Meet the Staff

Kerrie Whelan

Head Of School

Kerrie has over 25 years’ experience of working with young people who have disengaged from education, initially qualifying as a Special Education Needs Careers Adviser then Careers Teacher, Kerrie decided to focus on behaviour within school settings and with a master’s degree in SEND, spent 15 years on the Senior Management Team of a large, all age Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).

Kerrie is committed to supporting students to regain their confidence in education and belief that they can be successful.  After training to deliver  Resilience Programmes of Learning America, her passion for promoting positive mental health was evident in the partnerships she developed to establish a large network of Mental Health Champions, leading to named personnel within schools who were trained to facilitate change. 

Timetabling the teaching of skills for life to enhance core curriculum subjects such as Mathematics, saw Kerrie’s work on Teaching Financial Capability recognised when she became the lead of the first PRU in the Country to achieve Centre of Excellence status, with published work including that in the field of SEND as well as resources for those not in education, employment or training. 

Lesley Wood

Deputy Head Of School (Personal Development)

With over 20 years of experience working with secondary school children from across the County Durham area, Lesley has worked within a variety of settings including, mainstream, SEBD, SEMH and Alternative Provision. She has a particular passion for  restorative approaches, supporting students who present as having complex needs and ensuring that all young people feel safe, valued and respected. Keen to make a difference through her use of MECC (Making Every Contact Count), Lesley is committed to providing a nurturing environment in which students can thrive as individuals, achieving not only academically but also socially and emotionally.  Promoting kindness and resilience, along with teaching personalised coping strategies Lesley is keen to empower the young people and families she works with the skills to build and maintain healthy relationships, contributing to a positive culture whether that be at school, home or within the community whilst keeping themselves and others safe. 

Jonathan Greenall

Deputy Headteacher (Teaching & Learning) / SENDCO

Jonathan has 18 years teaching experience within mainstream, PRU and alternative settings.  He has spent much of this time supporting young people with special educational needs, mental health issues and behavioural difficulties.  Jonathan is a qualified teacher of dyslexia and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENDCo). He is an experienced SENDCo and has supported students in this role for 15 years within all of his work settings.  At the PRU Jonathan was science subject lead as well as being key stage 4 progress lead improving progress for students.  He is passionate about supporting young people achieve their potential so that they may overcome barriers and be successful in their next stage of life. 

Deb Wilson

Head Of Administration / PA To Head Of School / Exams Officer

Deb has worked in the Education sector for over 20 years in a wide range of administration roles.  Deb trained as a Personal Assistant supporting various Directors within Local Authority settings before moving to education to support School Governance in 2002. This was followed by a move to East Durham College where she provided admin support to a team of Vice Principals before moving to Endeavour Academy to manage the school’s administration and exams.

Emma Wilson

Receptionist / Administrator

Emma has over 20 years’ experience working in Customer Service including working for the NHS across two busy GP surgeries as a medical Receptionist/Administrator.  Bringing forth the ability to manage front desk settings in addition to managing a variety of administrative and clerical duties providing excellent customer care and communication skills in a professional environment.

Laura Stock

Teacher / Assistant SENDCO

Laura attended The University of Sunderland, and earned a 2:1 BA Hons in English Literature and Creative Writing, following on to gain her PGCE and qualified teacher status. Laura has some experience in teaching in mainstream education, but fully believes that this kind of provision provides the kind of education she wants to be a part of. Laura is passionate about helping learners achieve to the best of their ability, and promotes a ‘can do’ attitude.

Alison Pattison

Family Liaison Worker

Alison has over 30 years’ experience of working with young people, initially qualifying as a Youth and Community Worker.  Alison has a wealth of knowledge and experience to deal with a wide range of issues. 

Alison has worked in East Durham for several years, building positive relationships with external agencies to provide interventions which support families. 

Louise Brewer

Careers Lead

Louise attended East Durham College to pursue her career in Performing Arts when leaving school. Continuing on from this, Louise attended The University of Sunderland where she gained her BA Hons degree. In 2017 Louise went on to study her PGCE where she specialised in SEN – this is Louise’s first professional job working in a school. Louise is as bright in the classroom as she is on stage.


Gillian Setterfield

Learning Mentor (Wellbeing & Attendance)

Gillian has worked with learners with a range of abilities and needs. She has a good knowledge of Autism, ADHD, ODD and has level 3 in Counselling skills and a good knowledge of life skills.

Steven Christian


Steven has studied Crime Scene Science at Teesside University graduating in 2010, the subject lends itself to many applications of science and maths. Steven has worked as a science teacher since 2011 in a variety of schools in the North East with a wide range of students. Steven uses his passion for the subjects in the classroom to express the importance of these subjects in many career paths and to develop a wider interest. Steven promotes an attitude of “doing your best” with students he works with and not comparing themselves to others. Outside of school Steven also has interest in games (board/card/miniature), these interests have helped him get involved with and create extra-curricular clubs within the schools. These clubs have been invaluable at helping develop student’s social, literacy and numeracy skills.

Dr Valerie Cornish


Valerie’s background is in biochemistry, having studied for a degree and doctorate during the 1990s. This was followed by hands-on developmental biology laboratory research both in the UK and USA.
A career break and subsequent career change have seen her recently gain her PGCE in secondary science. She is dedicated to engaging pupils with the world around them and demonstrating how science is relevant on a day to day basis by using a creative and imaginative approach to teaching science.

Michael Cullen


Michael specialises in teaching students with learning difficulties and disabilities, achieving his PGCE with Distinction. He has experience of working in mainstream, PRU and alternative provision schools and believes in a diverse, engaging and student-centred curriculum that promotes inclusion and achievement. Sport is a big part of Michael’s life, be it watching or playing. He has utilised this passion in various job roles within education, providing extra-curricular activities for both staff and students, promoting health and well-being. Michael prides himself on bringing out the best in students.

Ruby Hopkinson

Learning Mentor / LSA

Ruby has 20 years’ experience working in a variety of Early Years, Primary and Secondary schools in Scotland and England, working with students and families with many different additional needs such as ASD, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. Ruby has gained her HNC in Early Education and Childcare at Edinburgh College, and also completed many training courses on SEND, challenging behaviour, and mentoring in the classroom during her working career.


Georgia Beers

Learning Mentor/LSA

Georgia attended Sunderland university and gained a BA Hons degree in Dance. She has worked as a performing arts teacher at PQA for 5 years teaching students of various ages. Georgia is excited to work with all the students at Endeavour Academy.

Sherri Taylor

Learning Mentor/LSA

Sherri attended Teesside University, gaining a BSc in Sociology and an MSc in Criminology. She then went on to work within a specialist SEN school and has experience of working with a wide range of learners, especially those on the autistic spectrum and individuals with ADHD.

Paul Robinson

Learning Mentor/LSA

Paul has worked in education for over 30 years, including working for the Department for Education and for a large multi academy trust. Paul works at Endeavour as part of the pastoral team with a focus on promoting engagement in lessons and encouraging positive behaviours with all students. 

Paul is passionate about his role and wants every student to achieve their full potential.