Here you can find out about our Academy Leadership Team (ALT). They have plenty of expertise and experience to help our young people reach their full potential and enjoy their time at the academy.

Natalie Jones

Natalie joined Co-op Academy Leeds as Vice Principal in September 2020, initially to lead on culture, ethos and aspiration and later on curriculum and Quality of Education.  Natalie was appointed Head of School in October 2021 and is incredibly proud to lead the academy and work with our fantastic students every day. 

As an experienced senior leader and former Head of English, Natalie has worked on a range of school to school support projects and has led action research across several teaching schools. Natalie enjoyed working as an SLE for several years, delivering coaching and training to staff in a variety of settings and contexts.

Natalie has worked in a range of challenging contexts across West Yorkshire throughout her career and is passionate about challenging underachievement and establishing world class education for students of all backgrounds. Natalie is a passionate believer in the transformational power of education and literacy and is excited to share this passion with the staff and students of Co-op Academy Leeds.

Full Name Natalie Jones
Title Principal
Date Appointment 11/10/2021
Category of Governor Ex Officio
Sub-committees Finance and Resources
Jess Field

Jess joined our team last year as Assistant Vice Principal with responsibility for Teaching and Learning and was recently appointed as Vice Principal with responsibility for Quality of Education. She is an enthusiastic, experienced school leader who has spent many years’ developing teachers, from early career teachers to educational leaders, supporting them to learn and grow as professionals. She is committed to improving the quality of education within schools and has done so at a departmental, whole school, trust and authority level.

A passionate learner herself she looks to up to date educational research and evidence to continually improve practice, as well as tapping into a schools collective wealth of experience to initiate positive change.

She has a broad range of experience in school improvement, in challenging contexts, as a teacher, a leader and a school governor and is incredibly excited about joining the team and looks forward to working with this rich and diverse community.

Full Name Jess Field
Title Vice Principal
Marcus Philpott

Marcus has recently joined Co-op Academy Leeds as Assistant Principal to lead on Inclusion and Student Support. As an experienced senior leader at an inner-city school in Bradford, he has led on a wide variety of areas including safeguarding and student welfare, Teaching & Learning and Post-16. 

Marcus has returned to work in Leeds having previously been a Head of PE at another high school in the east of the city. He is passionate about challenging social and educational disadvantage to open the doors for young people to have ambitious life choices. Marcus is driven by this moral purpose to ensure that staff work together with students and their families to deliver this.

Full Name Marcus Philpott
Robin Buckley

Robin has had over 15 years’ experience of working in a range of different settings. Leading on a number of different initiatives including; innovation, intervention, standards and most recently behaviour and attendance.

Robin has shown considerable impact in a number of areas, improving opportunities for pupils in some of the most deprived areas of the UK. His expertise in data tracking and analysis has guided intervention and secured greater success for pupils at all levels.

Robin encourages colleagues and pupils to contribute effectively to the decision-making processes within schools and believes this is the key to creating a successful learning and working environment. He is passionate about education and developing pupils in order to maximise achievement and improve life opportunities for each and every child.

Full Name Robin Buckley
Title Senior Leader
Paula Baigent

Paula has taught in inner-city schools for the majority of her teaching career and has successfully led teams at both middle and senior level. She is a successful senior leader who has considerable experience of leading school improvement in a range of areas.

Paula has joined schools at key transitional times in their journey and has contributed towards successful outcomes for each. She has an inclusive ethos and is passionate about ensuring that every child can fulfil their full potential by raising their aspirations and self-belief.

Paula is currently leading the pupil premium strategy and the year 7 catch up strategy across the academy. She is launching an extended curriculum where enrichment activities will increase the cultural capital and aspirations of the academy’s young people.

Full Name Paula Baigent
Title Senior Leader
Nisha Desai

Nisha is an experienced member of the leadership team with a wealth of teaching and leadership experience in a range of schools. She has been working in this local community for 18 years and is committed to improving the life chances of students who attend our academy. 

She is currently leading the CEAIG and intervention programmes within school; both these areas are fundamental to helping  students reach their next steps of employment or education. Having served this locality for many years, Nisha has a very good understanding of the challenges that our students face and with this in mind, the importance of having high aspirations.

She has successfully led middle and senior teams and now contributes to the leadership training for middle leaders for Co-op Academies Trust.

Full Name Nisha Desai
Title Senior Leader
David Stead

David joined us in 2019 and has over 15 years of experience in education working in some of the most deprived areas in the region. Having been a Head of Department for the majority of his career, David has a passion for instilling outstanding behaviour and pastoral care and has taken on the roles of Head of Year, Professional Lead for Pastoral Care and Behaviour and Associate Assistant Principal, behaviour for learning.

