The board of governors of Hackney New School (HNS), comprising the secondary school and the primary school (Hackney New Primary School/HNPS), is responsible for the strategic oversight of the multi-academy trust. This role has three main elements:-

  1. Ensuring that the vision and strategic direction of HNS and HNPS are clear and pursued consistently by everyone who works at the school;
  2. Working with the headteacher to monitor educational performance at HNS and HNPS, and the performance management of staff;
  3. Monitoring the financial performance of the trust and making sure its funds are well spent.

The board’s responsibilities are in many ways similar to those of other maintained schools and its functions are set out in the same statutory instrument that all state schools are bound by (The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013). The main difference to maintained schools is that HNS’s board, like that of other Academies and Free Schools, is the admissions authority for HNS and the employer of all staff at the school.

All governors, except the headteacher, are appointed for a period of four years. Provided they remain eligible to be a particular type of governor, they can be re-elected at that point. The board generally meets at least four times per year. In order to discharge its responsibilities most effectively, the board has constituted three sub-committees – the HNS Committee, HNPS Committee and a Finance & General Purposes Committee. While these committees have primary members, all governors can attend meetings of the committees. Committee meetings generally take place 7-10 days prior to board meetings.

You can find more information about our governance arrangements here:-

1. An overview of the trusts’s governance structure

2. A list of governors, their attendance record and outside interests

3. The terms of reference of the three board committees

4. Articles of Association

The founders and other HNS governors understand that access to high-quality information is very important to current and prospective pupils of HNS, their parents as well as teachers and other educational services providers. The minutes of all board and committee meetings are therefore available on request, excluding all confidential matters. Any questions about the governance of HNS should be addressed to the Chairman, Andreas Wesemann. This is best done by contacting the PA to the Headteacher, Colette Corbin at info@hackneynewschool.org.


Hackney New School is an academy, supported by the Hackney New School Academy Trust. HNS is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT), meaning that it can support more than one academy school, e.g. a new primary school.

A MAT is a group of academies that are governed by a single academy trust. MATs can create and delegate decision making powers to local governing bodies, to run individual academies, but the members of a local governing body are not automatically classed as company directors or trustees (DfE guidance (June 2013)).

The essential principles of the model are that no schools are left behind, it involves no external business sponsorship and there will be no change to the distinctive nature of any of the schools in the Trust.

HNS became a MAT following consultation with staff, students, parents and the community in December 2014.

What are the benefits of being a MAT?

The list below highlights just some areas where shared governance and collaborative working could secure an improved educational experience for all local children:

  • We can open a new primary school which will be a feeder school for HNS, and allow children to be educated with us from age 4 to 19
  • We will have economies of scale when it comes to purchasing goods and services
  • Collaboration for better learning – pedagogy, curriculum design, assessment
  • Staff development
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Legal Services
  • Governance arrangements

Are there any disadvantages to becoming a MAT?

As a MAT, the central board of directors will be accountable for any other academies that join the MAT, not just Hackney New School. This means increased responsibility. However, as part of the conversion process, the Governing Body will ensure that careful decisions are taken to ensure that the right governance structure and systems are in place to successfully operate more than one academy.

There is more information about MAT academies on the DfE website:

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, or on the DfE website, please email info@hackneynewschool.org who will try to assist.

Andreas Wesemann

Andreas Wesemann is one of the co-founders and Chairman of Hackney New School. He is a partner of Ashcombe Advisers LLP, a corporate finance firm. Andreas was born and raised in Vienna and has lived in England for over 20 years. He read economics at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and the London School of Economics and is the publisher of Chronicle of a Downfall. Germany 1929-39, a book about inter-war Germany. He lives in Hackney.

Phillippa De’Ath

Phillippa De’Ath is Vice Chairman of HNS and Chief Operating Officer of an education technology company. She was the project manager for HNS in the year prior to opening in September 2013 and, as such, responsible for the day-to-day management of the project. She has extensive experience in helping organisations implement change in technology, organisation and culture. Her current interest lies in how data can be used by teachers, parents and leaders to improve education outcomes. She lives in London Fields with her husband and daughter, and read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University. 

