Meet the Staff

Meet the staff


Head Teacher
Mrs Balderstone started her headship with the PRU in September 2013. Previously Mrs Balderstone worked in a Barrow secondary school for 13 years before becoming Head of the West Cumbria PRU in 2009. Mrs Balderstone has been a member of the Management Committee since September 2013.
Deputy Head

Mr Staunton has worked at the PRU since Jan 2010 and is the teacher of ICT and our Assistant Head. As Assistant Head Mr Staunton has responsibility for progress and tracking across the service. Mr Staunton has been a member of the Management Committee since December 2013.

Assistant Head

Mrs Kemp has worked at the PRU since 2002. She previously lectured at Furness College and also ran the College Day Nursery for staff and student’s children. She leads the Foundation Curriculum and Careers Education Information and Guidance. She teaches Personal, Social, Health Education to Key Stage 4, WJEC Level 1/ 2 Hospitality and Catering and GCSE Citizenship.  

Assistant Head

Having previous teaching experience in a number of mainstream schools, teaching subjects across the curriculum, Mr Ribchester has joined the staff with responsibility for teaching English from September 2014.

Assistant Head

Mr Smith joined the PRU in September 2014 having previously spent 3 years in a similar role in Lancaster. He teaches Maths and is our Additional Needs Coordinator.


Mr Kenny
Specialist Teacher
Mr Kenny has been teaching Art at the PRU since 2012. 'Art is a great way to express feelings and is very individual to each person. The work we do in Art at the PRU is based on the pupil’s interests and encourages them to explore their ideas in a well equipped and dedicated Art department. Pupils particularly enjoy the opportunity to do 3D work'.
Mr Stanway
Specialist teacher
Having previous teaching experience in local mainstream secondary education, the Sixth Form College and college of Further Education Paul has joined the staff with specific responsibility for Physical Education and Maths. Mr Stanway has been an 'associate' member of the Management Committee since December 2013.
Mr Ely
Centre Teacher
Mr Ely has worked for the Hospital and Home Tuition Service since 2010. He is responsible for delivering the Medical Pupil Referral provision in the Furness area. He has taught Science for over 20 years with a specialism in Biology.
Mr Jones
Specialist Teacher
Mr.Jones has worked at Newbridge House since 1998. His teaching responsibilities are Science and Outdoor Education. He is the Educational Visits Coordinator.
Mr Doyle
Unqualified Teacher

Mr Doyle joined the Pupil Referral Service in September 2013. Mr Doyle has previous experience at a local secondary school working with young people with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. He delivers ICT and PE within the centre.

Mrs Robinson
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
Ms Robinson has worked in local mainstream schools for over 20 years. Formally a Learning Mentor, Ms Robinson delivers Mentoring lessons to all year groups, and is also a Restorative Justice facilitator.
Mrs Cotton
Senior Teaching Assistant
Mrs Cotton has worked with Special Educational needs students for several years in mainstream settings. Having joined the PRU in 2013 she supports students in subjects across the curriculum and currently undertakes baseline testing with all students.
Mr Mansell
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
Mr Mansell has worked at the PRU since 2008. He teaches Food technology and GCSE Practical Catering.
Mrs Croasdale
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
Mrs Croasdale has worked at the PRU since 2006. She teaches Textiles and supports pupils in lessons around the centre.
Ms Oncal
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
Ms Oncal has worked for the PRU since 2000, responsible for the delivery of Art and Photography in the Kendal centre and provides one to one student support as well as providing assistance to teachers across the curriculum.
Mrs Neves
Senior Teaching Assistant
Mrs Neves began working at the PRU in December 2015 and, prior to this, worked for 14 years in primary and secondary settings in the Preston area.
Mr Martin
Specialist Teacher
Mr Martin has spent the last 15 years teaching and then as part of the Senior Leadership Team at a school for young people with additional needs. In 2017 he moved to a local mainstream school before becoming a Specialist Advisory Teacher for the Local Authority, again working with young people who found mainstream schooling challenging.
Mrs Armistead
Specialist Teacher
Mrs Armistead worked as a Teaching Assistant at Millom School covering subjects such as languages and business studies, before training as an English Teacher. Once qualified Mrs Armistead obtained a position at Dowdales School and has been teaching for over 10 years covering English, media and History.
Miss Larner
Specialist Teacher

Miss Larner has previous teaching experience at several mainstream schools across the country and held pastoral and academic responsibilities including Head of Year and Head of Department. Her most recent position was teaching at an independent specialist school supporting pupils with ADHD, behavioral needs and Autism.  She joins the PRU as a specialist teacher for Design Technology.

Mr McCavish
Specialist Teacher

Mr McCavish became a specialist drama teacher in 1999. He joined Newbridge House in 2018. Before that he was Head of Creative Arts and Head of Drama in a mainstream secondary school. Mr McCavish has also worked as a professional actor in both film and theatre. He is responsible for developing and teaching creative arts at Newbridge House.

Miss Thompson
Specialist Teacher

Miss Thompson has been teaching English in mainstream schools in the area since 1996. She joined the PRU in April 2020 as a specialist  teacher,  and is teaching English and Photography.

