New principal’s vision for city centre free school

THE NEW HEAD TEACHER of what will be the country’s biggest free school has said its location on the edge of the city centre will help parents who work or live in the heart of Leeds.

Rebekah Taylor

Rebekah Taylor is the principal designate of the Ruth Gorse Academy, which opens later this year.

The new secondary school will initially be based on a separate building on the Morley Academy site but will move in 2016 to a £23.7m home in Black Bull Street. It will be Mrs Taylor’s first headship. She told The Yorkshire Post that the opportunity to a lead a new free school was too good an opportunity to miss.

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She is currently vice principal of the Farnley Academy, run by the Ruth Gorse Academies Trust, which is behind the plans for new free school.

She said: “I really love my job at Farnley. I have been a key part of the team which has seen this school become outstanding and I love it here but the opportunity at the Ruth Gorse Academy is the kind of thing which does not come along very often.”

The free school will take on pupils in year seven each year - eventually growing to 1,500 pupils making it the biggest of its kind in the country.

Mrs Taylor said she believed the school would attract pupils from South Leeds along with the children of parents working and living in the city centre and those who were attracted to it because of the success of academy trust’s two existing secondary schools.She said: “There are 39 secondary schools in Leeds and four are rated as being outstanding by Ofsted. Two of those are ours. Morley and Farnley Academies.” Mrs Taylor said the same ethos that has helped deliver success at these two schools would exist at the new Ruth Gorse Academy.”

She said the success was built on high expectations of all pupils regardless of their background and having lessons personalised to each student’s needs.