National Support School

Welcome to St Mary’s. We are a newly designated National Support School since Spring 2018, having gained accreditation from the National College for Teaching & Leadership in May 2015. Our national support school is led by a National Leader of Education. We are committed to providing outstanding support, excellent training and a range of development opportunities to new and experienced school staff leading to improvements in pupil outcomes. It is our mission to assist schools in raising standards by developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system. Our mission is to serve, and provide improvements beyond our own schools to improve outcomes for pupils wherever we touch.

Please take a look at our website to see if you wish to work with us. If you require support or require further information on any of our key areas of work please contact our business manager Ms Helen MacPherson on 013 2828182, who will be more than happy to assist. Thank you for visiting us. Miss Leonard (BA Hons + QTS NPQH NLE) NLE.



I am currently head teacher at Rothwell St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in the outer South area of Leeds and have been in post since 2003. Previously, I was the deputy head at St Mary’s and held the post for 9 years where I taught in Reception, led RE, Maths, Assessment, and NQTs. I started my career in Wakefield, where I taught for 6 years across Year 1 and Year 2. I have led most subject areas and has held positions of leadership either at subject level or school leadership level. Over the last 9 years I have support many schools in varying Ofsted categories and have ensured that the focus of all support is one of building capacity to improve and becoming a self-sustaining school once support is removed.

Throughout my career, I have always had a passion for Early Years and Assessment and I thrive on supporting others to develop these areas, as well as others, in the schools I supports. I am a strategic partner to St Anthony’s Teaching School and am the lead NLE for ITT as well as being a member of the School to School Support team. I have extensive knowledge of system leadership and have supported many schools who have been part of the funded School to School Support grant, as well as those who broker independent support. I am always looking to improve further and develop my own school in its mission to provide the best education for all pupils. I currently have three SLE’s who support ITT and School to School support.

What do you enjoy most about the teaching profession? 

I am passionate about developing schools to ensure that the best possible education is available for all pupils, at all times. I am keen to support staff in their career development and ensure that I hold on to my vision that all members of the school community should be engaged in life-long learning.

‘Each day we leave an imprint of ourselves on the hearts and mind of the pupils we teach’


Gemma Martin

Experience: Currently the Assistant Headteacher at Rothwell St. Mary’s and over her time there she has taught across the full Primary Age Range and has responsibilities linking to ITT, Child Protection, English Leadership and behaviour management. She is also the EYFS Lead Mentor on the School Direct Programme for the St. Anthony’s Teaching School.  Gemma has Outstanding Ofsted experience and a range of practical Moderation experiences, spanning from EYFS to Year Six. English is her main focus and she is now teaching English at a focused level to Y6 children with the aim of improving standards and ensuring High School readiness. She is an SLE within the fields of both Teaching & Learning and Writing.

Seanna Sweeney

Experience: Currently an Early Years Foundation Stage Leader at St. Mary’s, an outstanding school in Rothwell. Leadership responsibilities include leading Maths and R.E as part of a subject leadership team. Has also led whole school initiatives for creative approaches to learning. Has also offered a range of school to school support predominantly in Early Years leadership working with Foundation Stage leaders and their teams across two LEAs. Has proven success with improving the learning environment and outcomes for EYFS, as shown in HMI visits. Has also offered support across Key Stage One in teaching and learning, developing the learning environment, moderation and phonics.

What do you enjoy most about the teaching profession?

Sharing an enthusiasm and love of learning; watching children and adults around you thrive and achieve their true potential. Supporting others in developing this ethos in their own setting.