Mrs Friar
Specialist Teacher

Mrs Friar has worked with young people with a range of special educational needs in a specialist school for the past 11 years. She joined the PRU in 2020 where she teaches Mathematics.

Mrs Rose
Specialist Teacher

Mrs Rose started working in the PRU in 2021 after 17 years experience in mainstream education.  She is responsible for the coordination of key stage 2 provision at Newbridge House.


Examinations Officer & Business Support
Mrs Chesworth started at the PRU in 2016 as part of the school Business Support team, having had a number of years’ administrative experience. Mrs Chesworth has responsibility for management of pupil examinations.
School Business Manager

Mrs Evans has worked at the PRU in a range of administration positions since 1998. Since 2006 she has been the PRU’s School Business Manager and has responsibility for Health and Safety, and Facilities and Finance, whilst also managing the very efficient Business Support team.


Mrs Evans is responsible for the facilities and also supports the lunch-time and breakfast facilities.

Business Support

Mrs Fisher has been working at Newbridge House since 2009 as a part of the school’s Business Support team. Mrs Fisher is responsible for pupil transport, school dinners, general school liaison and the administration of pupil reports and communications.

Cleaning Operative
Miss Whitehead joined the PRU in June 2019 and is responsible for the facilities of the centre.


Learning Mentor
Mr Chatfield has been working with young people since 2001 and delivers a wide range of activities including DJ’ing, Sports, Art, Music, and G.C.S.E. Photography.


Behaviour Support Worker

Miss Kent joined the Pupil Referral Service in September 2019 and has been working with children and young people with a variety of behavioural needs since leaving college. She travelled the world before taking up posts in outdoor sports including being an instructor in the lake district.

Behaviour Support Worker

Mr Bonnett began working at the PRU in January 2018. He is passionate about helping young people overcome their barriers to learning. Mr Bonnett has experience supporting young people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, Social Emotional Health and Behavioural difficulties and has previously worked in local secondary and private residential schools as a music teacher, learning support assistant and a HLTA.

Behaviour Support Worker

Mr Bown originally studied sports studies and sports coaching at university which led him into a management role at DW gym.  He later moved in to adult support roles including adults with autism and challenging behaviour, before joining the Pupil Referral Service in September 2019.  

Behaviour Support Worker
Mr Waterston represented the County in cricket from an early age before signing as a professional footballer for Barrow AFC, then later for Workington Reds. He graduated from University with a degree in Sports Coaching and Development, then went on to voluntary roles coaching football and cricket within schools. Mr Waterston joined the Pupil Referral Service in September 2019 as a Behaviour Support Worker.
Behaviour Support Worker

Mr Webber joined the Pupil Referral Service in September 2019. His previous roles include 4 years as a GCSE English teacher and an Education Coordinator in a Residential Children’s Home. Mr Webber has experience in supporting young people with social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties. Mr Webber is involved in community and charity work and is a trustee for Mental Health Charity Mind.

Mrs Birkbeck
Behaviour Support Worker

Mrs Birkbeck has experience of working with young people with a variety of social, emotional, health and behavioural difficulties having taught English for 10 years at a secondary school in the Lake District. In recent years she has provided English tuition for students in KS3 and KS4, marked GCSE English Language exam papers and undertaken  various short and long term supply teaching posts in local mainstream and specialist schools before joining the Pupil Referral Service as a Behaviour Support Worker in September 2021.


Engagement Officer

Miss Waite has had varied roles within the Health and Social Care Sector working with young people and families, including youth work and education in schools.  Recent roles involved implementing necessary support, routine boundaries, and managing challenging behaviour.  Prior to joining the Pupil Referral Service in September 2019,  Miss Waite  completed a foundation degree in Health & Social Care.  

Lead Engagement Officer
Mr Mark began work in the PRU in June 2016 and, prior to this, had a background in youth work in both paid and voluntary roles.
Engagement Officer
Mr Swainson joined the PRU as an Engagement Officer in January 2018. Mr Swainson has come from a sport coaching background working with children and young people for over 15 years, the last five and half years being in a residential setting working with children and young people with social and emotional needs, and challenging behaviours.

Miss Bland joined the Pupil Referral Service in January 2021. She has had varied roles working with children, young people and their families. Miss Bland has a BA Hons Degree in Early Childhood Studies and MA degree in Social Work. Prior to joining the Pupil Referral Service,  Miss Bland worked for Children’s Services as a Social Worker.


Ms Harris works as a school counsellor across the service for three days per week. Counselling is provided, where appropriate, to those students identified as needing additional support in their lives. 

Ms Harris has worked in a variety of roles within the education and social care sector with children, young people and their families.  She has supported children and young people with Autism, social, emotional and behaviour difficulties.  Ms Harris works 2 days in a local primary school supporting children’s emotional well-being through counselling, teaching mindfulness and group work. In addition she also works for a local charity called Families Matter offering counselling for families in the local area.


Mr Mitchell

Mr Mitchell has worked with children with social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties since 2006.  He joined the Pupil Referral Service in January 2019 where he teaches construction.

Mr Taputu

Mr Taputu started his career at the PRU in May 2018. Originally Mr Taputu was a mechanic, helping out in his spare time with various youth work in the town. He also enjoys playing rugby.  Mr Taputu now teaches mechanics in the centre.