Meet our Team
Yvonne Brown - Chief Executive Officer
Yvonne has worked in the education sector for over 34 years, across eight local authorities. She is passionate about improving the life chances of all children and ensures that the schools she works with share the Trust values. Yvonne firmly believes that schools should be magical places for children, where they can learn and explore in safe, creative environments. She has promoted an inclusive culture across Leading Learners and is delighted to be the CEO of such a caring organisation, that puts children first.
Before taking up the post of CEO in April 2016, Yvonne had 21 years' experience of successful headship, including executive headship across three schools. She was Headteacher at Tyldesley Primary School and led it to an outstanding Ofsted judgement in 2010. She has a proven track record of improving primary schools across the Northwest and West Yorkshire and her expertise includes: leadership development, strategic planning, curriculum design; developing teams; and coaching and mentoring.
Yvonne is committed to the professional development of the whole workforce and has successfully developed staff, leading to many being promoted within the Trust. She is keen to continue her own learning journey and has recently graduated from Buckingham University, gaining an MBA, with distinction in Educational Management.
Yvonne is extremely proud of Leading Learners and the unique family community that has grown, and is continuing to grow, across the Trust.
David Harrison - Director of Education
David is Director of Education within the Trust, playing a central role, under the guidance of the CEO, in developing Trust systems, processes and strategy. David works closely with the Trust Central Team and School Leadership Teams in supporting all of our schools to work together to ensure that children and staff get access to the opportunities, knowledge and skills to succeed. He is passionate about strategic school improvement and strongly advocates for a school improvement approach that places excellent outcomes alongside inclusivity.
David has been with the organisation since 2015 and has extensive experience as a headteacher, executive headteacher and school improvement partner for schools across Yorkshire and the North West. He has completed the NPQEL and is a trained Ofsted Inspector.
Liam Knowles FCCA - Chief Finance and Operations Officer
Liam joined the Trust in June 2020 following eleven years working within complex social, charitable and commercial organisations. He has been integral in improving and modernising workflows and reporting processes across the Trust, developing existing systems and implementing new ones where required. Liam is also responsible for overseeing strategic works on the Trusts estate- making improvements, ensuring its safety, and moving towards net zero carbon emissions.
Liam is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and has a diverse range of skills acquired in roles within accounting, finance business partnering, internal audit and project management before taking on his first Finance Director role in 2019. He is an advocate of continual professional development and producing high-performing teams through his commitment to coaching others to realise their potential.
Sonia Green - Head of Finance and Operations
Sonia has worked at Worth Valley Primary School since September 2008 and has been with Leading Learners since the start of their journey as a Multi Academy Trust. She has recently taken on a new role within the organisation as Head of Finance and Operations. With the qualifications, training and knowledge Sonia has gained over the past 12 years, she is looking forward to using this to help develop staff across the Trust School’s.
Nicky Kilvington - Director of School Improvement - Yorkshire Hub
Nicky joined Leading Learners in July 2023 when Carrwood Primary School, where she was Executive Head, joined the trust. She has worked within the education sector for 27 years and has 15 years of headship experience, the last six years have been within a Primary Federation. Prior to becoming a Head Nicky was a Primary Strategy Literacy Consultant and Deputy Head in a large three form entry school.
Throughout her headships Nicky has supported other schools across the district through her role as Area Headteacher Lead for the Bradford Primary and Improvement Partnership supporting schools across Bradford South and also as an Assessment lead within the same partnership, developing assessment materials for all schools to use data effectively.
Nicky has a proven track record of school improvement taking a previous school from satisfactory to good and in her most recent role taking the most deprived school in the district which had three RI judgements to good. She has experience of developing a positive school culture, working with schools in challenging situations and areas of deprivation, engaging with the community and developing strong parental relationships. She is committed to ensuring that each and every child gets the best education possible within a positive school experience.
Emma Metcalfe - Trust Lead for Inclusion and Safeguarding
Emma initially joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2010. She has worked in multiple teaching and leadership roles, gaining considerable experience and strength in the fields of SEND and Safeguarding.
As an experienced SENDCO and DSL, Emma’s driving motivation is to ensure that the most vulnerable children in our schools get the very best that Leading Learners has to offer. Whilst being the designated teacher for Children Looked After, Emma oversaw the largest number of CLA’s of any primary school in Bradford. She is passionate about Attachment Awareness and Trauma Informed practice and is accredited as a national lead in this field. Emma works closely with external professionals and families and is committed to the development of SENDCO's, inclusion leads, safeguarding leads and wider staff teams, to ensure that the most vulnerable children in schools get the support, opportunity and best practice that they deserve.
