Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Teaching Team

Hartlepool Sixth Form College offers wide range of subjects taught by a diverse group of teachers; the profiles of which may be found below.

Creative Industries

Andy Power

Tutor of Music Technology and Music Performance

I have a wealth of experience within the Music Industry as a Session Musician and Composer, including for TV and Radio, which also being a member of the Producers Guild of Great Britain.

During my time working on developing the software Vocaloid, I worked alonside artists such as Miriam Stockley and Stevie Wonder in L.A., as well as working on Mike Oldfield’s Light and Shade album. I was also an advisor on the original soundtrack of Paprika by Satoshi Kon where I worked with progressive Japanese electronic artist Susumu Hirasawa.

I was recently voted ‘Keep It Live’ Best Guitarist as well as the Best Blues Guitarist award, and was awarded Distinction while studying a Master of Arts in Creative Composition at Newcastle University.

Andy Power, Tutor of Music Technology and Music Performance

Dave Mackin

Tutor of Music Technology and Music Performance

I’ve worked as a professional musician specialising in Trumpet and Keyboards, playing a diverse range of music all over the UK from Blues Brother tribute acts and Ska Bands, to solo Folk/Acoustic work and Brass Band/Orchestras.

For the last 20 years, I’ve played with top North East band The Beer Pigs, gigging across the North. I’ve also produced and released 2 solo albums; and am in the process of recording a third. Before embarking on a career in teaching I ran a successful multimedia company specialising in Sound Recording and Live Sound, Video Production and Music Composition.

I hold a BSc (Hons) in Media and Music Technology as well as a Master’s Degree in Web Enterprise (specialising in the Music Industry). I’m a memeber of The Musician Union, and have a great amount of experieince in the legal and technical side of releasing music.

Dave Mackin, Tutor of Music Technology and Music Performance

Rebecca Brierley

Tutor of Performing Arts and Dance

I joined the department in 2015, as a specialist in dance and hold a degree in Dance from Sunderland University, specialising in Contemporary and Musical Theatre. Following this I acquired my PGCE in Post Compulsory Education.

I have recently choreographed work that was performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. I have also performed on stage at the Gala Theatre Durham and with JC Contemporary Dance company for charity events. 

I have loved being able to work so closely with students at the college to deliver the diverse range of performances we offer throughout the year. These range from intimate, contemporary performances to large scale musicals and theatre pieces such as last years’ We Will Rock You. I have also taught dance privately for a number of years as a member of the IDTA and as a teacher for Razzmatazz. I was also invited to work on the Dance degree at Sunderland university as part of my PGCE placement.

Rebecca Brierley, Tutor of Performing Arts and Dance

Richard Hunt

Tutor of Art & Design, Graphics & Photography

I have been at the college since 2012 and have taught across all the Art & Design disciplines, helping to combine and develop and number of different disciplines with students that I teach. I am currently teaching A Level Art & Design, Photography and BTEC Graphic Design.

I studied Graphic Arts and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University having previous completed a Foundation Diploma at CCAD. I have a passion for various art forms and enjoy the freedom and expeirmentaiton which can be undertaken within the subject area.

Alongside teaching, I have ran my own graphic design business since graduating from university. I regularly sell handmade sketchbooks, prints and photography internationally, from Australia to New York. I have also exhibited artwork in regional galleries.

I am a firm believer in the strong and varied skill set studying an Art based subject can offer, not only professionally but also as a form of perosnal devleopment and leisure. It is these skills I aim to install within my students who chose to study at HSFC.

Richard Hunt, Tutor of Art & Design, Graphics & Photography

Vicky Jackson

Programme Area Manager for Creative Industries

I have taught Performing Arts for 13 years. I trained in Acting with LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Drama) gaining an Associate Acting Diploma. I also hold a degree in English Literature and Education from Sunderland University as well as a Certificate in Education in Post Compulsory Education.

Before my career in teaching, I worked professionally for Release Theatre, performing at theatres across the North East. Release Theatre company worked closely with the author Terry Pratchett to bring some of his Discworld novels to life on stage. I played the part of Granny Weatherwax in the premiere of Pratchett’s “Lords and Ladies” and “The Wyrd Sisters.”

I continue to work as a performer, as well as appearing at UK music festivals Solfest and Willowman. I have material released on Freerange records working as a singer / songwriter. I am also a vocalist with Jazz musicians across the Tess Valley, including Middleborough Jazz and Blues Orchestra and Beauty and the Beats.

