Meet the senior leadership team

Karen Hanley – Acting Headteacher

I grew up in Wiltshire, went to Reading University where I studied Economics and Sociology and initially trained as an accountant with KPMG.  In my mid-20s, I retrained as a teacher and lived and worked in Dorset for 10 years after qualifying as a teacher.  After spending 7 years as a Head of Department down south, I moved to Cheltenham to be nearer my friends and family and take up a job here at Bournside in 2005.  I have been very fortunate to have been able to work my way up to Deputy Headteacher having also spent time as an Assistant Headteacher and Head of Sixth Form.

Outside of work, my twin passions are tennis and travelling.  I am an avid tennis fan and love watching it live or on TV.  I have also travelled widely and am always planning my next trip. This year I have trips planned to Spain, Scandinavia and in October, I am back off to New York, my favourite city on our bi-annual Sixth Form trip to New York and Washington which I lead.

I love to read, and always have several books on the go. I sing and I love live theatre. I am a member of a book group and the Cheltenham Film Society, and can also be found occasionally treading the boards for the Leckhampton Players, a local am-dram society. I am also on the Committee of the Leckhampton Village Hall, as I am keen for such facilities to be preserved in our communities.

Mike Stratford – Deputy Headteacher

Having grown up in Gloucestershire I know how lucky I am to work at a school like Bournside. I have many fond schoolboy memories of battling the mighty Bournside on the rugby field – and not winning as often as I would have liked!

From a young age I knew that sport and teaching were going to be a big part of my future. Growing up I was lucky enough to have had a loving, supportive family and some wonderful role models who inspired me to complete my degree and subsequent teacher training. I have since spent fourteen happy years developing and nurturing incredible talent both in the classroom and on the sports field. Throughout this time I have had a range of leadership responsibilities and had the privilege of leading the thriving Sixth Form for 5-years. As a new Deputy Headteacher of the school I am a strong believer of high standards of behaviour and quality pastoral care, and take immense pride in leading on this aspect of our school provision. I believe that relationships among students and staff should reflect a positive and respectful culture and that every child has the right to a distraction-free learning environment.

Out of school I am a proud Gloucester rugby fan, but a prouder father to Darcy and Ben. Saturday afternoon rugby has been replaced with children’s swimming and karate lessons, kid’s parties and family fun, but I love it! I enjoy the outdoors and reading, especially biographies, leadership and military books.

My life as a teacher and father are hugely rewarding. I am extremely fortunate and wouldn’t want it any other way.

Will Penny – Deputy Headteacher

Maybe being born and bred in Somerset, fostered and developed my love of the outdoors and as such teaching Geography was written in the stars! As a child I loved school and for as long as I can remember always wanted to teach. My University experience in Liverpool was certainly an enriching one for a boy from Taunton and I loved every minute of my three years in a truly amazing city. That said the lure of the South West proved too great and I moved back ‘home’ to complete my PGCE at The University of Bath and now live with my wife and 1 year old daughter in Bristol.

For the past 14 years I have taught at St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon, most recently holding the post of Director of Sixth Form but also having been a Head of House in a vertical tutoring system. I can wholeheartedly say the system changed the school for the better immensely and it is a system I am incredibly excited to see become embedded at Bournside and do the same for our great school.

Away from the classroom it could be said that I am never happier than when ‘doing’ or ‘achieving’ something in the fresh air; be it walking on the South West Coast Path, skiing, surfing, playing golf or just out running or on my road bike – having ridden from Lands End to John O’Groats and completed marathons, my ambition of completing an Ironman in the near future still remains! I also play cricket for Old Bristolians Westbury Cricket Club. My love of sport also means I keenly follow my two beloved sports teams Somerset CCC and, I am sorry if it causes many readers offence, Bristol Bears Rugby where I am a proud season ticket holder! All of that said I also love reading, especially biographies, cooking and tending to the challenges my garden presents!

Put simply, I love my job as a teacher and can’t wait to learn all there is to know about what being a ‘Bournsider’ is all about!


Sally Lees – Assistant Headteacher


I was born in Cornwall and it was there that I completed my education until I was 18. From an early age I always knew I wanted to teach music and allow others to experience and enjoy all the opportunities i was given as a child. I then left the county to pursue my studies at Cardiff University. It was here that I studied Music for 3 years, graduating with a BMus (Hons) before embarking on my Teacher Training at Bath College of Higher Education.
I taught as a music teacher initially in Bristol before becoming Head of Expressive Arts in Cirencester. I joined Bournside in 2008 as Assistant Head. I recently embarked on further studies to gain the NASENCo award which has enabled me to become the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) for the school.

Away from school, I have my son, Ethan, aged 8, who keeps me very busy. He is a very keen rugby player which is great as I have followed rugby all of my life supporting Cornwall, Bath and England. My support for Bath Rugby though is coming home to haunt me now though, as my son is an ardent Gloucester supporter! It certainly adds fun to a day out at the rugby!

In my ‘free’ time I like to play tennis, watch live sport and listen to music. I love walking and exploring the countryside with my two black Labradors, Murphy and Molly.

