About Hawthorn Education

Hawthorn Education is an independent education provider dedicated to offering a specialised teaching service to young people who have difficulty accessing or maintaining mainstream education provision.  Large enough to make a difference and small enough to care.

We provide education throughout the North West and beyond, working in partnership with local authorities, schools, CRUs and healthcare trusts nationwide.

We excel in raising attainment and promoting the wellbeing of young people with complex and challenging social, emotional and educational needs.

Our professional teachers have the extensive experience and specialist knowledge required to work with young people, including those with special educational needs, with the aim of maximising potential.

Hawthorn Education Benefits


Our mission is to bring education to young people at any stage of learning.

DBS Cleared

All of our tutors are fully DBS cleared and have extensive experience within the teaching profession.

Education Package Implemented Immediately

We have a proud track record of delivering our education packages in an efficient and timely manner.

Individual Learning Plans

Hawthorn Education have experience with most of the major exam boards but understand that some pupils need a more practical educational bespoke experience which caters to their individual needs.

Keeping your Informed

Written progress reports are provided on a daily basis for all of our students.

Building Confidence

With all of our students we follow a structured and intensively managed process which is always focused on outcomes in order to build confidence and raise attainment standards.

A broad and balanced curriculum leading to nationally recognised qualifications

At Hawthorn Education, we provide access to the national curriculum and teach to a range of external examinations at a variety of levels, including GCSE, entry level certificates and a variety of QCF vocational awards, certificates and diplomas, which are all recognised nationwide by employers and colleges.

Our pupils access a wide range of subjects, including:

  • English (Literature and Language)
  • Science
  • History
  • Religious Education
  • Physical Education
  • PSHE
  • MFL – French/German/Spanish
  • Maths
  • Computing
  • Geography
  • Art
  • Citizenship
  • Food Technology
  • Land Based Studies

Our education packages are structured, carefully managed and focused on outcomes in order to build confidence and raise attainment standards. By working closely with local colleges, we aim to ensure successful transition to further education and or vocational study.

Meet the Team

Gillian Caton

Specialist teacher

I have been a languages teacher for over 20 years and have taught French, Spanish and German in several schools in Lancashire. I also have experience in teaching both English and Geography, and have mentored students who were unable to access classrooms.

I am passionate about teaching and love my job at Hawthorn Education, working with individual students and helping them fulfill their potential.When I am not working, I enjoy travelling and spending time in Spain. My German Shepherd and Golden Retriever ensure I have some daily exercise, and I also do Pilates every week.

Jacqui Feather

North West Area Manager

I am a qualified Primary School teacher with over 23 years experience. I have been working with Hawthorn Education for 2 years and I have just taken on the role of North West Area Manager.As a teacher, I have worked with young people across all key stages and I enjoy the daily challenges this brings. I love working 1-2-1 with the students as I am able to adapt my teaching to suit the needs of the individual.

During my time working in school, I was PSHE Lead and I regularly use the skills, resources and strategies I learned then to build positive relationships in my day-to-day teaching now. In my free time I love to spend time with my family and friends. I have a busy social calendar and I really wouldn’t have it any other way! I enjoy travelling – Italy is my ‘current’ favourite holiday destination. I’ve explored Venice, Rome, Florence and Lake Garda so far. Sorrento and Mount Vesuvius are next on my list. I also enjoy walking in the Lakes, reading and cooking when I get the chance.

Vicki Gale

Specialist teacher

I am Vicki and I have worked with young people of all ages and abilities, in formal and informal settings, for a very long time!
I am passionate about inclusion and working with young people who find themselves on the margins of society and so I am absolutely delighted to be working with Hawthorn Education where I am able work with students of all ages from very diverse backgrounds to help them to access the education they deserve. I believe strongly in teaching and learning that is centred around the student to support their individual needs, thus enabling them to achieve their full potential
When I am not teaching you will find me trying to “enjoy” Ironman triathlon which includes swimming, running, and cycling, playing competitive crown green bowls or at the local theatre or football ground.

Lesley Freeman

Specialist teacher

I have been a teacher for 20 years, predominantly in Primary Schools and I believe everyone has a right to education. When I am not teaching, most of my time is taken up with my family and friends. I have two teenage girls who keep me busy. I enjoy taking my two dogs for walks, watching football especially Preston North End, cycling and reading. I also enjoy completing jigsaw puzzles and sewing.

Levi Cunningham

Specialist teacher

I’m Levi and I’m new to Hawthorn Education. I have experience as a Primary School Teacher and I am currently enjoying my new role in one to one tuition. It is a privilege to work here at Hawthorn, where learning is centred around the child to support their individual needs and development. I believe each child can move towards future success and be the best person they can be, given the opportunity and nurturing environment.
When I am not teaching, I love spending time with my family and friends. Although, you will most likely find me running around after my toddler! I also like to keep myself busy by going to the gym, socialising and planning my upcoming wedding. I enjoy going on holiday, especially visiting new countries and experiencing different cultures. My favourite holiday highlight was watching the sunrise on the active volcano Mount Batur, in Bali.

