Karla Bentham played by Jessica Baglow

Karla is a 16-year-old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome who initially found it difficult to make friends and fit in at Waterloo Road, having problems with understanding affection and dealing with physical contact. Her literal interpretation of simple instructions was the fuel for spiteful pranks and easy laughs. But, with the help of her dedicated teaching assistant Davina, and the eventual genuine friendship with Aleesha and Danielle, she finds her place at the school, albeit with a few uneasy moments. Although her condition may sometimes be challenging for her, she is noticeably very intelligent, and brings a refreshing directness to the school.

Maxine Barlow played by Ellie Paskell

Maxine has had a troubled background – but there was a remarkable turnaround in her fortunes when Steph Haydock agreed she could stay with her. Maxine is now back at school and is making progress, although she’s easily led astray by Janeece, and falls headlong in love with the psychopathic Earl Kelly, whose tough guy image is only dropped when he’s alone with her. Unfortunately, Earl can’t change and their relationship comes to an explosive end.

Janeece Bryant played by Chelsee Healey

Janeece is a loudmouth. She’s not afraid to start a fight if someone’s annoying her and can be seen as a bit of a bully, though she is fiercely loyal to her friends. She does have a soft centre but it’s hidden from most people. Best friends with Maxine Barlow, she’s horrified at Maxine’s latest choice of bad boy boyfriend, and finds herself distraught when Maxine’s relationship goes tragically wrong. Janeece has a heart of gold but a mind as malleable as putty, especially when it comes to potential boyfriends, and causes more than just a stir when she hatches a plan to enhance her attractiveness with a boob job.

Donte Charles played by Adam Thomas

Donte can be tough, mouthy and arrogant and hates authority, but he’s crazy about his young wife Chlo and was delighted when they got married. He’s forgiven her for her unfaithfulness, wants to be a great husband and goes out of his way to prove it. He’s a budding entrepreneur, even if this isn’t always on the right side of the law, and persuades Chlo they’re making enough money to go it alone in a flat of their own. However, he finds out that maxing out credit cards isn’t the way forward, and he’s in trouble, especially so when he finds out there’s going to be another mouth to feed before long.

Chlo Grainger played by Katie Griffiths

Chlo’s a bright girl who wants to do well at school but life has been traumatic for her, having to come to terms with the loss of her mum, Izzie, who was murdered in the school grounds. Looking for comfort and stability, she married boyfriend Donte Charles as soon as she turned 16, much to Tom’s horror. Despite a brief fling with her sister’s boyfriend, Donte and her relationship has grown stronger, and Tom has now fully accepted them as a couple. She’s determined to become a hairdresser, and Donte presents her with a rundown old van for a mobile hairdressing business, so she can start to fulfil her dreams, but this seems to be destined to fail before it really starts when Chlo’s horrified to find herself pregnant.

Rose Kelly (parent), new character, played by Elaine Symons

Rose (32) lived and breathed the mile radius around her council flat and, like most of the other girls around her, was pregnant by the age of 16 and again not a year later. Motherless and estranged from her boyfriend, Rose started to drink heavily and got herself a reputation for being easy. Both her daughter Sam and fourth child Denzil were products of one-night stands. When the council offers the family the chance to move to a bigger house in a different location, Rose sees it as an opportunity for a fresh start and agrees to re-locate. She loves her kids dearly and wants them to do well at Waterloo Road, but is rarely sober and abandons any attempt at discipline. However, Rose proves to be extremely clever, and Rachel knows she just needs to get through to this woman – if she can get Rose some qualifications of her own, she might just have the confidence to begin acting as a role model to her children.

Rob Cleaver (PE teacher), new character, played by Elyes Gabel

Rob Cleaver (26) is the new PE teacher at Waterloo Road – he’s young and charming, but extremely driven and competitive. Once a successful professional athlete, Rob’s hopes of representing Britain in the hurdles came to an abrupt end when he suffered an injury at the height of his career. He threw himself into his new profession with passion and vigour and quickly realised he had the ability to inspire and encourage kids, but still harbours a sense of resentment for his lost career. Jasmine finds Rob’s forceful nature compelling and, with her enthusiasm for sport, they quickly realise they have a lot in common and they soon get together. When Rob discovers Bolton Smilie has an extra-ordinary talent for boxing, he knows he’s found what he’s been looking for, someone he can live his sporting career through again.

Melissa Ryan (Head of Extended Services), new character, played by Katy Carmichael

Melissa is Rachel Mason’s younger, sexier, bubblier sister. Melissa’s heart is in the right place, but her endeavours have a tendency to goof up. She is a “Goldie Hawn-esque” kooky free spirit who has always sailed through life with an infectious joy and spark, but has never really stuck anything out for very long. The only serious relationship Melissa ever managed resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, but the marriage only lasted a couple of months. Classic sibling rivalry means that Rachel at once envies Melissa’s care-free exuberance for life, whilst Melissa believes she craves the authority and commitment Rachel has managed.

Jasmine Koreshi (English) played by Shabana Bakhsh

Attractive Jasmine (24) is bright, smiling and enthusiastic. Now in her second year, Jasmine returns with a new found self-assurance. She is a strong believer in doing things by the book – as she’s been taught at college – and her obsession with dotting every “I” and crossing every “T” aggravates some of the more laid back members of staff. For her part, she is frustrated by their willingness to let standards slip and isn’t afraid of raising her concerns with Rachel – there’s no way she’s going to be tarred with their brush. Jasmine is good mates with Davina and are each other’s confidantes. However, their friendship is severely tested this term as Jasmine becomes besotted with Rob, the new PE teacher, and Davina finds herself having to give Jasmine bad news about her new love.

Davina Shackleton (Teaching Assistant) played by Christine Tremarco

Davina began her career at Waterloo Road as former Head Teacher Jack Rimmer’s PA, and later lover, but when Jack left Waterloo Road and moved to Dubai, Davina threw herself into a teaching assistant role, taking special interest in Asperger’s pupil Karla Bentham. Encouraged by Rachel and Tom Clarkson, she has now embarked on a course to become a fully fledged teacher. It wasn’t long before she could no longer deny a growing attraction to Tom, and the feeling was mutual. Used to being a man’s top priority, playing second fiddle to Mika and Chlo took some getting used to, especially when they all began to live under the same roof – but the course of true love never runs smooth.

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