TV teacher’s new job at Leeds school

Jonny Mitchell the new headteacher at the Co-Operative Academy Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme
Jonny Mitchell the new headteacher at the Co-Operative Academy Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme
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A familiar face has taken the helm at a secondary school in Leeds which begins to welcome pupils back this week.

Jonny Mitchell will begin the new term as headteacher at The Co-operative Academy of Leeds (CAL) in east Leeds after previously holding the top job at Thornhill Community Academy where he became one of the stars of Channel Four’s Educating Yorkshire series.

He told the YEP he still gets recognised out and about - particularly when he’s with fellow teachers Mr Burton and Mr Steer - but hopes to use his public profile to CAL’s advantage.

He said he’s left the school in “brilliant” hands with his successor and added: “Hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy even more success helping the Co-Op become a much better school.”

Mr Mitchell said he recognises the “safe haven” schools can provide for pupils living in vulnerable communities, such as CAL and said: “I still get up in the morning, four years down the line, raring to go to work and wanting to change young people’s lives.”

He believes the challenges CAL faces will be largely the same as most schools - the focus on attainment and consistently raising achievements - as well as making sure pupils are engaged.

“It’s in quite a disadvantaged area generally. We have to make sure we are making that playing field as level as possible for them when applying for college places or jobs or university.”

Having seen many new starters join high school during his teaching career, Mr Mitchell had some words of advice for new year seven pupils: “My advice would be to come to school and be polite and get on with your work.

Work with us rather than against us. Give it your best shot, make friends as quickly as possible - make the right fiends, get in the right clique - and be respectful and work hard.”

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School with just one pupil set to close