Our Team

Directorate Management Team

David Reid David Reid David Reid

David Reid

Role:Chief Executive
Expertise / Specialism:Leadership and Management, Safeguarding Children and Young Adults
Additional skills and knowledge:Qualified Social Worker, Social Care, Local Authority Work, Disability Services, Human Resources
Qualifications:FCMI, MA, PG Cert Safeguarding, BA (Hons ) First Class, Dip SW

I have worked in children’s services for almost 30 years. During that time I have worked for three North West Local Authorities and a number of charitable organisations both in front line work and in management roles.

I am passionate about providing quality services that actually improve the quality of disabled people’s lives.

I was appointed as the Chief Executive at Birtenshaw in July 2006. Back then the organisation had been in decline for a long time and was on the brink of closing down.

I am delighted that with the dedication and hard work of the team the organisation has grown in size by almost 300% over recent years: we have increased the number of sites we operate from and now support more children, young people and young adults that at any time in the organisation’s long history.  Of course, this means we have also created over 250 new jobs in the local area.

Julie Barnes

Role:Deputy Chief Executive Operations
Expertise / Specialism:Leadership and Management, Special Education
Additional skills and knowledge:Care Services, Positive Behaviour Management
Qualifications:CMgr FCMI, M.Ed, NPQH, PGCE, BA (Hons

I have worked in children’s services for 28 years.  As a qualified teacher, I enjoyed a successful 20 year career in challenging mainstream schools finishing as a senior pastoral deputy with a track record of sustained school improvement in 2010.  I then held senior management roles in three national organisations providing specialist care and education services to children and young people with Special Needs and Disability.

I joined Birtenshaw in 2013 as Director of Education, based in the school in Bolton. Since then my role has developed and I now have strategic and operational oversight of all of the organisation’s education and care services across children’s and adults’ services.

I am proud to be part of Birtenshaw’s Directorate Management Team, a role that provides me with an opportunity to lead a forward thinking and visionary team and develop services for disabled people which are truly person-centred and which lead to  demonstrable positive outcomes.

Michelle Hinselwood

Role:Deputy Chief Executive Resources
Expertise / Specialism:Financial management and strategy
Additional skills and knowledge:Leadership and management, Human Resources, Estates management
Qualifications:FCA, BA (Hons )

I have worked in the charitable/not for profit sector for the last 20 years. My key responsibility is leading and managing an effective finance function by maintaining strong financial management and effective financial controls.
I have responsibility for Birtenshaws resource and asset base, these being money, people, property and information technology. These need to be managed to ensure the priorities of Birtenshaw are appropriately resourced.

Senior Management Team

Julie Burnett Julie Burnett

Julie Burnett

Role:Head of Service Care Services
Expertise / Specialism:Leadership and management within social care
Additional skills and knowledge:Train the Trainer
Qualifications:Diploma 5 in Leadership and Management, Safeguarding Level 3 & BSc Psychology and Law

I have previously cared for both my parents at the end of their lives and this has given me an invaluable insight into social care from a family perspective.

I have been employed by Birtenshaw since 2000, starting my career as a support worker before receiving a number of promotions, including Registered Manager. in 2015, I was appointed Head of Service: Care Services, overseeing Children and Adult Care Services.

Birtenshaw has enabled me to develop and expand my knowledge, passion and understanding regarding residential care which has led to my ability to provide empathetic and positive leadership strategies and support to ensure that the young people live life to the full.

Ryan Hardwidge

Role:Head of Service Enrichment, Recreation and Leisure
Expertise / Specialism:Sport, Physical Education, Project Development and Management
Additional skills and knowledge:Coaching, Mentoring
Qualifications:UEFA B, Level 3 Paediatric First Aid, I.C.E Teaching (Cricket, Athletics and Racket Sport), FA Equality and Diversity

After working in education for a number of years, I set up my own business coaching physical education in primary schools. I joined Birtenshaw in September 2015 as a Learning Support Assistant quickly being promoted to Activities Co-ordinator and now Activities Manager.

My work at Birtenshaw is varied and is split across the entire organization, planning and delivering P.E lessons for the School and College, planning educational and recreational activities for the Children’s Homes and managing Birtenshaw inclusive gym. I very much look forward to my future at Birtenshaw and feel very privileged to work for a truly amazing organization.

