The new academic year brings a fresh start for Priestnall School, as we have officially joined the Laurus Trust.

The Laurus Trust’s vision for its secondary schools is for every student, regardless of background or circumstance, to achieve the grades and develop the qualities which will open the door to the future of their choice.

Rachel Howarth has been appointed as Head of School, having begun her teaching career at Priestnall school some twenty years ago and brings with her a wealth of experience in education, having played a central role in raising and maintaining a high standard of teaching and learning at the Laurus Trust’s founding school, Cheadle Hulme High School (CHHS). During her time at CHHS Rachel has had several roles including Head of Maths, Assistant Headteacher and most recently Deputy Headteacher.

Priestnall School will adopt the principle of being ‘Unashamedly Academic’ ‘Unapologetically Aspirational’ with a core belief that we will strive for ‘Uncompromising Standards’. In practice this means placing a strong emphasis on student attainment, the development of powerful knowledge and the skills to make a positive contribution to society.   

Alongside an academic curriculum, students across all year groups will be provided with a wealth of enrichment opportunities to provide them with a fully rounded educational experience. The aim is for every student to develop the Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills and Habits to ensure that they open the door to the future of their choice. This takes place through the framework of 4 Cornerstones – Academic Aspiration, Leadership and Service, Competition and Physical Endeavour and finally Culture, Creativity and Rhetoric.  

CEO of the Laurus Trust Linda Magrath OBE was Deputy Head at Priestnall School, for 5 years, before taking the reigns as Headteacher at Cheadle Hulme High School in 2003. Her leadership at the school over the past twenty years brought about a complete transformation to the outcomes of young people in the area. Since then, the school has gone from strength to strength, having been graded Outstanding in their latest Ofsted inspection and has been recognised in The Times and The Sunday Times Parent Power 2023 listing, as one of the top 20 secondary schools in the northwest, and the highest achieving comprehensive school across the region 

Linda’s association with Priestnall goes beyond her occupation, she has been resident in the Heatons for 40 years all four of her children attended Priestnall School.  

Linda Magrath, CEO of the Laurus Trust, said:  

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Priestnall School into the Laurus family and I’m really looking forward to meeting with the students and their families in the coming year, and working closely with Rachel, and the rest of the staff, to ensure that Priestnall moves forward on a rapid upward trajectory.” 

Priestnall’s teaching and support staff will also be able to draw upon a network of support from across the Trust, as well as accessing excellent benefits, such as health and well-being and professional learning opportunities through the Laurus Institute 

Mark Farrar, Chair of Governors at Priestnall School, added:  

“I am delighted that Priestnall School is joining the Laurus Trust. We share the same values and aspirations, and this brings new opportunities that will benefit staff, students and the wider Priestnall community. Myself and the other governors look forward to continuing to support Priestnall as we move forward into this exciting new phase.” 

Information about our Open Evening for prospective parents and carers, of children applying for a place in September 2024 will be announced soon. This will be an opportunity to meet the Head of School Rachel Howarth and learn more about the Laurus Trust.


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