Sarah Keinhorst - Trust Lead for Teaching and Learning
Sarah joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2014 when she completed the Teach First training programme. Sarah is an experienced teacher who has taught across the primary age range in a number of schools, consistently demonstrating high expectations and outstanding practice. Sarah is passionate about tackling educational and social inequality and engages regularly with the Teach First ambassador community in order to share innovative and exciting education initiatives. Sarah is committed to supporting new teachers to raise the quality of teaching and learning so that all children can benefit from a high-quality education.
Hollie Bowden - Marketing and Communications Officer
Ceinwen Lodge - Headteacher, Worth Valley Primary School
Ceinwen joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2007. She taught and led across the school, specialising in Key Stage 2 before becoming Assistant Principal. The Trust promoted Ceinwen to become Headteacher of Worth Valley Primary School in September 2018 and she successfully navigated the school from “Requires Improvement” to “Good”.
Ceinwen has ambitious plans for the school and is determined to lead it to become the outstanding school she knows it should be. She is passionate about providing children with a rich, diverse and high-quality education, driven by excellent quality first teaching. Ceinwen believes in children as individuals and that the key to success is harnessing the individual child's interests, passions and strengths. She has transformed the community perception of Worth Valley by working together, in partnership, to ensure the importance of education is understood by the whole school community.
Gary Stott - Headteacher, Reevy Hill Primary School
Gary joined Reevy Hill, part of Leading Learners, as the Deputy Headteacher in January 2016. He initially led on teaching and learning across the school while teaching in Year 6, before taking on the strategic leadership of the school's curriculum offer and becoming the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Gary was a key part of the senior leadership team that drove the school from “Requires Improvement” to “Good” in three years.
Gary took over the Headship at Reevy Hill in June 2020. He values forming positive working relationships with Trust senior leaders and Governors, as well as the school staff team, children and parents/carers in order to improve outcomes for children. Gary is passionate about providing children with opportunities to become proud of who they are and to be the best they can be through their experiences at Reevy Hill.
Kirsty Porter - Headteacher, Woodside Academy
Kirsty joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2009 and has worked across multiple teaching and leadership roles during her time with the Trust. Kirsty's expertise is most prevalent in her leadership of teaching and learning. Her proven track record of success in teaching and leadership across all phases, combined with her passion for developing highly effective staff teams, has led her to be the Headteacher of Woodside Academy as part of the Leading Learners family.
Kirsty is passionate about improving outcomes through ensuring excellence in quality first teaching, behaviours for learning and offering highly effective support for the vulnerable and those with additional needs. Kirsty is a keen advocate of the power of early reading in order to improve life chances for children during their education and beyond.
Janet Shorrock – Headteacher – Tyldesley Primary School
Janet has worked at Tyldesley Primary School, part of Leading Learners, for over 15 years. She has a long track record of school improvement and is passionate about inclusion.
Janet believes that being part of a Trust really makes the difference to school improvement, bringing more than just a partnership between schools: It means that improvements are long term and senior leaders really invest in each other and the schools they work with.
Nicola Malt – Headteacher – Carrwood Primary School
Nicola joined Carrwood Primary School, part of Leading Learners, in 2016, where she specialised in Early Years before becoming Assistant Headteacher. Nicola began her Headship in January 2023 and was a key part of the team who navigated the school from “Requires Improvement” to “Good”.
Nicola believes all children at Carrwood can ‘dream big’ and is determined all children will receive an experience rich and high-quality curriculum, linked strongly with a love of reading. Nicola has led on a number of school improvement initiatives and ensures the children are at the heart of every decision made. She is also passionate about school and families working together in partnership to ensure the best outcomes are achieved for every child, regardless of their starting points.
Catherine O'Neill Edwards - Headteacher - Mendell Primary School
Laura Brogan - Trust Phonics Champion
Laura joined Reevy Hill, part of Leading Learners, in September 2018. She has taught across Key Stage 1 and led across school, specialising in Phonics and Early Reading. Laura initially implemented and championed a new Phonics scheme at Reevy Hill which resulted in an increase in Phonics attainment, with children making accelerated progress. Laura now leads Phonics across the Trust and is passionate about supporting leaders by building inspiration and helping colleagues overcome challenges. Above all, Laura aims to improve outcomes so that all children develop a love of reading and have the skills to become successful readers.
Sophie Parker - Trust Geography Champion
Sophie joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2017. Sophie has taught across school, leading on Geography, English in KS2 and is the UKS2 phase leader. The Trust appointed Sophie as Geography Curriculum Champion after achieving the Bronze Geography Mark for Woodside in 2020. Sophie is committed to improving the quality and consistency of teaching and learning across the Trust. As part of her role, Sophie has supported teachers with planning and professional development so that the children have a high-quality curriculum that inspires curiosity, fascination and a general love of learning.
