Founding principal goes back to her roots to open new primary school in Leeds

The founding principal of a new £5m primary school that is set to be built in Yorkshire's biggest city is hoping to use her own experiences in education to prove that pupils from any background can achieve their goals.

Sarah Horsbrough, whose most recent appointment was as an executive head at two Bradford schools, is set to return to South Leeds, where she went to school, to launch Elements Primary School in September 2018.

The 420-place school, subject to planning approval and public consultation, will be located in Middleton on a currently undeveloped plot at Acre Mount.

The new school forms part of a wider £50m school building partnership programme between Wellspring Academy Trust and Leeds City Council as part of an effort to tackle a school places shortage in the city.

Miss Horsbrough, from Hunslet, stayed on an extra year at school to retake some of her O levels and knowing that she always wanted to go into teaching, she eventually became a teaching assistant at her old primary school, Hunslet St Mary’s, whilst completing her A-levels at night school. She then became a teacher at the school and a senior leader, before taking up a post as a deputy head in Bradford and working her way up to become a headteacher and then an executive head.

She said: “It was great to go back to my old school as a teacher, so to be going back to South Leeds is really exciting. I have been in Bradford for 10 years so the opportunity to go back to my roots is really very appealing to me.”

As the founding principal of a new school, Miss Horsbrough is looking forward to an “exciting challenge”, that will see her lead a purpose-built modern school.

She said: “It’s a rare opportunity in your career. It doesn’t happen very often. That was part of the appeal for me to take on this role.”

The school being part of the successful Wellspring Trust, was also a huge factor in Miss Horsbrough taking on the challenge.

And with a new school, comes a new ethos and the new principal is determined to show pupils that they can still make the grade, no matter where they come from.

She said: “It really pains me that when I speak to young people and children, they think because of where they are starting out it doesn’t mean them.

“I’m hoping that the message will be very clear that I’m living proof it doesn’t matter. It’s about what the school and the education is like.

“We have been doing a project at school which is around being proud to be from Bradford and I want children to be proud to come from Middleton. They should be able to believe they can achieve like everyone else.

“Pupils need to have the confidence to focus on their strengths.”

Elements is set to house the newest technologies that will inspire pupils and help to prepare them for 21st century careers.

Miss Horsborough said: “It’s really exciting. I think for parents looking for a new school - applications are open now - it’s a bit of a leap of faith when there isn’t a building yet and no history and background but that can be a positive thing.

“It’s a clean slate and we can create a school that’s exactly right for Middleton and the children who come to us. That opportunity doesn’t come around very often.”