School to school support

National Leader of Education.

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Louise Nichols

Executive Headteacher
Kingsmead / Gayhurst / Mandeville Primary School

Louise Nichols is an Executive Head teacher of three Hackney primary schools: Gayhurst, Kingsmead and Mandeville. She has worked as a Head teacher in Hackney since 2004. Her first school, Kingsmead, became outstanding in 2011 and was designated a National Teaching School in 2012. Louise also became a National Leader of Education in the same year and she supports schools with leadership challenges and pupil premium reviews. Louise has a particular interest in initial teacher training and was part of a government policy advisory group focussing on recruitment and retention of teaching staff. Louise also works as a School Improvement Partner for Hackney Learning Trust.

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Kevin McDonnell


Kevin currently offers school-to-school support through:

  • bespoke mentoring and coaching to 4 heads/ senior leaders relatively new to role

  • support to establish research & development projects in 4 schools

After starting his career teaching physics up to A level, Kevin has spent the last 30 years or so teaching and leading in a variety of settings with students who have had difficulties in mainstream education. Since 2000 he has been Head teacher at Stormont House School, which became one the first outstanding schools in the country in 2005. He has worked as a School Improvement Partner outside the borough and served on the Learning Trust Board during an intense period of improvement in Hackney Schools. He currently chairs the Executive Board of the Hackney Teaching Schools’ Alliance (HTSA) and leads its Research & Development strand, with a particular interest in John Hattie’s ‘Visible Learning’ meta-research.