Springwell Leeds Academy

Meet our Leadership Team

  Scott Jacques  –  Executive Principal

Scott has experience of teaching and senior leadership in Primary, Secondary and Special education as well as ten years work in school improvement with Leeds City Council. He was seconded to work as a Primary Teacher Adviser for the LA and later as a Secondary Consultant within the National Strategies team, working with a wide range of schools on securing improvement and developing and implementing strategy. Scott worked for five years  as an Adviser with the Local Authority in Leeds, creating, developing and implementing eLearning strategy and supporting school improvement. Scott also worked with DFE, QCA and National Strategies on development of training and materials at a national level.

Scott was Head of School at an outstanding special school, before joining the Wellspring Trust as an executive leader working at the Forest Academy in Barnsley. He spent two years as Executive Principal of Phoenix Park and Sevenhills Academies in Grimsby before joining Springwell Leeds Academy shortly before it opened in 2016. Scott is a member of the Advisory Board of the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.


  Steve Tighe – Executive Vice Principal

Steve started his career as a PE teacher in Barnsley before moving into pastoral leadership roles in a range of secondary environments in Barnsley, Leeds, Knaresborough and most recently in a successful Academy in Bradford as a Senior Vice Principal. In his last role he led the Academy to an outstanding judgement in Behaviour and Safety. Whilst a senior leader he has taken on a range of differing responsibilities such as CPD, training school, teaching and learning. However, he has always felt most passionate about student care, welfare and aspiring students to achieve which it is always that role to which he has returned.

He is currently working on the Leeds project, leading improvements in the special school and PRU provision in the city. In addition, he is assisting Scott in establishing the SEMH ‘fresh start’ provision as well as the three new academy builds which we will be moving into during 2018.


  Paul Carney – Associate Principal (Stonegate Site and Springwell Leeds North from September 2018)

Paul is an experienced school leader who has worked within Specialist Education provisions for over a decade. Paul was instrumental in turning around the Key Stage 4 Pupil Referral Unit in Leeds and went on to be Deputy Headteacher at Benton Park School before returning to work for the Wellspring Academy Trust as Associate Principal.

Paul has a keen interest in behaviour and how to use curriculum, pedagogy and holistic therapeutic inputs to help children and young people re-engage in education. He is a strong believer in needs-led provision and ensuring that the young people at the heart of the schools systems and processes.


  Shona Crichton – Associate Principal  (Springwell Leeds East)

Shona Crichton has worked within inclusive inner city schools for 16 years in many different roles. She has a keen interest in developing teaching and learning for all students and had developed strategies to turn failing schools around.

Shona works with Leeds Beckett university on a research associate scheme on investigation parent engagement and the impact this has on student outcomes. This work has developed whole school strategies to inform how we work with families and the community. She has recently contributed to a book called “The working class” which is due to be published by independent thinking in November 2017.

  Yvonne Griffin – Associate Principal (Springwell Leeds Primary – Oakwood)

Yvonne qualified as a teacher in Bradford, 1998. Since then, she has led in various schools and provided platforms where all children have opportunities to showcase their talents. Yvonne has found seeing past pupils on the X Factor live shows and working in the creative arts industry incredibly inspiring. She is now proud and privileged to join the Springwell Leeds Academy.
Yvonne is passionate about the arts and creative learning and is looking forward to developing this in the Springwell Leeds Oakwood Primary setting. Yvonne is eager to facilitate opportunities in an environment where the children can shine.

Every day is different in the role as Associate Principal and it is never boring!  Yvonne loves leading the school and challenging and supporting staff and children to be the best they can be. We have a great team of teachers and support staff at Oakwood who go above and beyond to provide a nurturing and inspirational climate in which they can achieve.  More than anything though, it is the success of every child in this school that makes Yvonne’s job as Associate Principal such a rewarding one. She will always go above and beyond to get to know every child and ensure their needs and interests are met fully.

And finally, when Yvonne is not at school… She enjoys playing piano, amateur dramatics and spending time with her family, especially their recent addition – her beautiful baby niece Caoimhe (pronounced kieva.)


  Sarah Storer – Acting Associate Principal (Burley Park Site)

Sarah is entering her  25th year working in education – 20 of those in mainstream settings at middle leadership and senior leadership level and for the last 5 years working in Special Education at Senior Leadership level – initially at Springwell Learning Community in Barnsley and now, for the past 17 months at Springwell Leeds Academy.
Her approach is extremely child –centred. Sarah has always achieved the best outcomes for children by understanding their needs and by working closely with families and partner agencies to ensure that the aspirations for success are high and by adopting a solution-focussed approach. Sarah has led many successful teams and is extremely excited about the opportunity in Leeds to help to deliver a quality education for children with SEMH needs in world class facilities.


  Mary Mercer  –  Executive SENCo

After completing her teacher training in Merseyside, Mary began a teaching career in the metropolitan county, this spanned over 25 years across a number of schools and included close professional contact with multiple specialist schools and service providers.

Mary’s career has always been centred around supporting the very best outcomes for the pupils and families that live with the day-to-day impact of learning challenges. As a former SENCo and middle leader in mainstream education and senior governor of a specialist school in Southport, Mary learned to the fullest what it was to be a champion, voice and advocate for children with SEN.

Mary has a wealth of experience in working with SEN at all levels. This includes, specialist knowledge of Autism, Developmental Learning Delay, nurture provision, standardized assessments/profiling as well as delivering training programmes to staff and professionals in this area of education.

Mary is the mother of a 17 year old girl with PMLD who attends specialist provision. She knows first hand the reality of living and caring for a vulnerable child but is forever grateful for the amazing blessings that she brings to every possible aspect of her life.



  Shazia Bashir – Strategic Business Manager

Shazia has been working in Education for the past 14 years, in an executive school leader position. She worked for a large MAT and supported the finance & operations of 17 academies. She went on to support the development of newly created small MAT’s.

Shazia has a strong understanding in school management and developing systems to create efficiencies throughout the Academy. Shazia is currently working on the Leeds project, which is shaping and improving the provision for students with SEMH. She is working in collaboration with the Executive Team and the Trust in establishing the provision of 3 new sites for Springwell.