Lesley Falconer

Lesley Falconer

Lesley Falconer brings deep and broad experience in running outstanding schools in the independent and maintained sector. She has been a headteacher for the last 14 years, a senior school leader for over 20, and also a science teacher and university lecturer. Lesley was also an independent schools’ inspector. She gained a first class degree at King’s College London in Microbiology and carried out three years research at Queen Mary College.

Andreas Wesemann, Chair of Governors of Hackney New School, said on her appointment: “We are delighted to have found Lesley and believe that her exceptional track record and experience in leading schools with a diverse body of pupils will be extremely valuable for developing HNS as an outstanding school.”

Deputy Headteacher
Hugo Hutchison

Hugo Hutchison studied Philosophy and Politics at the University of Liverpool, after which he spent seven years working in book publishing and subsequently in film marketing.

He then decided upon a career change, and completed a PGCE at the Institute of Education. After a year teaching in Hackney, Hugo then moved to Pimlico Academy in Westminster, where he spent seven years including five as a senior leader and three as Vice Principal. Hugo has joined Hackney New School to help lead it to achieve outstanding outcomes for all of its students. As well as serving as Chair of Governors at a Hackney primary school, Hugo takes a keen interest in wider educational debate and politics; he also enjoys sports, especially rock climbing.

Assistant Headteacher and Head of History
Brian McGowan

Brian McGowan is a graduate of the University of Manchester where he gained an Honours degree in Modern Languages & Literature (Italian & French) after which he completed a PGCE programme at the University of Bristol.

A teacher of over 22 years experience, Brian has worked in large Sixth Form Colleges (Winchester, Hampshire), Schools with consortium arrangements (Camden, London) and stand-alone school sixth forms (Southwark, London).

In addition to Modern Languages, Brian has also taught AS/A2 level History and Government & Politics and has developed an extensive network of contacts with Higher Education providers and UCAS. He is originally from Derry in Northern Ireland and lives with his family in Islington.

Brian is Director of Sixth Form at Hackney New School.


Assistant Headteacher and Head of MFL
Ian Patterson

Ian Patterson is a graduate of the University of Nottingham where he studied French and Politics.

Having completed the Teach First programme in 2009, Ian was involved in setting up a successful new academy in London. He served there as Head of MFL for six years, playing a role in the development of the school from inception to full capacity.

Ian takes a keen interest in the development of innovative new schools and has served as a governor at two start-up academies in London. He has also worked as a School Director in Argentina and Mexico under the auspices of the Teach for All network.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Ian is Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for Teaching and Learning.

Jayne Voice

Jayne Voice

Jayne previously worked as second in Inclusion and a Music teacher at an Academy in Hertfordshire. She has taught Music up to A Level, the Princes Trust XL programme, the City and Guilds Employability and Personal Development Course, as well as teaching small intervention groups including the Penn Resilience Programme and directing the school’s production of ‘Our House’. Prior to specialising in SEN, Jayne was a Head of Learning for Year 7 and 8.

Jayne completed her PGCE in Secondary Music at the London Metropolitan University following her Music performance degree at the London College of Music and Media, Thames Valley University. In addition to this Jayne has completed a Masters in Education and more recently a National Award in Special Education Needs Coordination.

Jayne is also a Grade 8 vocalist (both with ABRSM and Rock School) and a Grade 6 Flautist.

Rachel Barnes

Director of Music
Rachel Barnes

Rachel Barnes has been a Head of Music for seven years and has taught secondary music (at key stages 3, 4 and 5) for nine years in mixed ability state schools in outer London. She is passionate about developing literacy and PLTS (personal, learning, and thinking skills) through music, as well as enthusing students about creative composition, performance, and improvisation. She is a mentor on the Music Mark Peer-to-Peer scheme, supporting other London music teachers in planning and delivering KS3 Music.

Rachel is a professional recorder player who has specialised in the performance of contemporary music: she has commissioned and premiered new works by young British composers. After reading Music at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Rachel studied the recorder at Utrechts Conservatorium, and then completed a Masters in Music (in Performance and Related Studies) at Goldsmiths College, University of London.


