Why the city's newest secondary, Trinity Academy Leeds, is like "a private school without the fees"

From Latin to boxing, gymnastics and French - all 240 pupils at Trinity Academy Leeds take part in activities that are added on to the curriculum and are part of the set school day.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 4:45 pm

While the brand new secondary school might be set in one of the most deprived parts of the city - it has adopted a private school model of education.

Students have a 25 hour week and study, as expected, Maths, English, Science, Spanish, Geography, History, Personal Development, Art, Drama, Music, Design Technology, Computing and PE - but there is a host of co-curricular modules designed to make sure that all students, of all abilities, interests and flair have something that is their own and that they enjoy.

In addition there are cross-country sessions, netball with former player and coach Anna Carter, rowing, a careers programme that isn't "just having a conversation about what you want to be" but brings in industry experts to school five times a year, hockey with an ex-Scottish international, half an hour each day dedicated to quality reading, free music tuition, parent's evening performances and visits from real role models - one of the most recent was Leeds born former star of The Apprentice Sian Gabbidon who won the 2018 series and has recently signed a seven figure deal for clothing with Asda.

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He said: "It is a private school without the fees. The deal they are getting is phenomenal. I can't tell you how receptive parents have been. As a body of staff we are not here saying 'look what we are doing for Burmantofts and going back to Alwoodley and saying how good we are'. We want to do it."

The offer at Trinity Academy Leeds, and increasingly other schools too, is systematic of a "step-change" in education which is a departure from just getting students to pass five GCSEs.

Principal Kat Cafferky explains: "We have had a change in terms of standards of what we expect from young people and what we give them back. We want them to be successful but to live lives well led.

YEP reporter, Emma Ryan, joins the newspaper club which is one of several co-curricular offers at Trinity Academy Leeds.

"It is not easy to close the gap, especially where they are coming in with barriers where in other areas they are not, but it is about getting the culture right and ethos that 'anything is possible'. They can walk into any career or industry and stand shoulder to shoulder with peers from more affluent areas. They have a voice that can be heard.

"It is a tough gig but the best job in the world. It is actually making a difference to young lives and doing it where it matters the most."

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