Changes to support and enhance the transformation of the White Rose Academies Trust

In a move to support and enhance the ongoing transformation of the White Rose Academies Trust, we are pleased to announce that Andrew Whitaker has moved from the role of Executive Principal to the newly formed role of Chief Executive Officer of the White Rose Academies Trust (effective from January 2020).

“We are delighted to have promoted Andrew to the role of CEO of the White Rose Academies Trust. Since he was appointed in September 2016, he has overseen the rapid transformation of our academies. Last year we were delighted that all were judged 'good' by Ofsted following the vision, strategy and hard work of Andrew and other people in the Trust. The reconfiguration of his role and other changes in leadership will enable the Trust to ensure all our academies become outstanding. This change will also enable the Trust to take on other schools in challenging parts of Leeds so they can benefit from what our Trust has to offer.”  Erica Hiorns, Vice Chair for the White Rose Academies Trust  Board 

Further to the above, we are also delighted to confirm the promotion of Christian Wilcocks, Principal of Leeds West Academy, to the position of Trust Associate Executive Principal and the promotion of Daniel Whieldon, Vice Principal at Leeds West Academy, to the brand new role of Head of School (both effective from February 2020).


Prior to joining the White Rose Academies Trust in June 2017, Christian, as a Deputy Headteacher at Todmorden High School, worked closely with Andrew Whitaker to transform learning and behaviour; taking the school from the bottom 5% of schools nationally, to the top 15% within a three-year period. In September 2014, Christian was appointed as Principal of Colne Valley High School, leading the school through a period of significant cultural change and improvement. Central to this promotion for Christian has been a drive to improve the quality of teaching and learning with demonstrable results. Under Christian Wilcocks leadership, Leeds West Academy received a ‘Good’ judgement following a Section 5 Ofsted Inspection in May 2019.


“The principal, senior and middle leaders have tackled the weaknesses identified at the school’s last inspection in a highly principled and purposeful way. They have secured the strong support of staff, who share their ambitious vision and inclusive values. As a result, the quality of education provided by Leeds West Academy has improved rapidly and is now good.” – Ofsted, May 2019


Towards the end of 2019, Chris received his designation as an LLE (Local Leader of Education) from the Exceed Academies Trust. Chris is currently undertaking an MBA in Educational Leadership, which will be awarded by the University of Cumbria.


In response to Christian’s new role, Andrew Whitaker, CEO, said “On behalf of the Trust Board I would like to congratulate Chris on his new appointment as Associate Executive Principal in the Trust central team. Christian is an immensely talented colleague whose ongoing contribution to the transformation of the Trust is significant. Personally, I am looking forward to working with Chris more closely.”


Commenting on his recent promotion, Chris said “I am delighted to have been appointed as Associate Executive Principal for the White Rose Academies Trust.  I am determined that my oversight of Leeds West Academy will continue to drive the highest of standards for each and every student, whilst working more widely in the Trust to deliver sustained school improvement across the Leeds area.“


Dan Whieldon has been appointed as Head of School at Leeds West Academy; following his graduation in English, Media and Cultural Studies at Staffordshire University, Dan moved back to Leeds in 2002 where he began his teaching career at West Leeds High School.  Dan’s previous roles in the education sector include Achievement Director for Key Stage 3, Assistant Principal for Teaching & Learning and also Director of Academy Effectiveness for Abbey MAT.

Mr Whieldon joined Leeds West Academy in January 2018 as Vice Principal and he has been pivotal in securing improved standards of education since his appointment.

“I feel incredibly privileged to take up the position of Head of School at Leeds West Academy to continue with the exceptional work, which began three years ago, of the staff and leadership team, in transforming the lives of our young people.

Our students, staff and parents can be reassured that I will continue to work with the support of Mr Wilcocks, to continue the relentless drive and ambition for Leeds West Academy to become an outstanding academy, providing our students with the exceptional character, ambition and outcomes they need to have successful lives with no limits.” Dan Whieldon, Head of School


We hope you will join us in congratulating these colleagues as they transition into their new roles. 

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