Special Educational Needs – Meet the Team


I am the SENDCo here at Sir Herbert Leon Academy and, as such, I am responsible for ensuring that all of our students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) have fair access to a broad and balanced curriculum.

I oversee the Inclusive Achievement Centre and work closely with a team of dedicated and highly skilled staff who are committed to achieving the best possible educational outcomes for every student that we work with. Our talented team take a holistic approach to SEND support, recognising the need to develop high aspirations, life skills, confidence and independence in our young people; ensuring that they are well equipped to go on to live full and successful adult lives.

For many years I have been a Specialist Literacy and Numeracy Teacher and my background is in primary education. In addition to my SENDCo role, I also deliver ‘Catch Up’ interventions for any students working below a National Curriculum Level 4 in English and Maths. ‘Catch Up’ groups address any gaps in knowledge from KS2 and prepare students for the rigours and demands of the KS3 curriculum.


I am the Deputy SENDCo and work closely with Caroline Oxley in managing the provision for all our students with a Special Educational Need. I make sure that appropriate support is in place, and liaise with external agencies such as the Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, and the team of specialist teachers from SENDIS (Special Educational Needs Disability Inclusion Service). In school I also liaise closely with our Pastoral teams and teaching staff to ensure that information is circulated and that staff are aware of the needs of the students they are teaching.

I joined what was then Leon School in January 1995 and have and still am enjoying a fulfilling career supporting students with SEND. I am passionate about this school and its students and am always seeking to ensure that our most vulnerable young people are meeting their full potential.


Hello, I am Vanessa Boniface and I am the Special Education Needs Intervention Coordinator here at the Sir Herbert Leon Academy. I have 14 years experience, supporting students who struggle with Literacy. My main responsibility is to deliver our ‘Lexia Reading Programme’ which is a computer based phonological awareness intervention, which is individualised and differentiated for each child according to their needs. It also enables them to make progress in their reading, writing and spelling skills. In addition to this it also provides them with a sense of confidence, independence and most importantly achievement. I work with students across key stage 3 on a daily basis. The students drive my passion and dedication in helping them to reach their full potential by the sheer delight on their faces when they succeed and reach their targets.


I am a Learning Mentor at the Sir Herbert Leon Academy and support literacy across the Curriculum. I have a strong knowledge of supporting SEND students with literacy difficulties. My specialism now involves supporting progress and attainment for SEND students in key stage 4. This can be an incredibly stressful time for children with additional needs and my role is to support them in the completion of quality coursework and course content across all subject areas. I am passionate about giving individual support, guidance and pastoral care that will encourage our young people to achieve their best whilst they balance the challenges of adolescence. My role is to liaise between students and teachers across the curriculum to ensure that deadlines are met and that student workloads are balanced and appropriately challenging. I liaise regularly with the parents and carers of the students I support as parental involvement and support is crucial to every student’s success. I ensure that SEND students at KS4 have access to ICT within support Hub 2 and encourage them to use their spare time to catch-up with any outstanding coursework or revision whilst receiving specialist help and support.


I am a Teaching Assistant at the Sir Herbert Leon Academy and predominantly support in English and Media with students in Year 11. My role is to help make the lesson accessible to all of our SEND students through differentiation, confidence building and support. I meet regularly with the teachers I work with to discuss new strategies to help students to progress so that we can ensure the best possible outcomes. In addition to the in-class support that I provide I run a handwriting improvement group. This is a relatively new initiative which is already having a positive impact on the quality of work produced by students. We focus on the four S’s – ‘Size, Slope, Shape and Space’ of each letter and use a variety of writing resources; I have plans for us to ‘try our hand’ at calligraphy later on in the year! I also take small groups out twice a week for Guided Reading which is a reading comprehension programme designed to help students to understand the text they are reading and develops decoding skills. We also focus on instructional language which is crucial to exam success and beyond











We both wish to express our gratitude to all the team for guiding and teaching our son through his last two years of education, allowing him to gain his BTEC in sports. The commitment and dedication of all staff in helping him has been outstanding.

Thank you all.

“I’m writing to let you know how happy I am with the help my son has received from Sir Herbert Leon Academy’s SENDCO Department. Sima Ahmed, Karen Tomlin and Cath Clark have been amazing and always willing to help and overcome my son’s learning difficulties. My son has been diagnosed with dyslexia and struggles to withhold information. This of course affects his learning abilities in most subjects, especially Maths and English. They have helped tremendously with his coursework, as well as giving him extra time to sit his exams.

We are extremely grateful for all the time and hard work the SENDCO team have given our son over the past couple of years.

Many Thanks

Year 11 Parent

“My son started at Sir Herbert Leon Academy last September, and he has Special Educational Needs. I cannot fault the support and help both him and myself have been given by The Inclusive Achievement Team to help his transition from Primary to Secondary School. I am kept up to date with all his progress on a regular basis and the staff are very friendly and understanding of my son’s special needs.

Many Thanks

Year 7 Parent

The Inclusive Achievement Team are committed to seeking and acting upon the views of parents and carers. To support this process a quality assurance questionnaire is carried out 3 times per year to quality assure our processes, communication and support.