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Beckfoot Trust is an organisation that links a group of local Bradford schools together so that they can collectively improve the life chances for young people within their schools. Our aim is to create a group of truly remarkable schools each with a genuine comprehensive intake. They will be wonderful places for young people to learn and grow up in. We want to make a difference. We want to create something special.

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About Us

CEO Designate

Exceptional leader and educationalist Shirley Watson joins

Beckfoot Trust as CEO designate. 

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We are delighted that Shirley joins Beckfoot Trust from June 7th 2021 as CEO designate. Shirley will become CEO when David Horn retires from the post this summer. 

Graduating from Leeds University with a First Class Honours degree in Political Studies, Shirley has worked in a variety of sectors, including industry and hospitality, running her own business for several years.

After a series of lecturing positions in further education, Shirley arrived at Dixons City Technology College as a teacher of Humanities in 1996, rising through the ranks to Principal in 2011, leading the school to Outstanding in every area in 2018 for the first time in in the school’s history. Ofsted described her leadership as ‘exceptional’ and providing ‘unwavering determination’ to challenge educational inequality. Shirley joined the Executive Leadership of Dixons in 2016 and worked side by side with Sir Nick Weller to grow the Trust to what it is today. She is passionate about challenging all inequality and believes that this is the core purpose of multi-academy trusts.

Shirley is wholly committed to working in Bradford District and is most proud of the alumni dynasty that she has been involved in educating. Known for her candour, she is very clear that there is only one organisation she would have left her previous Trust to lead, and that is Beckfoot. She has had a long association with Beckfoot and is entirely aligned to the mission of ‘creating remarkable schools where no child is left behind’. Shirley is highly ambitious for all the staff and students of Beckfoot Trust; they deserve to excel and are in the right organisation to do so.


We wish Shirley a very warm welcome to Beckfoot Trust. 

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