 14 years up until September 2018, she was also Executive Headteacher of Towngate Primary Academy September 2016 to August 2017.  Gawthorpe has received two consecutive judgements of outstanding and has been a consistently high performing school for the last 12 years. Sue now works as a full time CEO of the Trust. Sue’s particular areas of expertise are in promotion of high standards across the primary phases, behaviour management and developing a rich, inspirational and memorable curriculum based on local community need. Sue has a strong belief that through promoting high aspirations, giving support, challenge, care and respect and creating strong teamwork, excellent teaching and learning will be achieved.
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Katie Harris

Headteacher - Gawthorpe Community Academy 

Katie has worked at Gawthorpe Community Academy since 2016. She was the Assistant Headteacher and Year 4 Class Teacher before becoming the Headteacher in September 2020.  Katie has been central to the development of the curriculum producing a broad and balanced curriculum to engage and inspire the children of Gawthorpe.

During her 26 years, working in education, Katie has been a Key Stage 2 Class Teacher, a Key Stage 3 Form Tutor and Key Stage 2 Lead.  With a degree and masters in environmental science she spent her early career as an ecologist which allowed her to become a specialist, science, advisory teacher and teach science, geography and history in a secondary setting.  More recently Katie was an Outdoor Learning Lead at a Field Studies Centre:  managing residential visits for primary children in an outdoor setting whilst delivering practical, hands on learning to deepen children’s understanding in wider curriculum subjects.

Providing children with lifelong learning experiences through exploring, discovering, investigating and evaluating is at the heart of Katie’s philosophy.  She recognises that all children are individuals with different talents, skills and attributes.  Katie believes the key to learning is unlocking every child’s potential by building trusting relationships, presenting opportunities and allowing children to develop in their own unique way to be the best they can possibly be.

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Annabel Berry

Headteacher - Towngate Primary Academy Annabel has worked in varied roles within Education since 2005.  She became Headteacher at Towngate Primary Academy as of September 2018, having previously worked as Assistant Principal with responsibilities ranging from leading British Values across school, English core subject lead, LAC teacher, Key Stage Two Coordinator and taking lead responsibility of Safeguarding compliance and training within the academy.  Annabel has taught in every key stage across school – leading to her well-rounded understanding of teaching and learning. Annabel firmly believes that by offering all pupils a broad and balanced curriculum, rich with opportunities to explore, challenge and achieve, pupils are equipped with the core tools to become lifelong learners. Annabel is passionate about embedding a ‘Values’ curriculum within the academy; she believes that when children can understand their own moral compass, they develop their resilience, empathy and tolerance for themselves and others.
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Rachael Taylor

Headteacher - Half Acres Primary Academy Rachael joined Ackton Pastures as a newly qualified teacher and primarily taught within the Early Years and KS1 for 21 years.  During that time she led on the development of a wide range of curriculum areas across the school including Phonics, Reading, Maths and Science.  Rachael held Key Stage Leader roles before becoming Assistant Headteacher and later joining Girnhill Infant School in 2016 as Deputy Headteacher.  Responsibilities at Girnhill included Curriculum Development and Key Stage Leadership.  An exciting, progressive and appropriate curriculum was developed to support all children in reaching their potential.  

Rachael became the Headteacher at Half Acres Primary Academy in September 2020 following an interim role in 2019.  She was pivotal in developing a strong curriculum intent and a culture of 'Aspiring To Achieve - Enriching Lives' for all children at the school.  The school values, local area and Castleford Heritage are at the heart of the school and all that they do.  Her passion for teaching, learning and working with parents drives the best outcomes for all children to enjoy, achieve and be well prepared for their next stage of education. 

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Katie Lea

Headteacher - Ackton Pastures Primary Academy Katie became headteacher at Ackton Pastures in January 2020 after previously working as the Deputy Headteacher within school. Prior to joining Ackton Pastures in 2019 Katie worked within schools in North Yorkshire. She has supported a number of schools as an English SLE; delivering bespoke training and CPD as well as coordinating and delivering subject leadership network meetings. As well as a subject specialism in English, Katie has held leadership responsibilities for curriculum development and assessment. Katie is passionate about building a lifelong love of learning within children and truly believes in the school vision of ‘children at the heart, transforming futures at the core.’

