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Central Team

Yvonne Brown - Chief Executive Officer, Leading Learners


Yvonne has worked in the education sector for over 32 years, across eight local authorities. She has 21 years' experience of successful headship including executive headship across three schools. She was instrumental in setting up Leading Learners.

Before taking up the post of CEO, 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 North West and West Yorkshire and her expertise include: Curriculum design and its assessment; school improvement planning; creating a positive school culture; developing teams; and coaching and mentoring. Yvonne is passionate about improving the life chances of children and is keen to work with schools serving the most disadvantaged areas. 


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 is currently undertaking an MBA programme.  


Yvonne is extremely proud of Leading Learners and the unique family community that has grown and developed across the Trust. 

David Harrison - Executive Headteacher, Leading Learners 


David joined Woodside Academy, part of Leading Learners, as Deputy Headteacher in 2015. He became the Headteacher the following year and successfully navigated the school from “Requires Improvement” to “Good” in three years.


David is now Executive Headteacher within the Trust and supports the development of school leadership teams, as well as playing a central role, under the guidance of the CEO, in developing Trust systems, processes and strategy. David has a proven track record of developing staff teams to ensure that children 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.

Liam Knowles FCCA - Director of Finance & Operations


Liam joined the Trust in June 2020 having spent the previous eleven years working for large, complex housing groups with social, charitable and commercial entities. Before obtaining his first Finance Director position at the age of 32, Liam fulfilled a diverse number of financial disciplines and acquired skills in technical accounting, business partnering, internal audit and project management.


Liam is an advocate of continual professional development and has a track record of producing high-performing teams through his commitment to coach others to reach their full 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 using this to help develop staff across the Trust School’s.

Emma Metcalfe - Trust Assistant Principal

(SEND, inclusion, safeguarding, external agencies and families)


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 Practitioner

(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.

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