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Referrals 01325 331 703
General 0800 138 8680
Referrals 01325 331 703 General 0800 138 8680

Meet the team

Andy Holder, Operations Director

Andy has supported young people with autistic spectrum conditions and other special educational needs for 15 years and has held senior leadership roles for six of these. Prior to working with Priory, Andy worked for a Local Authority, setting up and leading a number of specialist provisions for secondary aged students with autism who struggled to access learning in a mainstream environment. Since becoming Principal of Newbury Manor School in January 2014, he has overseen significant growth and development of the school, including opening a provision for primary aged students and developing the small, high quality residential provision. Andy is a fully qualified teacher and Headteacher and is currently working towards his Masters in Autism at Birmingham University. Recently, Andy’s role as changed to supporting a group of local schools but still remains involved in the leadership and governance at Newbury Manor.

Maria Harman, Headteacher

Maria is a highly experienced leader, who has supported children and young people with some of the most complex needs in the country, consistently delivering improved outcomes and often rapid progress. Maria places a very high emphasis upon working as part of a team around each child and their family; building effective relationships with colleagues from social care, CAMHS and most importantly parents, carers and extended families.

Maria leads the teachers in the development of highly specialist, individualised curriculum packages that re-engage our often highly anxious learners. She tirelessly monitors the progress of all and always ensures the highest possible aspirations are set for each and every person student in the school.

Jenny Blyth, Autism Lead

Jenny qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist 27 years ago and has always worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and autism in a variety of settings including schools, day provision, secure units and employment services. Jenny has had experience of training psychiatrists, psychologists, nursing staff and carers and providing workshops at regional and national conferences.

Jenny has worked at Newbury Manor School for three years and works very closely with the education staff to support the pupils' development of communication and social skills. Jenny is the Autism Lead at Newbury Manor School. This role is responsible for providing staff training to ensure we deliver the most up to date education for autistic children which incorporates the latest appropriate research.

Michelle Garstang, Regional Head of Care

Michelle is qualified to Level 5 and has worked in specialist autism care settings for many years. She has become not only a highly skilled practitioner but also a proven leader, often being called to support with other schools and homes who require high quality advice and support.

Prior to her role at Newbury Manor, Michelle was a Registered Manager in a children’s home, leading it first from pre-registration to a “good” Ofsted judgement and then later through a monitoring visit demonstrating “improved effectiveness.”

Michelle’s uncompromising standards and her attention to detail means the residential provision at the school is consistently judged by visitors as being of the highest quality.

Bridget Palmer-Waller, Referrals Manager

Bridget has worked at Newbury Manor School for over 20 years and been a member of the senior team for 16 of these. Beginning as a Teaching Assistant and working her way up to Deputy Head of Care, to her current role of Referrals Manager, she has a wealth of experience in supporting young people with autistic spectrum conditions and their families.

Bridget has seen first-hand the positive difference that Newbury Manor School makes to the lives of its students, and it is this that drives her continued commitment to the school.

Sue Witt, PA to the Principal

Sue has worked for Priory Education for 5 years, being appointed to the Admin Manager/PA to the Principal at Newbury Manor School in June 2015. Her background is in finance, office management and customer services. Previously to working for Priory, Sue worked for the Children & Adults Social Care Services for the Mendip area. Since joining Newbury Manor School, Sue has created an experienced and effective Admin Team; a creative and knowledgeable Catering Team; plus an efficient and hardworking Housekeeping Team. Sue is committed to the school, students and staff in working towards success and achievement for all.

Phil Van Gorph, Site Manager

Phil has worked within the Priory Group for almost two years, coming from an Engineering and Manufacturing background. His role is to oversee the Health and Safety of Newbury Manor School and other Priory sites in the local area. He also manages development of our estate and grounds to ensure the best possible accommodation for our young people. This can range from general refurbishment to a total change in use of premise.

Phil has qualifications in IOSH health and safety management which he obtained through Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service where he is the Station Commander at Frome Fire Station.

A commitment to comprehensive training

Staff at Newbury Manor School take part in extensive training, which starts as soon as they are appointed. We run a personalised, high quality, thorough induction programme. This supports staff throughout their probationary period and includes ongoing, regular and progressive training combined with specialist training. Staff at Newbury Manor School access training in a variety of ways, including:

  • In-house workshops
  • Full training days with internal and external specialists
  • Foundations for Growth - An award-winning on-line training facility offered by Priory Central Services, which covers:
    • ADHD awareness
    • Basic Life Support
    • Basic Medication training
    • Induction training
    • Care planning for young people
    • CBT training
    • Counselling skills
    • Confidentiality and data protection
    • Clinical risk assessments
    • Crisis management
    • Driver assessments
    • Disability Discrimination Act
    • Developing stories to support social understanding within ASD
    • Emergency procedures
    • Equal opportunities
    • Ethnicity
    • Every Child Matters
    • Food Hygiene
    • Fire Marshall Training
    • Fire Safety
    • Food Safety for Food handlers
    • First Aid
    • Infection Control
    • IOSH Managing Safety
    • IT security
    • Learning Disability Awareness
    • Leadership and Management award
    • Mental Health Act Updates
    • Mental Health and Learning Disabilities
    • Positive Ways of Challenging Behaviour
    • Prevention of Suicide and Self harm
    • Medication training for new staff/ post probation staff and senior staff
    • Safeguarding Children and Adults