Karen White

Role:Head of Service Corporate Services
Expertise / Specialism:Business Administration
Additional skills and knowledge:Customer Services, NVQ Assessor
Qualifications:ILM, NVQ 3 Business Administration,. NVQ 3 Customer Service, D31/D32 Assessor

My background is Business Administration. I have achieved qualifications in Business Administration, Customer Service and NVQ Assessor. These qualifications were gained in previous employment. I have also gained Managerial Qualifications. I have been at Birtenshaw since August 2013, when I commenced employment as Assistant Administration Manager. The role has progressed and my job title is now Head of Service, Corporate Services. The role is very varied offering administrative support across the organisation and managing a team of Administration Assistants at Birtenshaw School Bolton and Birtenshaw College.

Kaylie Crompton

Role:Head of Service Bolton School
Expertise / Specialism:Secondary Design and Technology
Additional skills and knowledge:Managing Challenging Behaviour
Qualifications:BSc Product Design (Honours), PGCE Secondary Education with QTS

I started at Birtenshaw in 2013 and after working as a Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher at Birtenshaw School, I was honoured to progress onto the role of Head of School in June 2017. Although I do miss being in the classroom and teaching pupils day to day, I now have the wonderful opportunity to spend time with all the pupils and staff who make Birtenshaw School the amazing school it is. I am passionate about providing a quality and engaging curriculum for pupils with a focus on developing independence and preparing pupils for adulthood. I feel privileged to work for an organisation with so much passion and dedication for improving the quality of life for children and young people with a disability.

Ewa Diezek

Role:Head of Service Birtenshaw College
Expertise / Specialism:Post 16 Education, SEND and Autism
Additional skills and knowledge:PE teacher, Lifeguard, Inclusive Sport and Horticulture
Qualifications:MA Physical Education and Sport for Disabled People, Post Graduate Studies European Integration and Agribusiness and Rural Areas

I am a passionate and experienced teacher employed by Birtenshaw since 2008. I was initially appointed as a teacher at Birtenshaw School. In 2014 I was directed to teach at Birtenshaw College as a Lead Educationalist. In September 2017 I was appointed as a Head of Service. During my time as Lead Educationalist and Head of Service I have developed a number of initiatives which include, work experience placements, horticulture studies, animal care, life skills and inclusive sport activities to enable students to reach their full potential both academically and vocationally.

Karen Shepherd

Role:Head of Service Children’s Care
Expertise / Specialism:Ensuring positive outcomes for young people
Additional skills and knowledge:Evidence Based Research Practices, Train the Trainer
Qualifications:City and Guilds – Family and Community Care, NVQ IV – Leadership and Management in Care, Diploma level 5 in leadership for health and social care & Level 3 Safeguarding

Starting with Birtenshaw in 2002, I was a dinner lady and an evening support worker. Birtenshaw has supported me massively to develop my career. I have undergone continuous training and skills development allowing me to progress to the position of Registered Manager at Barley Brook Meadow Children’s Home, enabling me to have a greater impact in brightening the lives of the young people we support.

After a further development into the role of Deputy Services Manager, where I supported the Service Managers in overseeing all the Children’s Homes while continuing to manage Barley Brook Meadow Children’s Home. In early 2018 I have been promoted to Head of Service Children’s Care.

Front Line Management Team

Jennifer Greenhough

Role:Recruitment Manager
Expertise / Specialism:Recruitment, Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment
Additional skills and knowledge:Human Resources Policy and Procedure, Employee Engagement, Marketing
Qualifications:MSc HRM, BSc Business Management

Having gained valuable experience during my eight years working within a busy Human Resources Department within a Local Authority I decided to further my HR skills and knowledge so I undertook a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management.

My experience of managing the recruitment process for a busy children’s services department has enabled me to develop an excellent understanding of the requirements in ensuring Birtenshaw complies with Safer Recruitment Practice.

I strongly believe that the success of any organisation is very much dependent upon the team of people it employs which is where my desire to work within recruitment stems from. I very much enjoy working within a team of people who are dedicated to achieving Birtenshaws vision of ‘Brightening Lives and Building Futures’.

Kerry Sayers

Role:Human Resources Manager
Expertise / Specialism:Human Resources Policy and Procedure
Additional skills and knowledge:People Management, Training, Employee Relations, Customer Service Qualifications
Qualifications:BA (Hons), CIPD Level 5 in Human Resources, CIPD member

Prior to joining Birtenshaw in 2016, I enjoyed various Senior Management roles within the Retail Industry.  I gained vast experience in all aspects of people management and employee relations including employee development, recruitment, policies and procedures, to mention but a few.

