Special Educational Needs

What is SEND?

A child has a special educational need or disability (SEND) if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if they:

  1. have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
  2. have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

The SEND Code of Practice 2014 (updated January 2015) sets out four broad areas of special educational need that include a range of difficulties and conditions:

Academy SEND Intent Statement

We believe that all students, regardless of starting point or prior ability, should experience a high-quality curriculum and have access to the most highly trained and qualified staff. Our SENDCo will provide day to day support in addition to training to support all teachers in ensuring that no student gets left behind. We believe that real inclusion and effective differentiation is invisible to the eye, that teachers should have an in-depth knowledge of their students and can adapt and support fluidly and sensitively in the classroom. Wherever possible we seek to include and not exclude our most vulnerable learners from the experiences of their peer group.​

Our SENDCo is Oliver Harrison.
Please email: oharrison@leeds.trinitymat.org

Oliver Harrison


I am committed to ensuring that students at the academy have access to a school experience which supports and encourages them to achieve the highest aspirations and that all students are empowered to be successful, independent, lifelong learners.

Oliver Harrison, SENDCO, has over 15 years experience within the secondary school sector, including 10 years experience leading SEN provision within OFSTED rated Outstanding schools. Oliver has been SENDCO at TAL since it opened in 2021, keen to apply his wealth of knowledge and experience to unique opportunity afforded by the creation of a new school. During his career within SEND provision to date Oliver has gained extensive experience in supporting students with SEND to thrive, through the oversight and delivery of targeted interventions but more importantly ensuring that students receive a truly inclusive school experience every hour, every lesson, every day. Oliver also places great importance on ensuring that young people with SEND and their families have a voice and are empowered to advocate for themselves and gain independence as they go through their educational journeys.

Hannah Worsley

Assistant SENDCo

It is imperative that our SEND students enter school knowing that it is a place that will fully support them but also challenge them to reach their full potential. Our SEND students will thrive, succeed and achieve in their educational journeys.

Hannah Worsley, Assistant SENDCo, plays a vital role within the wider SEND team, primarily supporting students with difficulties in the areas of speech, language and communication. Hannah has extensive experience within specialist inclusive educational settings, working with children and young people with learning disabilities and autistic spectrum condition to improve their access to the curriculum. This in addition to 13 years of involvement with the charity sector, supporting young people with profound learning difficulties to access a range of educational activities as part of an annual residential trip. Through these endeavors Hannah has worked alongside a range of professionals such as speech and language therapists and occupational therapists to create suitable sensory diets that allow children and young people with autism to reach their full potential. This has allowed her to gain experience, knowledge, and training which she is now using to enhance the quality of learning for students with SEND at TAL.

Mollie Eccleston

Assistant SENDCo

With the right support, all students can achieve regardless of the barriers to learning they may face. I am committed to ensuring all students can achieve their dreams and ambitions.

Part of the SEN team, Mollie Eccleston's role at TAL is Assistant SENDCo, is specifically focusing on students with cognition and learning needs. Mollie began her interest in cognition and learning through the completion of her Psychology degree at Durham University. During this time, Mollie was involved in various volunteering projects supporting young people within the UK before later being involved in project work with diverse groups of young people in San Francisco. Prior to joining TAL, Mollie spent over 3 years working in a specialist educational and residential setting for students with a wide range of Special Educational Needs. This included pastoral, educational and family support as well as supporting students to develop their independent life and living skills they will require in the future. Mollie is passionate about improving outcomes for all students, in spite of the barriers to learning they may face, fiercely championing them to become the best they can be.

Kelsey Gentles

Assistant SENDCo

I am passionate about supporting every child in their learning journey and believe, with trust, support and encouragement - success is a guarantee, not a possibility.

