Leeds West Academy


Students' Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)


The World Health Organisation describes emotional and mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively... and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

At Leeds West Academy, we feel it is important to remember that all children and young people experience difficult feelings and situations in their lives. Families often play the biggest role in helping children learn how to cope with difficult feelings and experiences. Schools and other services in children’s daily lives, also play a big part in this. For most children and young people, this level of support will be enough to help them cope with everyday life.

For other children, if their feelings, thoughts and behaviours affect their everyday life and stop them from making progress, or risk harm to themselves or others, they may be considered to have social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH). They may well need extra help to develop as young people and achieve positive outcomes as they progress through school. Leeds West Academy have three separate waves of support, which can be  utilised at various points in a young person’s time at high school.


Waves of Support

Wave 1 - Universal services are services that all students have access to. These include access to:

  • a form tutor
  • a non-teaching Year Manager
  • an Attendance Support Officer
  • SPACE days (alternative timetable days covering a range of Social, Personal and Citizenship Education)
  • 12 Designated Safeguarding Officers

Further to this, students and parents / carers have access to all community services such as health and leisure facilities, health visitors and GPs.

Wave 2 - Targeted services are services that offer support for a specific period of time when a student faces difficulties in or outside of the academy.  Leeds West’s targeted services include:

  • Referral into the specialist team of Nurture Practitioners 
  • Referral for local Cluster support*
  • Assessment for - and creation of - a Student Support Plan
  • Early Help Plans intervention
  • Targeted in-lesson support
  • Referral for the support of an Educational Psychologist
  • Support from Leeds West Academy's Safer Schools Police Officer (on site daily)
  • A community Youth Worker (on site once a week)


*Bramley cluster  is a group of agencies working together to support students and families that are going through difficulties. Agencies include the family support team, primary and secondary schools, school nursing, AIP representatives, BARCA and CSWS. Interventions include SEMH counselling, parenting classes, support with early help plans, a child and family therapist and access to educational psychologist time.

Wave 3 - Specialist services – This level of support and intervention will not be accessed by most children and young people with additional needs as their needs will be met by wave 1 and 2 interventions. However, if a child or young person has complex or multiple needs (including SEMH) and is unable to make progress despite support from universal and targeted services, specialist services may be needed. At this stage the Additional Needs Team will look at what additional support should be put in place to support the young person’s needs. This support includes referrals to:

  • The Local Authority’s Special Educational Needs and Inclusion Team (SENIT)
  • an Alternative Provision,
  • Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST)
  • SEND Statutory Assessment Panel (SENSAP) including for consideration of an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).
  • a SEMH panel of specialists

The above outlined steps include a regular dialogue with the young people and their parents/carers as they key part of any process undertaken.