David has a drive for school improvement and has played a part in working at a school in Wakefield that gained three consecutive outstanding judgements by Ofsted, despite been in one of the most challenging, deprived parts of the city. David’s expertise lies in planning, implementing and maintaining a behaviour system that is very much based around choices and consequences and firmly believes that rewarding students for doing the right thing is a key part of instilling outstanding behaviour.

David is passionate about improving the life chances of young people and establishing a high quality education for all, no matter what their starting point is and creating well rounded individuals who will thrive in society when they eventually leave school.

Full Name David Stead
Tonya Piton

Tonya has recently joined Co-op Academy Leeds as Associate Assistant Principal to lead on raising the achievement in Mathematics and develop Numeracy. As an experienced middle leader, Tonya has also worked in a range of schools leading on implementing strategic interventions to develop Maths departments, raising students’ outcomes and developing the teaching and learning of colleagues new to teaching. This passion for developing teachers has offered her the privilege of working with a wide variety of colleagues in a range of contexts.

Tonya has worked in a range of high-thriving educational settings during her career and is committed to ensuring all students are provided with the tools to enable them to excel in an ever demanding world. Tonya is fluent at embedding high expectations, challenging underachievement and establishing world class education for students of all backgrounds. To this end, Tonya will be working strategically to develop the assessment and ‘reporting to parents’ systems at the academy. Tonya is a strong believer that consistent outstanding education is the open door, giving students, regardless of their needs, the gift of choice to pursue their dreams and future endeavours.

Full Name Tonya Piton
Sharleen Shaw

Sharleen has worked in various schools across Yorkshire as a music teacher and Leader of the Arts. With over 14 years experience as a successful teacher and leader she has sought to develop student leadership, critical thinking and teamwork through leading various whole school initiatives, events and projects.

Sharleen’s core aim is to develop each student’s aspirations, individuality, enthusiasm for learning and a desire to achieve within a strong moral framework, using enrichment opportunities as the stimulus to empower and provide students with the self-belief that they can succeed throughout school and beyond.

Sharleen’s current role of Associate Assistant Principal – Wider Curriculum involves leading the enrichment programme across school, leading and managing  events,  ensuring positive promotion, celebration, communication with our parents and local community,  working with specialists within our community and beyond.  Enabling us to build positive relationships with our parents, and celebrate our diverse community.

Outside of school life Sharleen’s passion for the arts continues to be reflected in her ongoing participation as a member of both a musical theatre group, and a renowned female a-cappella chorus.

Full Name Sharleen Shaw
Ali Lister

Ali has been teaching for 26 years and has led departments and initiatives across a range of education providers, including post-16 education and an international school. She is a successful and experienced leader who has ensured impact not only within her subject specialism of English, but across the curriculum.

Ali is devoted to encouraging a deep-rooted love of learning through literacy and advocates for inclusivity at all levels: reading initiatives are central to making the most of education, for pleasure, for progress and for productivity. Ali is passionate about the empowering aspect of oracy and spearheads oracy strategies across the whole academy. In addition, she is enthusiastic about ensuring that parents/carers and  the local community are kept abreast of news and activities within the academy through social media channels to ensure positive promotion, information and celebration.

Full Name Ali Lister
John Cafferky

John joined the academy in 2020. He has a proven track record of success as a middle leader and head of year. He has led on curriculum design and assessment, alternative provision, home learning, KS4 options and vocational qualification quality assurance. John has also helped to support many fellow professionals in developing best practice.

He is passionate about raising standards and improving the life chances for all at the academy. He places great value on high expectations, consistency and building positive relationships with all.

John is currently leading our wider ‘engage’ curriculum offer. This is a project that aims to inspire students to look beyond their current sphere of experience, raise aspirations and create opportunities for students to succeed and develop confidence in a variety of settings. He continues to lead the PE department, act as Quality Nominee and is currently studying for a MSc Educational Leadership and Management.

Full Name John Cafferky
Lauren Whyte

Lauren Whyte, a qualified Youth Worker,  spent 11 years working in Leeds Youth Services in Inner City Leeds Area, ending her youth work career as a Youth Work Manager. Lauren worked in multi agency settings and hubs across the city delivering youth work services and curriculum alongside other children’s services and voluntary agencies. She has developed a passion for youth arts, voice, Influence, participation and engagement of young people in their services.

Lauren then spent 4 years working in the Integrated Safeguarding Unit in the Education and early years safeguarding Team as a Child protection Training and Support Officer for early Years and Education. During this time she gained an NSPCC accreditation in Child Protection Training.

Lauren then spent 2 years as the Deputy DSL at Leeds City College as the Safeguarding and Wellbeing Team Leader for adults and young people overseeing ,managing the Stay Safe Team of full time safeguarding officers over 13 campuses and 64 designated staff.

Full Name Lauren Whyte