Vicky Jackson, Programme Area Manager for Creative Industries

Science and Maths

Penny Plows

Curriculum Developer for Maths and Science

I have been teaching A Level Maths and Further Maths for ten years, since graduating from Durham University with a PGCE and a BSc degree in Mathematics.

Previously, I worked in a secondary school but it is A Level teaching which is my passion – and working with the older age group is where I feel I have the most to offer. I have been an examiner for OCR and AQA which has enhanced her teaching and given me tips to pass on to students.

I am currently one of ten teachers from the North East who have been selected to be part of the nationwide ‘MEI and Casio Teacher Networks’ which involves trialling resources and supporting other teachers to develop their use of technology in A Level Mathematics, including the use of graphical calculators. As part of this programme, I have presented to teachers from across the region as well as to new teachers at the A level mathematics summer school in York.

Outside of teaching, I led the college volunteering trip to Ghana in 2013 where staff and students helped to build and refurbish classrooms as well as teach some lessons and play sport with local schools.

Penny Plows, Curriculum Developer for Maths and Science

James Donkin

Curriculum Developer for Maths and Science

I have taught at HSFC for 8 years, where I have been a personal tutor, Head of Chemistry and now Curriculum Developer for Maths and Science. Previously I have taught for 15 years in 3 others schools for a combined total of 23 years teaching experience.

I am a passionate teacher and particularly love using current technologies to support, motivate and hopefully inspire my students to take this amazing subject to the next level. I created the YouTube channel, MaChemGuy in 2013 to host a handful of tutorial videos for topics students always found difficult. Three years later and I have made over 400 videos covering the entire A level Chemistry specification, have 1.8 million views and over 8000 subscribers.

As part of my role as Curriculum Developer, I have supported staff in the use of current technologies in their teaching. I have also had the opportunity to present at the most recent national conference of the Association for Science Education at Birmingham University. More recently, I have delivered training to College Principals at their national conference and to staff at other colleges in the country. I was also a co-author on a published Chemistry journal which is referenced in one of THE undergraduate Chemistry text books.

I am immensely proud of the students I have had the pleasure of teaching in my time at HSFC. Thanks to the wonders of social media am still in touch with many of them and am thrilled to see the amazing things they have gone on to do!

James Donkin, Curriculum Developer for Maths and Science

Nick Blackwood

Tutor of Biology

I have taught A level Biology at Hartlepool Sixth Form College since 2014, and I have also taught Level 3 BTEC Application Science.

I have always had a sense of wonder about the natural world, and I love to share that appreciation of nature with my students. I like to explore how increasing our understanding of the world can expand that sense of wonder, rather than diminish it. I have a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Edinburgh, specialising in Zoology. After my first degree I then completed and MSc (Dist.) and a PhD. In Biological Anthropology at Durham University, where I studied monkey behaviour.

Before entering the teaching profession in 2008, I worked in science communication at Newcastle University and the Life Science Centre, Newcastle. My work encompassed a wide range of projects, from teaching divers marine biology to developing exhibitions about evolution and planetarium shows about the search for life on others planets.

Nick Blackwood, Tutor of Biology

Health, Childcare and Sport

Chris Hyndman

Academy and Elite Athlete Manager

Former England U18/20 and Northampton Saints rugby player, Chris is the elite athlete mentor in the college. Due to his elite level background Chris knows what it takes to reach the very top of your chosen sport. His ability to motivate and ‘pinpoint’ areas for improvement with athletes has helped guide many of the college’s alumni to where they are now with regards to their chosen sport.

Chris is also the head coach of the college’s rugby academy which has established itself as one of the best programmes in the area. His ability as a coach not only resides in rugby but across a range of sports where he challenges the athletes involved and creates an environment is which they can flourish. In recent years, academy graduates have gained elite sports scholarships to many higher education establishments such as Durham University and also to South Africa with the famous Natal Sharks Academy.

Tom Heselton

Tutor of Sport and Exercise

Tom is a Loughborough University Sports Science graduate and ex pupil of the college. Whilst completing his degree Tom worked as an assistant coach to the Loughborough Men’s and Women’s football teams.

Due to his skills and abilities, Tom was offered a role as Sports Scientist and Analyst to the Antigua and Barbuda Men’s International Team in their build up to the World Cup of 2014. On completion of this role Tom moved back to the area and is now the college’s sports Scientist, working specifically with all our scholars and teams in aspects such as strength and conditioning, preparation and recovery.

Tom also provides Physio and Sports Science Support to Hartlepool United Youth Team.