Jim Silsby

Specialist teacher

I am a specialist in Science education, Physics being my flavour of choice, with a degree in Physics with Astrophysics and having recently completed a PhD in physical plasmas (the stuff stars are made of). I taught in the school classroom for five years, and have had a further five years – and counting – of experience as a tutor.

I enjoy board games with a growing collection from many different genres, and I enjoy nothing more than an evening in with some friends playing a board game or Dungeons & Dragons. I also love wild swimming, be it in a river, a lake, or the sea. Those are my steady interests, but I will try just about anything once and enjoy it.

Louise Hastewell

Specialist teacher

I have been a Specialist teacher of Mathematics for over 20 years and have held several different positions in school during that time gaining a wealth of experience
teaching pupils of all levels and abilities. I understand that importance of helping
young people to engage in education as this is key to improving their life chances
and future experiences.
When I am not teaching I spend lots of time with my family and friends. I enjoy yoga,
walking, hiking and generally being outdoors. I am also a keen cook, music lover and
am a very sociable person. I like to keep up to date with current affairs and I love to
travel and visit new places. Most of all I like to laugh.

Craig Holden

Specialist teacher

A teacher for many, many years, I particularly enjoy teaching maths and engineering, especially when combined with practical activities. I keep bees and hens, enjoy motorbikes and bicycles, and love taking my dog for very long walks.

Jenny Haygarth

Specialist teacher

I passionately believe in education for everyone. I have described my job with Hawthorn as the best job ever. I get to work with some amazing young people and can focus on what best supports them in their learning. I enjoy reading a variety of non-fiction, novels, autobiographies and poetry; and particularly enjoy writing poetry. With a sense of adventure and a huge desire to travel I chose to teach in International Schools in Asia and Africa. This has given me much more understanding of other cultures and religions, living and working in completely different continents was an amazing experience and I loved the tropical weather! Since returning to the UK, I have spent time volunteering in children’s centres and qualifying as a teacher of crochet.

I also regularly work as a Mountain Leader in the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and Peak District. My favourite activity is working with young people during their Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. I love seeing them engaging with the outdoors; learning new skills and developing their team work but also learning about their own qualities, particularly resilience and perseverance. I live in the country with my family and quite a few pets. I like to spend my time running and cycling in the fells and walking my dog, playing flute in orchestras, singing in choirs and relaxing with a crochet project, when I get time!

Samantha Herman

Specialist teacher

Hi, I’m Samantha and it has been an absolute pleasure working for Hawthorn Education and being able to provide students from diverse backgrounds access to the education that they deserve. I am a qualified teacher in secondary English education with experience teaching both English and Drama.
While working in a local high school, I took a particular interest in performing arts, running the weekly drama club and directing two school musicals. I left mainstream education last year to fulfil my life dream of teaching and travelling the world.
In my free time, I enjoy going for hikes in the Lake District with my friends and our dogs. In the evenings you can find me at a Zumba or Clubbercise class as dance is my absolute favourite way to exercise. To balance out all of that exercise, I love baking cakes and biscuits, using my recipes that I have been perfecting for many years.

Catherine Lambert

Student Support Officer

I have been working for Hawthorn Education for two and a half years now mainly dealing with all things admin. One size teaching does not fit all and during my time here I have seen first hand the difference our passionate and dedicated teachers have made to the lives of the young people they work with.
When I’m not at work most of my time is taken up taxiing around two teenage boys and walking a rather large German Shepherd! I have also just taken up jogging in the hopes of completing a 10 km run at some point this year to prove to myself and my children that you’re never too old to try something new.

Antony Smith

Specialist teacher

I have been a teacher for over 20 years in all sorts of settings, but mostly in the SEN sector. I am a specialist teacher for dyslexia/ SpLD and have a lot of experience in this area. When not teaching, I paint, draw or run, though not at the same time as the paint gets everywhere and ruins your shorts. I am a music nerd, like going to concerts and will often spend far too much money on vinyl. I am rarely seen without a pair of Clarks Originals.

Aisha Bangi

Specialist teacher

After many years of teaching, I can honestly say that it is extremely fulfilling to be able to inspire children to unlock their potential. I have come to realise the challenges that we face every day are worth every minute of a child’s positive progression. I want students to know that they have teachers that believe in them!
When I’m not teaching, I am kept busy by my family and friends. Having three boys means we are a football mad household and I find myself watching the boys play constantly. We enjoy hiking, walking, cycling and being outdoors and we are aiming to climb the Three Peaks this year. We like to travel as much as possible and make memories together.
When I am not busy with the family, you will find me in the kitchen. I like to cater in my spare time and trying out wonderful recipes from my growing cookbook collection.
I like to raise money for charities that are close to my family’s heart. My husband and I recently ran the London Marathon, which was one of the most challenging things we have had to do! We are hoping to run the Great North Run this year. Skydiving at 15,000ft for Down’s Syndrome Association was one of the most exhilarating things I have tried and will happily do again. I am an advocate for Down’s Syndrome and making sure all children are treated equally, with respect and have the same opportunities, no matter of their ability. I am raising awareness, alongside my youngest, one smile at a time.

