This week sees the opening of a new secondary school in Hackney. The Hackney New School (HNC) is based in Downham Road, just round the corner from Currell’s Hackney office.

HNA is a free school with a focus on music. Ten places each year will be reserved for pupils with an aptitude for music. The remainder are to be divided between children from surrounding areas.

All children will study music up to GCSE level. Programme Director Philippa De’Ath believes that music offers real benefits to children. “It enhances not only academic rigour but also confidence and self-esteem,” she says.

Head teacher Lesley Falconer says that as well as the emphasis on music the aim is to provide children with a rounded education. “Because of the size of the school, we can focus very much on the individual, and have a particularly tailored education for each student,” she says.

A feature of the school is that it is hoping to be able to offer every student a mentor. Lesley wants students to widen their horizons so that they can follow the careers of their choice. Mentoring is seen as an important part of this. “We want to encourage local people from all career paths and interests to become mentors,” she says.

The school will be holding an information evening about the mentoring scheme. If you would like to be put on the invitation list, please get in touch with school. You can find details on their website –

The school opens with 100 children in year 7, based in a newly renovated building. Plans have also been submitted for the extension of the school onto an adjoining site in Kingsland Road, next to Currell’s office. These plans include new sports and music facilities. The planning hearing for the extension is due to take place on Monday 9 September.