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“You clearly have a lot of experience in your field and this shows through your provision of education and care” Doncaster Children’s Commissioning Officer “The overall experiences and progress of children and young people is outstanding” – Ofsted “The quality of care and support is outstanding” – Ofsted “Outstanding again… fantastic school with amazing staff, my son is loved and cared for and has been given such brilliant opportunities” Parent “Amazing school with dedicated, caring staff who genuinely believe in the boys” Parent

Senior Leadership Team


Sue Ackroyd



Sue has worked in residential special education for over 29 years. She provides strong, passionate and effective leadership across the school focussing on driving forward achievement and attainment throughout the 24hr curriculum. Sue has been a NASS Trustee for 6 years (an organisation supporting over 270 independent schools, non-maintained special schools, free schools and special academies across the country) and has been actively involved in Teaching and Learning and Head of Care working parties and association events, guiding good practice, developing initiatives and delivering training. Using her experience of residential special education and having led 12 consecutive outstanding Social Care Ofsted inspections, Sue has actively supported a number of schools across the country in areas such as teaching and learning, assessment, monitoring and feedback, recruitment and retention and an integrated approach to 24hr learning. More recently Sue has initiated and developed a Peer Review and Development group of 9 schools across the NE, with a key focus on sharing good practice, deliberating and finding solutions to leadership challenges, moderation and learning walks across these organisations.

A love for learning and a passion for engineering success across social, emotional and mental health challenges are fundamental motivators.    

Caroline Booth

Deputy Principal


Caroline is responsible for the school's finances and ensuring that the school makes the best possible use of the resources available.  

Caroline is also responsible for personnel management, premises management, administration and all matters within the management of the school which are supportive to, but do not involve, the teaching function, together with the responsibility for risk management, CPD and active learning and external training. Caroline also works alongside Martin overseeing all admissions and referrals and has a lead role in data recording and management within the school.

Prior to working at the school Caroline qualified as an accountant and then later worked as a Fraud Investigator for West Yorkshire Police. Caroline holds a Master’s Degree in Financial Investigation and Financial Crime and has completed her Diploma and Advanced Diploma in School Business Management, NPQSL and IOSH and is a Certified Microsoft Office Specialist. 

Caroline is also Chair of the East Calderdale Learning Community School Business Managers Network and the Calderdale School Business Manager Representative for the Calderdale Services for Schools Strategic Board



Rajinder Randhawa

Vice Principal

Rajinder is our Vice Principal (Education) who has curriculum and subject knowledge across the school, with strategic responsibility for Student Achievement and academic progress throughout the 24-hour curriculum and within the Education Department, Assessment, the 24 Hour Curriculum, Life Long Learning (including 16+); CEIAG and 1:1 Support. She has extensive experience of excellent teaching, applying and adapting the National Curriculum to meet the needs of students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health challenges and effectively implementing a personalised curriculum. An extensive experience of accreditation and examination processes helps to provide a variety of routes to bespoke pathways and meaningful currency. Rajinder is actively involved in the NASS Peer Review Development Group, where a number of schools work together on improving teaching and learning, cross curricular moderation and sharing good practice.

She has worked in special education for over 25 years and holds a BA Hons in Education - Childhood Studies, NCSL Leading from the Middle, NCSL – Diverse Leaders, Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership & Management in Education, and NPQSL. She has worked at the William Henry Smith School for 14 years and also has experience within mainstream education, teaching & learning and specialist provisions. 

Her philosophy is focused on achieving high quality teaching and outstanding learning opportunities for every student, with high expectations of self, students and staff and a commitment to raising standards of achievement and attainment.

Martin Gibson 

Deputy Principal

Martin takes a leading role in the admissions process as well as the holistic assessment of students’ needs. He is responsible for the monitoring, reviewing and revising of all therapeutic interventions and coordinates the work of our extensive onsite therapy team. More recently, he has coordinated the introduction of the school’s Post 16 provision.

Having previously worked as Psychiatric Nurse, Martin has been employed at WHSS for 26 years and holds a First Class Honours Degree in Psychology as well as a Master’s Degree in Education, Learning and Teaching. In addition to being a qualified Sports Therapist, he is also an NVQ Assessor and Internal Verifier and has delivered a variety of Mental Health training modules to school staff and presented at a range of local and national conferences and training events.



Damien Talbot

Vice Principal

Damien is our Vice Principal (Care) and takes a leadership role of the residential living areas of the school which also includes the newly established post 16 provision; in which a team of skilled and dedicated staff work hard at delivering a 24hr curriculum that provide opportunities for the children to develop their social and emotional intelligence.

Having 25 years’ experience of working within education, he has been employed at the school for the past 20 years after initially starting work at the school on a voluntary basis whilst working for the local education authority in Barnsley. Damien is qualified at level 5 in Leadership and Management and is a registered ILM manager. Damien has established a great working relationship with two local universities who use the school for training their year 2 and 3 students, completing their social worker degrees. He is also the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead that manages a team of highly trained child protection staff who work closely to ensure that the children and staff of the school are looked after.

Damien is also actively involved within the Calderdale Cluster Group for schools in the area, where they work together in improving behaviour standards within schools. He also works with colleagues around the country to share practice around other special schools.