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Susan Harrison

Headteacher - Fitzwilliam Primary School Susan has been Headteacher at Fitzwilliam Primary School since 2005. During this time she has worked relentlessly to ensure that all children and parents who are part of the Fitzwilliam Primary community participate in an education which nurtures and challenges each of them to be the best they can possibly be. She believes passionately in school’s ethos of ‘working and growing together’ and firmly believes that parents should be fully involved in their child’s education.  Consequently she has participated in a number of successful projects which explore how to further engage parents.  In addition to this she has also pursued her own independent study achieving a Master’s Degree in Education which enabled her to work with colleagues from across the education spectrum. Susan is a Local Leader of Education.
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Jane Littlewood

Headteacher - Girnhill Infant School Jane has been Headteacher at Girnhill Infant School from October 2016. Prior to this she was Deputy Headteacher at Girnhill, her responsibilities included EYFS Leader, Assessment Coordinator and Specialist Leader of Education in Early Years, Phonics and Literacy. Jane is passionate about Teaching and Learning and ensuring that children reach their full potential through an exciting curriculum and working with parents to enable them to support their children’s learning is a key area of continuing development.  Children are at the very heart of everything at Girnhill and all actions taken always have the best interests of the children at their core.
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Steven Walker

Headteacher - South Hiendley Primary Academy Steven was Headteacher of Towngate Primary Academy for 3 years and in that time he developed the leadership and management of the school, with a particular focus on the development of middle and senior leaders.  Pupil progress, attendance and attainment for all learners have improved as have outcomes in all key stages. Steve has now taken the role of Headtecher in the latest Academy to join our Trust. Steven has worked in two Outstanding schools, and held middle and senior leadership positions in both key stage one and key stage two. His leadership roles have included the development of the curriculum, literacy, science and music co-ordinator and data management including responsibility for reporting to governors and conducting the pupil progress meetings across all classes in key stage one and two. As an SLE Steven worked on a 1-to-1 basis with teachers across key stage 2 to develop provision, improve performance and outcomes and support their professional development. Steven has also worked with larger groups as part of the Improving Teaching Programme and Outstanding Teacher Programme for several years and developed the RQT network and ‘Next Step Outstanding Programme’ alongside another SLE. Steven intends to use all these skills to ensure the rapid improvement of Ash Grove. Steven is passionate about the right children have to an excellent, all round education. Children deserve to be taught in stimulating, challenging and engaging ways, capturing their interests and allowing them to feel a sense of pride.

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Leah Charlesworth

Executive Headteacher - Ash Grove Primary Academy Leah has diverse and varied experience within the maintained and academy education sector spanning 22 years at local, regional and national level with over 15 years in executive positions. Her experience ranges from successful school leadership, leading a range of schools in challenging circumstances and through transformational leadership supporting them to improve significantly, to working within three different Local Authority teams. Leah is currently working at a national level with a range of schools and academies across both the primary and secondary phase, providing support, challenge and quality assurance for leaders. In addition, she delivers continuing professional development for leaders at all levels that supports them to build the foundations of outstanding provision. Leah is a designated National Leader of Education (NLE), having led two schools from categories of concern to Ofsted Outstanding, securing the latter as a Teaching School after leading the school from Special Measures to Outstanding within 17 months. As the Director of School Improvement and Director of the Teaching School for the 8th largest Multi Academy Trust in the country, Leah was instrumental in transforming school improvement strategy leading to securing significant improvements in pupil outcomes, narrowing gaps and improved Ofsted designations. Leah has played a key role in developing and implementing policies, liaising with DfE, RSC, Ofsted and other stakeholders and being responsive to Government policy, as well as leading on successful free school bids.