Leeds West Academy


Rachel Smith 

Assistant Principal 

Rachel Smith graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA (Hons) in Geography before completing her PGCE in Secondary Geography Teaching. Once qualified, Rachel began her teaching career at Temple Moor High School in 2008. During her time at Temple Moor, Rachel worked for the Post 16 team, firstly as a Head of Year before taking on the role of Acting Head of Sixth Form. She then moved into the Teaching and Learning team where she coached staff, planned and delivered whole school CPD and ultimately progressed to become Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning.

Alongside her first years of teaching, Rachel completed her MA in Teaching at the University of Leeds in 2011. Graduating with a Distinction, she was then asked to lead seminars to subsequent cohorts of Masters students on cooperative learning and conducting high quality educational action research.

As a passionate geographer, Rachel moved to the White Rose Academies Trust for the opportunity to apply her teaching and learning experience to develop the Geography departments across the WRAT. Rachel then progressed to the role of Curriculum Leader for Humanities, MFL and Social Sciences at Leeds West Academy with the ambition to make the team the flagship of the academy. The success of the team was recognised as an example of best practice in external monitoring reviews.

In April 2018, Rachel took on the role of Assistant Principal for the Trust, with the remit of establishing a Trust-wide CPD offer. Launched in September 2018, the Trust CPD provides 8 programmes for colleagues, including leadership development, innovation and supporting our most vulnerable learners. This has provided the opportunities for collaboration across the Trust as staff share best practice and carry out action-research impact projects.

Away from work, Rachel is a keen runner and can often be found at a Parkrun on a Saturday morning. She is currently training for her first marathon.