Faiza Member

Specialist teacher

Teaching for me is not only about imparting knowledge but building meaningful and trusting relationships. I’m passionate about helping young people be the best they can and love what we do here at Hawthorn Education. When I’m not teaching, I love to be with my family; my husband and our son. We enjoy taking walks, cycling, but most of all exploring the world and making memories together.
Volunteering is also an important part of my life, where I support and work with vulnerable women and children in our community. I can’t forget, football and food! These play a huge part in my life too, if I’m not cheering on my son from the sidelines, I love to cook and experiment with new recipes!

Simon Bray

Most of my career has been in teaching Media, Film and Communication Studies and the side-lining of the arts and humanities continues to distress me!  In my spare time I like to defy the ageing process by still seeing as many bands as possible, my genre of choice is power metal (look it up).  I also love to travel and have visited some amazing places including Table Mountain in Cape Town, the Cape of Good Hope, Mandarin Bay in Singapore, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Great Wall of China.

Kerry Parker

Lancashire Area Manager

I am very passionate about teaching and it is my philosophy that every young person should have access to a quality education delivered in a way that suits their individual learning style. I can honestly say that I absolutely love my job, because I get to work with really great young people every day. Who else gets to say that?

In my free time I love a city break where I can wander around and check out the local history, Dublin and York being my favourite places so far. I also enjoy listening to live music and going to music events in muddy fields.

The most adventurous thing I have ever tried is paragliding!

Tim Milner

Operations Manager

I am an experienced teacher and passionate believer in child-led education.  My lead subjects are maths and science but I am also a bit of a techno buff and enjoy incorporating the use of technology to transform learning outcomes.

When not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading non-fiction books, listening to podcasts, and watching stand-up comedy.  I also like cooking, photography and of course, keeping abreast of new technology.

Caroline Mason


‘I created Hawthorn to fill an important gap in education: to give vulnerable children the attention, support, and learning environment they needed to grow in ability and confidence.  All of the team at Hawthorn share the same passion and drive, and are dedicated to providing a tailored learning approach to each individual student.

My personal time is spent with my large family, which is noisy but fun, in our old farmhouse with a menagerie of animals, sheep, lambs and hens to name a few; not forgetting an energetic collie dog and two rescue cats.’

Angie Letchford

Specialist teacher

It is such a privilege to work with Hawthorn students – they teach me, an educator and therapist – so much about perseverance through their resilience in a broken world. Alongside my vocation and calling to run an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Centre in Morecambe where I offer private therapy sessions as well as Equine Assisted Learning, for the last three years I have been an ordained Priest in the Church of England and am involved in a wide range of ministries in the church.

Joanna White

Specialist teacher

I’m Joanna and I have worked for Hawthorn Education for almost three years.  I have to say that it’s been a fantastic opportunity!  What I love about my job is the way it enables me to personalise my teaching and tailor it to the needs of the individual.  Working with young people brings such variety and no two days are ever the same.  When I’m not working, I love spending time with family and friends.  You’ll also find me out in the open air, walking or gardening when I have chance.

John Brookes

Specialist teacher

I have been a fully qualified PE teacher since 2007.  My main sport is rugby league which I have played all my life.  I am currently the head coach for the Cadishead Rhinos open-age rugby league team.  I left mainstream teaching in 2018 to set up my own sports coaching business called EdStart.  In my spare time I love to travel, especially to cold countries where I can ski and snowboard!

Sarah Johnson

Specialist teacher

I am passionate about helping children to develop to their full potential.  As an Assistant SENCo I feel it is important to provide a safe, stimulating and fully inclusive environment for all.  My personal time is spent with my wonderful family, often on skiing adventures.  I am blessed with two children and two cats, who keep me entertained.  I love music and can play a variety of instruments.  I have a passion for being active and enjoy sports and the outdoors.

Debra Skeoch

Specialist teacher

I have been with Hawthorn for three years now and enjoy working with vulnerable children who through no fault of their own, have challenges that require personal guidance and support – ‘Every child deserves to succeed.’
My family are a major part in my life.  I enjoy making wonderful memories with all four of my grandchildren; lots of lovely family fun times!
I recently acquired an allotment which is a challenge but great therapy for the body and soul.  Football also plays a major part in my life as a lifetime supporter of P.N.E!

Lindsay Dudley

Specialist teacher

Hi, I’m Lindsay. I’ve been teaching for over 20 years now and first and foremost see myself as a teacher of children, rather than a teacher of a subject. Over the years, I have taught mainly French, German, English language and literature, as well as PSHE and Spanish.I have been involved in scouting (the biggest youth organisation in the world!) for over ten years, and am a big advocate of ensuring that all young people, no matter what their ability or background have the opportunities to develop all forms of life skills.

I also believe learning is a life-long adventure. I love being outdoors, in nature and discovering the world around us. I hope I pass on my enthusiasm for learning, along with helping young people to become well-rounded, caring and compassionate individuals.