Lucy Hemsley – Assistant Headteacher

Born and bred in Cheltenham, I completed my undergraduate degree at York University in History before spending two years working in magazine publishing in London. Knowing I wanted a change of career but not quite knowing in what field, I spent a year backpacking the world before settling in Mexico for a year to teach English. Once inside a classroom, I knew that was where I belonged! I returned to Cheltenham in 2012 to work at Bournside teaching History and Politics and have been here ever since! Alongside teaching, I completed a part-time Masters in Teaching and Learning at Oxford University, specialising in teaching the most able and also widening participation to the most competitive universities. I have been very fortunate to hold a range of responsibility posts in the school, joining the senior leadership team in 2018 and now have the absolute privilege of leading on teaching and learning.

Aside from school, I am a busy mum to my two-year-old son and, whilst travelling is more Butlins than Bolivia these days, gardening has become a new hobby of mine having recently built a vegetable patch – Monty Don eat your heart out!

Kevin Warren – Assistant Headteacher

I started my teaching career in South Wales having graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 1996 with a degree in Geography. Having worked in South Wales for 13 years I moved to Cheltenham Bournside School in 2009.

Outside of school, I have two sons aged 16 and 15 and I enjoy nothing more than taking them to their various sporting fixtures every weekend and watching them compete on a rugby or football pitch. Coaching rugby at Hereford RFC under 16s and supporting Wales in the Six Nations also gives me a huge amount of satisfaction. Away from the rugby pitch I am a keen runner and enjoy keeping fit and I have recently completed a double ultra-marathon in aid of Motor Neurone Disease running from Bath to Cheltenham. I am determined to ensure that this was not a one off experience and plan to run several more ultra-marathons in the future.

In addition to sport, I take pleasure in reading and I try and make time every evening to read for pleasure where I particularly enjoy reading autobiographies and thrillers.

Rob Waters – Assistant Headteacher

I am from a small village called Caerleon in South Wales where I grew up on a farm and went to school completing my A levels in Computing, Biology and Geography before moving onto University in Swansea. I spent three happy years there living by the sea, playing rugby and graduating in information systems.

First and foremost, I am a teacher of Computing and ICT, but since joining Bournside more than 5 years ago I have had a range of responsibilities that are predominantly pastoral.

Away from school and during the breaks I enjoy travelling around the world including Asia, America and anywhere I can ski. When in this country you will find me taking my dog on as many walks as she can get me on and spending time with family. Reading brings me pleasure, as it allows me time away from screens; I especially enjoy autobiographies. I am also a lover of many sports including golf and squash and have a lifetime season ticket for an unsuccessful rugby team in South Wales!

Paul Lockyer – Associate Assistant Headteacher

I graduated from the University of Bristol in 1996 with a degree in Economic and Social History, before spending four years working in marketing and finance in the South West. I found giving training sessions to others the most rewarding part of my job, so I went back to my old university to train as a teacher. I started my new career in South Gloucestershire in 2000, delivering a range of subjects including Sociology and Careers. I moved to Bournside as Head of History in 2005 and have loved every minute. The fact that so many students have a real passion for the past has made it a delight to teach here. Whether it be honouring the Last Post at the Menin Gate; listening attentively in freezing conditions to the horrors of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp; or perfectly adhering to the 2 minute silences at our annual Remembrance Day Ceremony, Bournsiders know how to respect those who have given so much to us. I never cease to feel proud of our students as a whole community.

At home, my main interests are my family, running, reading and Liverpool FC. I have run four London Marathons and over thirty half marathons, including Cheltenham five times, and raised money for organisations such as the Brain Tumour Charity. Some of you may have also seen me running for CLC Striders at local parkruns or at the Prince of Wales Summer track meetings, when I have sometimes been competing against students! I love reading historical and fantasy novels, such as those by Conn Igguldon, Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin, as well as more traditional histories, such as Antony Beevor’s ‘Stalingrad’. I have a wife and two sons aged 4 and 7 who also keep me busy. I try to take the eldest boy to Anfield whenever I can get hold of tickets, whilst the younger one prefers playing ‘Super Heroes’ and will regularly launch himself at me dressed as Superman or Groot!

Matthew Gray – Associate Assistant Headteacher

Growing up in the city of Cleveland, Ohio in America, I was an open-minded youth who certainly didn’t anticipate the direction my life would take. My desire to understand the world led me to study Philosophy at the University of Maryland, yet it was my desire to improve the world, which led me to teaching. Having spent a year on exchange at the University of Bristol, I fell in love with Britain and consider myself incredibly lucky to have found a career where I can give back to the young people of the country. I am also very proud of having recently achieved my British citizenship, having lived in the UK for over 12 years.

My greatest joy in my life is my daughter Lottie, who has just started primary school. She can always help me to find the excitement in the little things in life, such as laughter, dancing and discovering new things. She also reminds me of my core purpose in helping others, as I know that every student we come across is just as important to his or her loved ones as she is to me.

In my spare time I am an avid follower of sport: especially football, American football, surfing and basketball. I also enjoy a wide range of music and can sometimes be found practising my guitar in Bournside’s Music department. I have always had a passion for learning and have gained a huge amount of insight from my Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies at King’s College London.