Minu Joshi

Head of English
Minu Joshi

Minu was the former Deputy Head of English and Key Stage 4 Coordinator at an inner city state school in London. She was educated at Soar Valley Community College and Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester. As an undergraduate, she studied English at Brunel University West London where she also trained as a teacher.

Minu led on promoting literacy and arousing a passion for reading by organising and implementing the Readathon across Key Stage 3, whereby students were sponsored money for the amount of pages they read. She helped to raise £1500 for the CLIC Sargent, Readwell and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charities.

She very much enjoys painting and has auctioned canvases to raise money for charity.

Head of Science
Alastair Hann

Alastair was Head of Physics at a successful inner London secondary school and as an outstanding physics teacher at one of the leading British curriculum schools in the world, Dubai College. His teaching is driven by the belief that that every student in his care must be challenged to discover and achieve their own individual potential and no child will be left behind. Learning is not purely academic achievement, but supporting every student to become responsible, independent and considerate citizens who aspire to be leaders in their chosen field. He constantly evaluates his own teaching techniques in order to best serve his students. He is a firm believer that a strong pastoral system is key to the achievement of students, and in the importance and value of providing excellent extracurricular provision to students to support and expand on their academic achievements.

Head of Mathematics
Mary Li

Mary read Economics and Management at Pembroke College, University of Oxford. She then completed a Teach First PGCE Programme and was graded as ‘outstanding’. Her interest in Economics resulted in her working as an Associate in Management Consulting at Price Waterhouse Cooper as well as completing a three week internship at Goldman Sachs in their Global Investment Research team.
Mary started her teaching at Parkwood Academy in Sheffield, quickly rising to Director of Mathematics. Mary had overall responsibility for whole school quality assurance leading to raising standards across the whole Academy.
Mary has a working knowledge of three additional languages and enjoys a range of sports including skiing, cycling and swimming.

Steve Darragh

Head of PE
Steve Darragh

Steve gained a Bachelor of Education, majoring in Secondary Health and Physical Education at the University of Canberra, Australia. He also studied additional units in Science and Psychology. He has been teaching in a wide variety of schools and colleges for the last 10 years most recently South Thames College, Merton.

Steve is also a qualified and experienced Science teacher, spending much of his teaching career as both a PE and Science teacher.

Steve’s sporting philosophy is about experiencing a wide range of activities, and this is reflected in his own sporting background which includes rugby, cricket, basketball, tennis, athletics, swimming, triathlon and handball amongst many other sports.


Head of Art Department
Amy Birchard

Amy Birchard is thrilled to be working with a truly creative team at Hackney New School. The Art and Design staff have skills in Graphic Design, Visual Communication,Textiles and Photography. Her own specialism is in Fine Art, Painting and Printmaking. Amy graduated with a First Class Honours with Distinction in Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art and gained her Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Glasgow.Amy has taught in various European cities, including Madrid, Rome and Milan. Experiencing different cultures and meeting other creative individuals has inspired her work and prompted her to oversee community projects and exhibitions. Problem solving, lateral thinking, empathy, collaborative working and innovation are all fostered in the Art projects and courses. The Art Department strive to prepare HNS students to lead diverse and interesting lives in the future.

Paula Brocki

Subject Leader of Core Studies
Paula Brocki

Paula previously worked as a Citizenship Teacher at an academy school in the London Borough of Bexley achieving 98% A-Cs in GCSE Citizenship. She was the leading member for literacy and behaviour for learning in her department. Paula oversaw the election and running of the student council, as well as the Bexley Youth Council elections.

Paula completed her PGCE at the University of Cumbria. Prior to teaching Paula was a Business Services Authority Manager for the NHS and has also worked as a programme leader for The Challenge Network leading and delivering the National Citizenship Service to 16-18 year olds. She spent a period of time abroad volunteering with youth international development charity Raleigh International. Paula works closely with a variety of charities in her spare time.


More Staff

For a full list of all staff, please click on the link below.

More staff.