The Smith Foundation

The Smith Foundation

7 September 2023



The Smith Foundation is a long standing and well-known charity and school in Brighouse that many of us will know. During the academic year 2022/2023 the foundation embarked on a journey of extraordinary growth and change. Reflecting upon the remarkable journey trust over not only the year but the past decade is truly awe-inspiring. The growth witnessed can only be described as nothing short of phenomenal. Throughout this period, the charity has had numerous material changes within the foundation. The charity has adapted to shifts in age demographics and broadened the scope of its services to include a Sixth Form, a Specialist College and a 52-Week provision.

As a result of growth, from this month, September 2023, Foundation will consolidate all its efforts under the unified banner of the Smith Foundation, the charitable company overseeing the foundation. The significant changes this year, signifying a pivotal shift in the foundations organisational structure.

Previously, The Smith Foundation comprised two distinct entities: The William Henry Smith School, responsible for delivering essential services, and the Trust, tasked with estate and fund management and providing the supportive environment in which all services thrive. While this arrangement has served the trust well historically, it has necessitated a comprehensive review considering the evolving mission and expansion.

These significant developments prompted a comprehensive review aimed at ensuring that the organisational structure is agile, well-suited for a dynamic, ever-evolving foundation that can meet the challenges and demands of future enhancements. After thorough deliberation between the Trustees, Governors and the Senior Leadership Team, it was unanimously agreed that changes were imperative to establish a streamlined, flexible foundation ready to embrace and navigate the challenges of continuous improvement in the years ahead.

The Smith Foundation is therefore pleased to announce that Sue Ackroyd will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer/Executive Principal, overseeing all services with strategic acumen and continue to receive invaluable support from the Governor’s and Trustees. Caroline Booth will take on the role of Chief Operating Officer, working closely with Sue to ensure the seamless operation of the foundation. Karl Adamski will step into the role of Head of School, with responsibilities encompassing Education and Curriculum. Damien Talbot will retain his position as Deputy Principal, focusing on Residential Services, including the management of the new children's home, and maintaining his leadership in safeguarding efforts. Leanne Clarke, in her capacity as Vice Principal, will assume responsibility for Further Education, including oversight of the Sixth Form and College (formerly BEST). Tom Gilbody and Georgina Poole, both continue as Vice Principals. We are currently recruiting to the final SLT position of Head of Health which will also be a Vice Principal position.

As we reflect on the successes of the growth, it's essential to recognise that the developments listed above are just a glimpse of the strategic accomplishments, there is of course so much more to celebrate.

It is evident that The Smith Foundation is not just a passive observer in its field, but an active participant in shaping the future of SEMH nationally. The foundations commitment to providing quality education, care, health and support to students with diverse needs, aligns perfectly with their USP of placing the young people at the forefront of every decision and action. The foundation prides itself on its USP; all staff possess a deep understanding of trauma and recognise that behaviours stem from traumatic experiences and have underlying reasons.

The Smith Foundations dedicated and skilled workforce of way over 200 local staff, are deeply ingrained with a trauma-sensitive approach that not only embraces hard work but also find enjoyment in it as they creatively navigate the path to success and breaking barriers for students through their deep understanding and ingrained approach to trauma in all they do.

It is evident to see the approach goes way beyond being informed; it is deeply infused in everything they do. It transcends knowledge and research, becoming an integral part of their core philosophy and daily practices. The approach and depth and commitment can be also seen in the challenges encountered along the way - these changes have been met with significant resilience and innovation. The Smith Foundation has embraced changes, growth, and the expanding spectrum of services offered, all while remaining dedicated to their core mission of empowering every student to ‘become the best they can be’.

I’m sure you will agree, the academic year 2023 has been nothing short of extraordinary for The Smith Foundation. These accomplishments and ongoing initiatives underscore our unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality education, support, and care to our students. The trust remains dedicated to empowering our students to thrive and achieve their full potential, and they eagerly anticipate the further opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.