Sophie Solomon

A co-founder of HNS, Sophie Solomon is a violinist and composer, who has recorded as a solo artist for Decca and performed with artists as diverse as Paul Weller, Rufus Wainwright, Ralph Fiennes and the London Symphony Orchestra.  As a musical educationalist, she has taught at the Royal Academy of Music and Weimar Conservatoire and was, from 2012-2016, Artistic Director of the Jewish Music Institute, University of London. Sophie is also Senior Director of Creator Engagement leading the global marketing team at (Hackney-based) pioneering music technology start-up, ROLI. She has a First Class degree in History and Russian from University College, Oxford and an MSc in Economic History from the London School of Economics. She lives in De Beauvoir with her husband and two children.

James Clements

James Clements is a freelance writer, researcher and education adviser. Prior to this, he worked as a teacher and senior leader at an outstanding inner-city primary school and as a local authority lead teacher, supporting teaching and learning across a network of schools.

John McIntosh, CBE

John McIntosh joined the board of HNS in 2016. He was Headmaster for almost 30 years of The London Oratory School, an all-ability school for 1,400 boys, aged 7 to 19, in central London. Before and since his retirement in 2006 he has been an active adviser to many organisations and government on educational matters and projects. He is presently Vice-Chairman of Council of the University of Buckingham and was Chairman of the Commission on Assessment Without Levels, which published its report in September 2015.

Siobhan Campbell

Siobhan is the Headteacher of Hackney New Primary School, which she has led since it opened in 2015. Prior to that, she was the Deputy Headteacher at a successful primary school in Camden. With her leadership input, the school improved rapidly and was judged by OFSTED as ‘Outstanding’ in February 2014. It has been recognised as one of the top performing schools nationally, notably for the achievement of its disadvantaged children. Siobhan has considerable experience across a variety of schools and organisations in the private sector. She has supported schools in a range of ways including mentoring school leaders, staff professional development and speaking at regional conferences.

Shantella Campbell

Shantella Campbell is a parent governor. She is a technical colour director and a teacher for students who are studying for an NVQ in hair. Her professional experience includes managing a busy city salon, assessing and marking assignments, and supporting and guiding students to develop their goals and to achieve their targets effectively.

David Norris

David is chairman of the ROBUS Multi Academy Trust and an Executive Lead for Ambition School Leadership, which is building a network of exceptional school leaders across England and Wales. Following a successful career in the military, David has developed significant board-level experience in public affairs, leadership and change, and has delivered board effectiveness reviews across Whitehall and the corporate & non-profit sectors. He is a frequent consultant to government.

Beverley Gardner

Beverley is Deputy CEO of Trinitas Academy Trust. As well as being part of the Strategic Leadership Team for the Trust, she is a Trust Executive Principal responsible for the quality of education across the secondary and primary schools within the Trust.

Alex Crossman

Alex Crossman is the Head Teacher of The Charter School East Dulwich. He has been in post since September 2015.

Prior to joining The Charter School East Dulwich, Alex was Vice Principal at Ark Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, which he helped to become a ‘Good’ school. Teaching is Alex’s first calling but his second career. Previously, he was the founding chief executive of a global educational consulting group for the world’s largest private schools operator. He was also a managing director with worldwide responsibility for strategy at Deutsche Bank AG.

Alex has degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the UCL Institute of Education. He is married with two sons and two dogs and lives in East Dulwich

Mary Li

Mary is the Headteacher of Hackney New School and was appointed to this role in March 2018. She read Economics and Management at Pembroke College, University of Oxford. She took particular interest in Macroeconomic topics, including International and Development Economics.

Her interest in Economics resulted in her working as an Associate in Management Consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mary also completed internships at Goldman Sachs in Global Investment Research and separately, in Investment Banking.

Mary started her teaching career at Parkwood Academy in Sheffield, completing the Teach First Leadership Programme in 2013. Mary quickly rose to Director of Mathematics and subsequently took on responsibility for whole school marking and feedback as Assistant Head for Quality Assurance. She lead on raising standards across the whole Academy. She joined Hackney New School in June 2016 and has made an impact in her role as Assistant Head (Academic). 

Andreas Wesemann, Chair of Governors of Hackney New School, said on her appointment: “Mary is the best young senior leader that I have come across since we opened HNS in 2013 and the board is highly confident that she will do an outstanding job as Headteacher of HNS.”