Halton Behaviour Support Service (HBSS)

About HBSS​ and Meet the Team – Staff Biographies

About the Halton Behaviour Support Service (HBSS)

The Service has been set up with the purpose of supporting all children and schools in Halton in managing behaviour in a positive way; supporting pupils, schools and parents with meeting the needs of pupils who exhibit challenging behaviour; those who require additional support to meet their Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs and to provide cohesion and consistency of practice within schools and across the Borough.

HBSS welcome contact from schools to support the needs of learners and to develop the school staff’s ability to manage the challenging behaviours displayed by some of our young people

All initial email contact should be sent to hbss@halton.gov.uk

Emails will then be addressed by the most appropriate member of the team

Our Statement of Purpose explains our remit and scope for involvement

Vanessa Nice

Vanessa has 20 years’ experience in primary settings as well as some experience in secondary SEN settings. She been a Headteacher in a number of settings and has led a school facing significant challenges in Cambridgeshire; changing its behavioural culture & ethos as well as having a positive impact on standards and curriculum. She has experience of developing successful behaviour policies and strategies, supporting staff with developing inclusive classroom practices and environments. Having worked in SEN outreach, Vanessa has a good understanding of the varying additional needs facing pupils in both primary and secondary settings.

Vanessa also has a good understanding of legislation surrounding Mental Health in Schools, behaviour and School Exclusions. She can provide training on these matters to all members of the school community.

Vanessa is qualified as a National Educational Leader in Mental Health, Mental Health First Aid (Adults & Youth) and as a Team Teach Intermediate Trainer and is currently undertaking an MBA and Masters Level Apprenticeship in Educational Leadership and Management.

Kirstie Birmingham

Kirstie has over twenty years of teaching experience in all primary age year groups, working in both mainstream and SEN settings. She has worked in many different local authorities throughout the country both in England and North Wales. Kirstie has excellent classroom management and has helped schools improve their approach to behaviour management by leading whole school initiatives, developing staff competence in de-escalation techniques and educating staff in pedagogy for successful behaviour management. Kirstie has a wealth of experience of working within a leadership team to develop systems and approaches to support children and their families who display challenging behaviours.

Kirstie is knowledgeable in assisting children with SEND as she has worked very closely with many learners over the years to help them to overcome their barriers to learning and supported staff to plan quality first teaching and intervention provision for SEND pupils. Working as the primary lead at a school for children with EBD, gave her extensive involvement with multi-agency working to effectively support children and their parents to help secure improved outcomes.

Kirstie feels very privileged to be working with schools in a supportive role to impart her knowledge and experience to help teachers of the present and future to develop a toolkit of behaviour strategies that will support them as their career grows. Kirstie is an instructor in Mental Health First Aid (Adult & Youth) and is a Team Teach Intermediate Trainer.

Marion Bowerman

Marion has over 26 years of teaching experience in Secondary schools, with over 14 years successfully combining the role of Year Team Leader and Head of the Personal Development Curriculum. She has excellent classroom management, and an ability to develop reflective learners with strong self-management strategies. Her ability to build positive, trusting relationships with learners, staff and parents/carers, coupled with her passion to make a difference to the lives of young people, is an overriding strength.

As a leader, Marion has led and implemented a number of whole school initiatives improving the learning environment for staff and learners. She has experience in driving whole school change in ethos, procedures and policy, with regard to behaviour. The associated training packages, from whole school INSET to bespoke coaching sessions, have been sustainable and highly rated.

Before joining Halton Borough Council, Marion completed a business qualification and went on to create an Education consultancy business, with a partner. This enabled her to harness her passion for providing help and support to schools, teachers and other organisations, mainly delivering training. This included work with Edge Hill University, training teachers in Cheshire and NQT’s and RQT’s, as part of an Ignite programme.

Marion is delighted to have been appointed to this service and given the opportunity to support the secondary schools in Halton.  She is a Team Teach Intermediate Trainer and an instructor in Mental Health First Aid (Adult & Youth).

Helen Denton

Helen’s background is as Head of Care in a residential EBD school supporting children with SEBD in both Residential and day settings, working closely with parents, schools, and other professionals to ensure children reach their personal and academic potential. She has a HNC in Social Care Management.

Helen has worked as a CSW in Halton for the past 10 years. She now works for the Behaviour Support Service as a Family Liaison Officer, supporting parents of children with early signs of SEMH and she works collaboratively with schools and any relevant agencies. Helen is trained in Nurture practice and the SOLIHULL approach to learning.

Helen is currently involved with training Mid-Day Assistants to up skill them in managing pupil behaviour, understanding the importance of play and raising their profiles within the school.

Phil McSpiritt

Phil has worked for Halton for 10 years as a community support worker supporting children and their families to help offer advice and strategies to improve attendance and behaviour. During this time he has made many positive professional relationships with the majority of the schools in Halton and worked collaboratively with other agencies.  Previous to this he gained experience of working in a SEBD setting helping to support children in care who presented with challenging behaviour.

Behaviour Support Resources



Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) Training & Booking Forms


MHFA Training Dates

MHFA Adult in-person

MHFA Adult Online

MHFA Youth in-person

MHFA Youth Online

At Risk of Exclusion

School Behaviour Toolkit and Checklist
Behaviour Leads and Pastoral Leads events

20.10.21 1.30pm-3.30pm
25.01.22 1.30pm-3.30pm
26.04.22 1.30pm-3.30pm

04.11.21 1.45pm-3pm
27.01.22 1.45pm-3pm
28.04.22 1.45pm-3pm
23.06.22 1.45pm-3pm

Pastoral Leads
23.09.21 2pm-3.30pm
12.11.21 2pm-3.30pm
17.02.22 2pm-3.30pm
28.04.22 2pm-3.30pm
16.06.22 2pm-3.30pm