Working for Birtenshaw has allowed me to carry on working with people and transfer my skills I have gained as a manager. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to such an amazing organisation and look forward to being part of Birtenshaw’s exciting and rewarding future.

I continue to pursue personal career development opportunities and have recently completed a Level 5 Diploma in Human Resources Management.



Elaine Kennedy

Role:Finance Supervisor
Expertise / Specialism:Cash management, budgeting, forecasting
Additional skills and knowledge:Training

With 35 year’s experience in Finance I joined the staff at Birtenshaw on the 01st August 2015. I was previously employed by Antler Luggage, based in my home town of Bury.

I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of working at Birtenshaw , which is proving to be a challenging, and rewarding change.

Karen Bird

Role:Training Manager
Expertise / Specialism:Adult learning, training and personal development.
Additional skills and knowledge:Trained Action Learning Facilitator and Coach. Management Development and Team Development. Resilience and Employee Wellbeing, Employee Communication and Engagement.
Qualifications:BSc (Hons), Post Grad Diploma - Human Resource Management, Graduate CIPD

I have spent the majority of my working life as a public servant in a variety of NHS and local government organisations across England. I changed careers and retrained in 2000 after becoming interested in Human Resource Management and have worked in learning and development ever since. Supporting others to fulfil their personal and professional potential is enormously rewarding.


Rebecca Taylor

Role:Teacher of Kestrels
Expertise / Specialism:Performing Arts
Additional skills and knowledge:SEN and Spanish
Qualifications:BA Hons in Creative and Performing Arts; PGCE in Performing Arts.

I joined Birtenshaw in September 2016 and I teach Kestrels class. I was a secondary drama teacher for 7 years, but I always had a passion to work with children with SEND. Since joining Birtenshaw I have realised this is definitely the right place for me. I use my background in drama to ensure that my lessons are creative, fun and as engaging as possible – seeing each child reach their potential is amazing.
The best thing about Birtenshaw is the fantastic team that I work with; there is never a dull moment and there is always someone to lend a hand. Also the fantastic students who make every day different. Seeing them achieve and try new challenges each day is so rewarding.

Elizabeth Ashton

Role:Teacher of Merlins
Expertise / Specialism:Modern Foreign Languages
Additional skills and knowledge:Phonics lead
Qualifications:Honours degree in Education and Inclusion; PGCE Primary Modern Languages Education with Qualified Teacher Status

In June 2016 I became Merlins class teacher at Birtenshaw school in Bolton. I enjoy planning creative and engaging lessons for the children I teach. I love watching the progress the young people make each day. Being part of a strong, positive team makes Birtenshaw an inspiring place to teach.

Emily Hetherington

Role:Teacher of Buzzards
Expertise / Specialism:Early Years
Additional skills and knowledge:Special Education
Qualifications:BA (Hons) Early Years Education with QTS

I started at Birtenshaw in September 2016 as an NQT in Buzzards Class. I trained as an Early Years teacher but have always had a passion for working in Special Education and have been involved in working with SEN from a young age. I absolutely love my role at Birtenshaw, the team is fantastic and the young people make every day amazing.

Leah Kemp

Role:Teacher of Goshawks
Expertise / Specialism:Primary Education
Additional skills and knowledge:Special Education Needs
Qualifications:BA (Hons) - Primary Education with QTS

My ambition has always been to teach those with Special Educational Needs. I joined the team at Birtenshaw in January 2016 as an NQT. My work at Birtenshaw is exciting and I love that every day is different. My job is extremely rewarding and my favourite part is seeing the young people achieve their goals and working amongst such a strong and dedicated team. I feel that working at Birtenshaw is more than a job, it is like having a second family.

Amy Standish

Role:Teacher of Kites
Expertise / Specialism:Literacy and Dance. NQT Professional Mentor
Additional skills and knowledge:Performing Arts
Qualifications:BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts, BA Hons Degree in Dance, PGCE, QTS Secondary English

I joined Birtenshaw as a Learning Support Assistant in October 2012. I qualified as a Teacher in July 2015 through the School Direct Programme and have been teaching the wonderful Kites Class ever since. I do my best to make my lessons as creative as possible, often dressing up as different characters and having fun in order to keep pupils engaged. I have a degree in dance, so I also teach whole school sessions, which work towards our amazing school productions. I started a new role in 2017 as a Teacher Trainee and NQT Professional Mentor. I enjoy supporting new teachers and sharing ideas with them. I find this helps me with my teaching and progression as well. No two days are ever the same and that’s why I love it so much!

