School success after a decade in difficulty

A Leeds school that spent almost a decade in special measures is celebrating after being rated ‘Good’ in its latest Ofsted report.

Springwell Leeds Academy has undertaken an extraordinary journey under the stewardship of Wellspring Academy Trust since 2016, when it replaced its predecessor Elmete BSD Special School.

Wellspring Academy Trust, working together with Leeds City Council, has completely transformed education provision for some of the most vulnerable pupils in the city. Specialising in supporting children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, Springwell Leeds Academy now has three state-of-the-art buildings in three separate locations across the city, supporting almost 300 pupils.

The South site is located in Belle Isle on the site of the former Merlyn Rees High School, off Belle Isle Road.

Elmete BSD was inspected numerous times before it was taken over by the trust and was deemed to be in special measures for 10 years, bar a single nine-month period. As well as taking on Elmete BSD, Wellspring Aacdemy Trust also merged four other schools offering SEMH in Leeds to create one central school over three sites specialising in SEMH.

Executive Principal Scott Jacques explains:

“The provision in Leeds for children with additional needs was far from adequate, but the council had the foresight and ambition to rectify this. With the council’s willingness to invest £45m in new buildings, and our expertise in both turning around struggling schools and supporting pupils with SEMH, we have achieved something truly exceptional.

“Going from Special Measures to Good has taken hard work, dedication and lots of enthusiasm from the team. We recruited some amazing staff who are committed to the trust’s values of compassion and understanding, and we have supported them through extensive training. Now the children are reaping the rewards.”

The Ofsted report scores the school as ‘Good’ in all areas and highlights the school’s leaders as having ‘established a strong vision to promote pupils wellbeing and achievement’ and ‘demonstrated they can bring about improvement.’ The report also states that ‘pupils develop effective personal and social skills and achieve well’ and ‘they are prepared well for the next steps in their education and training.’

Wellspring Academy Trust manages 25 schools across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and believes in treating all pupils with ‘unconditional positive regard,’ ensuring that they are supported and valued throughout their school career.


This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of Wellspring Academy Trust

Photo: Scott Jacques, Executive Principal, outside Springwell Leeds Acdemy South