Leeds West Academy


Andrew Whitaker

Executive Principal - The White Rose Academies Trust

As Senior Vice Principal of the UK’s largest all-aged special school based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Andrew led all operational areas of the school including Post 16 provision. Throughout a transformative eight years he project managed a £25m BSF building programme, created a highly successful school improvement consultancy and played a key role in leading the school to its first Ofsted, which was judged outstanding in all areas.Andrew Whitaker enjoyed a ten year career in the University sector, including working as an Associate Senior Lecturer, before moving into the 3-18 education sector as a Senior Leader.

Following a highly successful period in the SEN education sector, Andrew began his first headship in January 2013 at Todmorden High School. Over a three and a half year period, he led the school from being the most at risk school in the local authority, to good with outstanding features in March 2015.

Other key milestones included transforming the school from the bottom 5% of performing schools nationally (2012) to the top 15% of schools (2016). This transformation also gained national recognition, when Todmorden High School was featured in the 2015-16 Parliamentary Review for Secondary education.  During the last eighteen months of his headship, Andrew also worked closely as a Senior Advisor to four other secondary schools in the area.

Andrew secured the role of Executive Principal at the White Rose Academies Trust in September 2016. From the outset, his ambitions have been made clear to his staff; all of the Trust’s schools will be Ofsted graded as outstanding within three years. This achievement will ensure that the academies will provide high quality education throughout the incredible communities they serve.

Andrew is the proud father of four school-aged children. Outside of work is trying, though failing currently, to return his physique to its peak when he was 21. Andrew is also a champion of lifelong and adult education, and ensures he undertakes high quality CPD on at least an annual basis; Andrew begins the SSAT Executive Headteacher programme in November 2016.