Shaihzad Khan

Role:Teacher of Owls
Expertise / Specialism:Sports
Additional skills and knowledge:Special Education Needs and Science
Qualifications:BA Hons in Sports and leisure Management, PGCE in Sports with QTLS

I joined Birtenshaw school as a Learning Support Assistant in November 2015. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to become the teacher of Owls class in February 2016. My favourite thing about teaching at Birtenshaw is seeing the young people make amazing progress on a daily basis. I am also very grateful for the staff team I have working with me in Owls class.

Elizabeth Burke

Role:Teacher of Sparrows
Expertise / Specialism:Primary Education
Additional skills and knowledge:Numeracy lead and SEN
Qualifications:BA Hons Community Studies, PGCE Primary Education

I started at Birtenshaw in 2014 as an NQT. I qualified in 2015 and teach Sparrows class. I originally trained as a primary school teacher but I jumped at the opportunity to work at Birtenshaw and have never looked back. My favourite thing about Birtenshaw School is working with the young people and seeing them achieve amazing things everyday.

Registered Children's Homes Managers

Sabrina Morrow

Role:Registered Manager - Laburnum Park
Expertise / Specialism:Social Work
Additional skills and knowledge:8 Years experience at The Children's Society
Qualifications:BA (Hons) in social work studies

I originally trained as a Social Worker and graduated in 2011. I came to Birtenshaw in 2012 as an agency support worker. Since being at Birtenshaw I have gained a vast amount of knowledge and skills in a short period of time and have had the opportunity to develop and grow within the organisation.

Katie Tomlinson

Role:Registered Manager - Hondwith Close
Expertise / Specialism:Children's Services
Additional skills and knowledge:Change Management
Qualifications:Diploma Level 5 in Leadership and Management, Diploma level 3 in Children and Young People’s Workforce, Level 3 City and Guilds in Safeguarding

I began working at Birtenshaw in May 2010 as a support worker at Harley Avenue Children’s Home. I then moved to Birtenshaw Children’s Home where I worked as a Shift Leader/Senior Support Worker and key worker within Greenfields and Birtenshaw. In 2012 I was appointed Registered Manager Designate at Denstone Crescent Children’s Home. In August 2012 I was registered with Ofsted as the Registered Manager at Birtenshaw Short Breaks until January 2015. In addition to this I was also Registered as the manager of Birtenshaw Children’s Home in January 2014 until January 2015 and oversaw the Enrichment Programme. In January 2015 I was registered with Ofsted as the Registered Manager of Hondwith Close Children’s Home and oversaw the closure of Birtenshaw Children’s Home.

Samantha Brown

Role:Registered Manager - Aldercroft Ave
Expertise / Specialism:Children's services
Qualifications:Msc Psychology

After working in care for 11 years, I started with Birtenshaw in 2012 as a support worker in children’s services. In 2015, I became an OFSTED Registered Manager and have since managed two separate Birtenshaw Children’s homes. Working for Birtenshaw is truly inspiring, it enables me to use my knowledge and expertise to brighten the lives of young people facing difficulties.

Mark Brennan

Role:Registered Manager - Harley Ave
Expertise / Specialism:Mental Health, Train the Trainer
Additional skills and knowledge:SEND Provision
Qualifications:Diploma 5 Leadership and Management

I have been working at Harley Avenue for over three years now. I started working for  Birtenshaw as a Support Worker and steadily progressed to Shift Leader. More recently I have been supported to successfully apply to become Registered Manager at Harley Avenue Children’s Home and I am thoroughly enjoying this new challenge.

My previous experiences includes 12 years in mental health service.

Marie Dorsey

Role:Registered Manager - Denstone Crescent
Expertise / Specialism:Children's Services
Additional skills and knowledge:Train the Trainer, Train the Trainer in Safe Handling of Medication,Safeguarding level III & NVQ Assessors Award
Qualifications:NVQ II Direct Care, NVQ III Care, NVQ IV Health & Social Care, NVQ IV, Leadership & Management Diploma 5 in Leadership and Management

My Birtenshaw journey began in 1998, when I started as a support worker. In 1999 I was promoted to Head of Care Support, where I gained a wealth of knowledge working alongside the senior management team and health professionals.

In 2005 I was promoted to Deputy Manager, since then I have worked at Harley Avenue Children’s Home as Deputy Manager and then Denstone Crescent Children’s Home, where I currently work as Registered Manager.


Ryan Armitage

Role:Chair of the Board of Trustees

Angela Carus


Glenn Tomison


James Pilkington


Kathryn Brown


Michael Walmsley


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