Kelsey Gentles brings a wealth of experience to the SEND team through her role as Assistant SENDCO. Kelsey’s involvement in working with young people began during her undergraduate studies in Physical Education at Leeds Beckett University. This provided key experience in working with a range of young people, including many with SEND which then led to her employment in a Pupil Referral Unit. Here, Kelsey worked with children with neurodiverse learning needs and led interventions to support students with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties within a
controlled environment. She has since worked within a mainstream secondary setting and continued to develop her knowledge of SEMH. Prior to joining TAL, Kelsey has worked as a specialist, creating and implementing therapeutic interventions for learners with SEMH needs within a mainstream setting. Kelsey is passionate about supporting every child in their learning journey and believes with trust, support and encouragement - success is a guarantee, not a possibility. Alongside her professional achievements, Kelsey is also a professional rugby player for York Valkyrie RLFC and England Rugby League. In 2022 Kelsey received the Sporting Excellence Award at the Leeds Legacy Awards, an accolade which celebrates diversity and excellence in Leeds.

Click to read our SEND Graduated Response

Identification and Assessment of Children with SEND

As set out in the SEND Code of Practice, the school follows the Graduated Approach to Assessment, which follows the four stages of Assess, Plan, Do and Review. This allows for a more personalised approach to the identification, planning and assessment of SEND.

Where appropriate, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be created for students and shared with teaching and pastoral staff. An IEP will outline key information about the student’s needs, the recommended strategies and reasonable adjustments that will be made in class, as well as an outline of any additional, targeted interventions the student is in receipt of. IEPs are reviewed regularly and informed by teacher feedback and assessment as well as student and parent voice.


Golden Toolkit

At TAL great emphasis is placed on ensuring that all aspects of the school day are accessible to all students regardless of their individual needs. Lessons are informed by evidence-based research and individual learning activities are sequenced and delivered to make success inevitable for all students. To support students to overcome common barriers to learning, staff utilise aspects of the “Golden Toolkit”. The Golden toolkit encompasses 5 key areas where adaptations to the learning materials and delivery of activities are utilised to support students. These areas are:

  • Talk – Using structured activities to develop answers verbally before producing a written response.
  • Phonics – Breaking down unfamiliar or challenging vocabulary into individual syllables or sounds to support correct pronunciation and spelling.
  • Scaffolding – Helping students to plan and structure written answers by providing support such as sentence starters or word banks.
  • Dual Coding – Supporting written information with images or graphics to improve understanding and retention of information.
  • Memory Movements – Using simple physical movements to support retention and recall of new vocabulary or complex processes.

Specialist Support at TAL

As part of the graduated response in meeting the needs of the students at TAL, the academy enlists the support of various external professionals and agencies. To meet the demands of two key areas of need, Speech, Language and Communication and Social Emotional and Mental Health, the school has specialist external support, based on site at TAL.

Speech, Language and Communication Needs

The academy employs a qualified speech and language therapist for one day a week, to provide support and staff to students, staff and families. In most instances once a referral has been made, the speech and language therapist will carry out an assessment to determine the specific nature of the need or barrier to learning for the student. This may then lead to the delivery of targeted intervention and support or may highlight further adaptations that could be made within the classroom setting to support the young person’s learning. In some instances the therapist may also make further referrals to additional external support agencies.

SEND Clinics

At Trinity Academy Leeds we place a great importance on ensuring all students are supported to achieve their full potential and receive the best education available.

A key part of this is ensuring that all students get the individual support they need to access both the learning and extracurricular activities on offer.

Where a student has an additional need which may require extra support or adaptation from the school, it is important that this is planned together with parents and carers to ensure all needs are accounted for and families are fully informed of the support their child receives. As a result, the school offers regular “SEN Clinics” during the academic year which provide an extra opportunity for parents and carers to discuss any concerns or queries they may have about their child’s needs and provision. The SEN clinics also provide an extra opportunity for parental input and review of IEPs.

Staff Training

All staff take part in regular in-house training looking at how to support our most vulnerable learners. All staff have completed an online training course through STARS (Specialist Training in Autism and Raising Standards) with a focus on supporting students with ASC.

Please view our Policy page to look at our SEND Policy, SEND Information Report and our Accessibility Statement.

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