New Leeds free school is ‘outstanding’

Sir John Townsley
Sir John Townsley
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A free school in Leeds which opened in 2014 at a cost of £25m has been rated outstanding in all areas in its first Ofsted inspection report.

The Ruth Gorse Academy, which by 2019 will be the biggest free school in the country, has been acknowledged for 
its “excellent” leadership team and pupils’ attitudes to learning.

“The exceptionally skilful principal and her leadership team ensure that the school’s philosophy of high expectations, high aspirations and a personalised approach has top priority,” inspectors said.

“Pupils’ attitudes to learning are superb. They work hard because they want to do well.”

The school, on Black Bull Street, has 800 pupils but hopes to grow over coming years to accommodate more than 1,200 students.

Inspectors visited the site in July, meeting with pupils, parents, and governors, as well as observing lessons. The report was published by Ofsted on Thursday.

Sir John Townsley, executive principal of the Gorse Academies Trust, said: “We are proud to have played a part in transforming the educational opportunities available to secondary age children in the centre of Leeds. For far too long, pupils of secondary age who live in Leeds city centre have had access to a standard of education which all too often has fallen well below that which they need to have a chance of securing a great job or a place at a top university. This has now changed and we expect The Ruth Gorse Academy to continue to act as a driver of social reform and mobility in our city.

“I would want to pay a particular tribute to our brilliant outgoing Principal Rebekah Taylor and to say just how excited we are to have with us as our new Principal Liam Nolan who is already showing himself to be an exceptional leader.”

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