Ana Priestley - Trust Foreign Languages Champion
Ana joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, in 2011. Ana started working at Worth Valley Primary, also part of Leading Learners, in 2018. Ana is an experienced teacher who has taught Foreign Languages across the Secondary (KS3 and KS4) and Primary (KS1 and KS2) age range. She has worked in a number of schools, constantly demonstrating high expectations and outstanding practice. Ana is passionate about languages. As a native Spanish speaker, she is committed to supporting new and experience primary teachers to raise the quality of teaching languages so that all children can benefit from a high standard of education. Ana believes that we are living in an increasingly globalised world and that it is very important to awaken children's interests in other people and cultures, beside the cognitive advantages that learning a foreign language brings.
Julie Batey - Trust PSHE Champion
Julie joined Worth Valley in September 2014. She has been teaching since 1998 and has experience of EYFS and KS1 and moved to Year 3 in 2019. She has led PSHE and RE and became the first school in Yorkshire to gain the Peace Mala accreditation which involved working with parents and the wider community to accept the growing and changing cultural differences in the area. Julie now leads PSHE across the Trust and is passionate about creating a stimulating learning ethos, characterised by empathy, mutual support, resilience, relevance, children reaching their full potential and inclusion of all pupils. She believes that life doesn’t happen in topics, it happens in moments and we need to ensure that we are preparing our children and staff for those moments!
Caroline Oram - Trust Art and Design Champion
Caroline has been an Early Years teacher for twenty years, predominantly working across Bradford and Keighley. Caroline had has always had a special interest in Art, ever since she studied Art as her specialism, alongisde Education at University. Caroline's creative interests extend into being a keen photographer and visiting galleries and exhibitions in her spare time. As a teacher, Caroline is particularly interested in the skills and processes of creating art and uses that expertise to ensure that schools develop an effective and exciting, skills based, Art curriculum.
Steph Metcalfe - Trust Early Years Champion
Steph has over 20 years of Early Years experience across a range of settings, having held positions in schools such as nursery manager, EYFS lead, and has been an advisory teacher across the Manchester authority. Steph has worked with schools across a range of authorities including Blackburn, Staffordshire, Wigan, Cheshire, Liverpool, Bradford and Manchester. Steph is passionate about the environment that our youngest children work within and have done much research into this, including a study trip to Bologna and being involved in the publication of the book, 'Places + children = learning'. Watching the spark in young children excites her, and using this to ensure our youngest children achieve their true potential, which in turn raises standards, is her motivator.
Eve Pinder - Trust Science Champion
Eve joined Reevy Hill, part of Leading Learners, in 2017. She has taught across school, leading Science and was appointed the Trust Curriculum Champion in 2021. She has a keen interest in Science and is passionate about improving the delivery of the Curriculum and increasing the enrichment opportunities for children across the Trust. She believes that working collaboratively with other leaders is the most effective way to drive the subject forward, ultimately inspiring the children’s love and curiosity of Science.
Penny Ratcliffe - Trust Mathematics Champion
Penny joined Reevy Hill, part of Leading Learners, as a class teacher in September 2015. With over 20 years of classroom experience as a teacher, Penny has worked across both key stages within many schools and has been a maths subject leader for over 15 years. Currently, Penny is the Deputy Headteacher at Woodside Academy and leads on curriculum development within her school. Penny has a passion for maths and ensuring that children are given the essential life skills that they need to be numerate now and beyond primary school into the next stage of their education journey. Penny sees maths as just a complex system that can be broken down into very simple, logical parts that can be easily understood by children given the right experiences and challenges. As part of her role, Penny leads on ensuring children across the Trust schools are given high quality, engaging experiences and challenges to help them navigate mathematics at their level.
Lil Curr - Trust Computing Champion
Lil has worked across the Trust, previously at Worth Valley Primary and currently at Reevy Hill Primary, teaching and leading computing at both schools. The provision of an effective online safety curriculum is very important to Lil due to it permeating all aspects of life. She prides herself in working to ensure that children have the knowledge to keep themselves safe online and how to make correct decisions should something worry them online. Lil enjoys the pleasure children get when they can make a film or plan and produce their own video games. She hopes that the computing she teaches will stay with the children in the trust for years to come. Lil is proud to be the Leading Learners Trust Computing Champion and enjoys sharing her skills and expertise with other staff from the Trust schools
Salma Riaz - Trust Religious Education Champion
Salma joined Reevy Hill in September 2017.. She is currently the Geography Lead in school as well as the RE Champion for the Trust. Salma is committed to supporting teaching staff to ensure the highest quality of both teaching and learning is established across the Trust. Within her role, she supports in planning and resourcing engaging lessons to establish a love for learning for all pupils. She is aware of the challenges in society today and is passionate about ensuring that all pupils are tooled with the awareness of diversity and identity. Salma is keen to make sure children have the Cultural Capital experiences which will open the hearts and minds of all our children within the Trust.