Principal to unlock school’s potential

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A new principal is intending to awaken a ‘sleeping giant’ as he aims to turnaround Lightcliffe Academy and bring them out of special measures.

Tom Rothwell, along with his new team, will lead the academy as they work on improving the school after it was put into special measures in May 2014.

Mr Rothwell who worked at St Mary’s Menston in Leeds, explained he the children and parents have been great and has already seen a positive impact.

“We want to give the children the best education as we can that will open doors for them and for them to make a contribution to the community,” he said.

“It has been a positive start bt like anything there has been its teething problems,

“Like any school in special measures, parents and children have their concerns. We want to work in partnership with them about the changes we have made and they have been supportive with that.”

The academy has undergone structure changes with 30 new staff members starting, changes to the pastoral system and to the actual school day.

Mr Rothwell has also been to visit the feeder schools enabling him to meet members of the community and prospecive parents.

Having been at the Leeds school for 17 years and the school being rated as outstanding by Ofstedfollowing 18 months when he was acting co-head teacher, he saw becoming principal as the next.

“I took on the role as I saw it as my next challenge.

“I had been at St Marys for 17 years and one of my aims their was to get an outstanding Ofsted.

“I wanted to move onto the next stage and saw this opportunity.

“St Marys was a sports college and that sort of ethos can be used here and get out of special measures as quickly as we can.”

On March 1 the school completed the process of converting to an academy under the sponsorship of the Abbey Multi Academy Trust.

The academy on Stoney Lane, Lightcliffe, will be holding its open day on October 15 from 5.30 pm to 8pm

“What I would say to people is that yes we are in special measures biut don’t judge a book by its cover. Come in and take a look at the school,” added Mr Rothwell.

“We have to change and we have to get it right but I am really excited by the potential here.

“When I have spoken to people they have described the school as a sleeping gian.

“So it now just a case of waking that giant up and I think that is beginning to happen,” he said.