Angela Holdsworth, from Helmshore, has been commended by the Queen in this year's New Year’s Honours list for services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).


Angela, a mother of 3, started her teaching career in 1991 and has worked at Tor View Special School in Haslingden for 25 years, becoming Headteacher in 2014.  She is now the CEO of Sea View Trust comprising of five academies and a college, located across Blackpool and Rossendale, and is responsible for over 2,000 learners and 500 staff.

In response to the award of an MBE, Angela replied:


“I do feel absolutely honoured, it’s certainly unexpected and I am hugely grateful to the people who have nominated me for this.   I would also like to thank my team at The Sea View Trust who are all such stunning people and have done such an amazing job.  It has been a collaborative effort and I feel that the award has resulted from the collective endeavours of all those I have worked alongside over the years.  I do consider myself to be more like a vessel receiving this, rather than it be purely something that I deserve.  I, together with the whole team, try to do the best job we can for children and families that is what education is all about.”


Angela is a passionate advocate for inclusion in schools.  As a direct result of her involvement with establishing ‘inclusion bases’ in local primary and secondary schools, Tor View learners have been able to maximise their potential by achieving GCSE grades, with one having been accepted into University.


Angela’s ‘action not words’ approach for SEND, and her ambition to provide suitable provision beyond school age, is exemplified by her establishment of Valley College in 2019.  Valley College supports the needs of learners with SEND aged 16 – 25, enabling them to continue with their learning into adulthood and supporting them with work experience and potential routes into employment.


Aside from her commitments as a CEO, Angela undertakes a number of additional roles. She is a National Leader for Education (NLE) and a regional representative for nasen Whole School SEND.  Angela is a strategic partner with the Pennine Lancashire School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), leading on the primary and specialist teacher training programmes.  She is also involved with the DfE’s Behaviour Hub programme and, where requested, supports regional schools as an established SEND Reviewer.  More recently, Angela has provided significant and invaluable SEND advice to the DfE and local authorities, supporting regional schools through the national pandemic.