Leeds West Academy

Principal's Update

Mr Wilcocks with the Leeds West Academy Student Leadership Group

Establishing The Deal

As we near the end of the first half-term of the 2017-18 academic year, I am pleased to report our progress to you in my weekly update.

Last week, in our drive to maintain the highest standards of teaching at Leeds West Academy, we started our first cycle of Quality Assurance, involving a series of Learning Observations covering every teacher in the Academy.  This will enable us to evaluate the quality of teaching and plan any necessary training to ensure our standards continue to climb, all with the intention of securing the best possible deal for your children.

The senior leadership team and I have visited many lessons across the Academy and what has become very clear is that there is so much to be celebrated.  Our students are demonstrating excellent levels of engagement, with little exception.  Our work in The Purple Zone is starting to show real impact; students are increasingly challenged and therefore, the quality and quantity of work in students’ books are beginning to improve and show signs that their progress is accelerating.

I cannot stress enough how much we owe to the dedication of our teachers and support staff.  Last week, I  indicated that our staff are engaging voluntarily with additional training and development sessions in order to ensure their practice provides the best deal for your children.  I have this week, written to over 75 of our teachers who have engaged with our voluntary training sessions over the last few weeks, to thank them for their dedication and investment in the education of every child at Leeds West Academy.  In addition, over ten colleagues have attended a teaching and Learning conference at the weekend, investigating the work of other Schools and Academies from across the region, and bringing back the very best in cutting-edge practice to lessons at Leeds West Academy.  

Back in June when the new leadership team was formed at Leeds West Academy, we shared with students our commitment to giving them the very best standard of education.  We called this The Deal; a set of standards by which every adult would agree to live in their work across our Academy.  In return, we expect our students to arrive at school with a positive attitude, a willingness to give their very best effort to their work and to respond positively in their interactions with adults. 

The sole purpose of The Deal was to create a culture of mutual respect, in which every student can thrive.  This coincided with the launch of our new Positive Behaviour Policy, the principles of which are built on the creation of excellent relationships between adults and students.  The Quality Assurance observations completed this week and the engagement of our staff in voluntary training, gives a clear sign that our staff are well and truly engaged in the deal.  I am also very much encouraged by the overwhelming number of students in each year group who have stepped-up to uphold their part of The Deal and as we approach the end of the half-term, we are asking students to consider how they have upheld their side.

A new term provides another opportunity for us to turn over a new leaf and take the decision to make a positive change in our day-to-day work.  I ask that you discuss The Deal with your child over the half term break; ask them how they have met their terms and what they can do next term to maximise their potential.

The final three days of this half term are set to be very busy indeed, with lots of activities planned. Tuesday sees our first Performing Arts Specialism Drop-Down Day, where a visiting teacher from The Northern Ballet will work with our specialism students in Years 7 and 8 for the day. On Thursday this week, we will be holding our first round of Celebration Assemblies for each year group. These assemblies will review the fabulous work that has been completed over the last 7 weeks by our students. We will celebrate examples of brilliant work, outstanding effort, excellent attendance and students being role models in the area of active citizenship. Parents are invited to attend the Celebration Assembly for their child's year group and specific times will be published on our website and have been sent by text.  

I would like to take this opportunity to remind parents that Leeds West Academy will be closed for Staff Training on Friday 20 October.  Our plans for this day include a series of workshops targeted at improving our support for students with Special Education Needs, as well as further promoting Positive Behaviour, Strategic Seating and Interaction Plans, further developing our work on The Purple Zone and our use of questioning in lessons to promote rapid progress.  After this training, Leeds West Academy will close for the Half-Term break, reopening on Monday 30th October.

In closing, I would like to thank all of those who helped us to support the Yorkshire Ambulance Service for Restart a Heart Day on Monday. As you may have seen on television, social media, radio and in the local papers, Leeds West Academy was a busy northern hub for some life-saving CPR training for Year 7. It was a remarkable event where we all learnt about the importance of CPR and you can find out more information here.

I wish you all a very enjoyable week.

Yours faithfully,


Christian Wilcocks


 Download Leeds West Academy's Strategy for Rapid Improvement

 Download The Deal

 Download Leeds West Academy's Strategy for Communications


To download printer-friendly versions of Mr Wilcocks' letters, please visit Letters Home.


*The term ‘parent’ includes any person or body with parental responsibility such as a foster parent, carer, guardian or local authority.