Mr John Towers, BA (Hons), MA, PGCE, NPQH, FRSA, FCCT
John has 30 years of experience in the education sector following degrees in History and in Mathematics Education. He has been the Head of three successful schools. John led his last prep, Homefield in London, to its first ‘excellence’ rating, before joining Barrow Hills in 2023. John’s prior career has included a tour as a School Improvement Adviser for schools in London. He was also the founding Director of Education of the charity ‘Reach to Teach’, establishing schools to transform the lives of tribal children in rural India.
John has sat on the Independent Schools Exam Board, advising on humanities. He is committed to innovative and creative education as a Fellow, and Trustee, of the Royal Society of the Arts. John is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching.
Mr Paul Crisell, BA (QTS), MA
Paul is the longest serving member of the leadership team, bringing over 25 years of passion and commitment to Barrow Hills. He began his career as a Year 3 class teacher and progressed to Head of Middle Prep at Barrow Hills. Across the last decade, Paul has served as Deputy Head, and has also stepped up as Acting Head.
Paul has overall responsibility for all aspects of pastoral education and care. He is also our qualified, and experienced, Designated Safeguarding Lead.
In academics, Paul remains a committed and enthusiastic teacher. He takes Religious Education with Years 4 to 6 and Theology, Philosophy and Religion with Year 7 and 8 and also regularly assists with our sports fixtures.
Barrow Hills has been a huge part of Paul’s family life. His father is an ‘old Barrow Hillian’ and his two children attended the school. Paul’s wife, Mrs Livvy Crisell, has been part of the teaching faculty for 16 years as well.
Mr Jon Hinds, BA (Hons), PGCE
Jon is an experienced school leader having worked in a number of Prep and Senior schools in the UK and in New Zealand. Jon came to us in 2020 from a senior post at another Surrey independent. He is a passionate educationalist with publications on digital literacy, assessment, computer science, robotics and engineering. From living on a remote island in New Zealand, Sustainability is another interest of Jon’s, and he has introduced this as a curriculum subject at Barrow Hills. Jon enjoys his time on the sports field, coaching Rugby, Football and Cricket and was a competitive swimmer in his youth and loves helping in the pool with the children, when his timetable allows. Music is another passion and Jon plays a number of instruments, was a chorister and can be heard playing Last Post on the bugle on Remembrance Day in the school chapel.
Mrs Lesley Barnett, BSc (Hons), PGCE
Lesley has been teaching for 15 years and worked in preparatory schools since 2010, including Rokeby School and Tower House School. Prior to joining Barrow Hills, she was Head of Junior School at Tower House School and previous roles to date have included Head of Year, Assessment and Enrichment Coordinator, DDSL and PGCE mentor. Lesley is keen to ensure all our children develop a love of learning and develop as independent learners through the diverse range of opportunities presented to them within a supportive and nurturing environment.
Ms Amber Tyrrell, MA, BA (Hons), dipLCM
Amber’s career in independent education spans the preparatory age range and beyond. Having a passion for leadership, over time, she has coordinated aspects of the pastoral curriculum and teacher development in several schools. As a Director of Music, she led and taught from Reception all the way to GCSE. Amber joined us in 2021 and has used her Masters in Leadership and Management to further develop the capacity of Barrow Hills’ teaching faculty. Amber is highly motivated to develop the skills needed to build resilience and independence, along with a love of learning, in children. She recently took a mental health qualification to further support our children and colleagues.
Mrs Luisa Mason, BA (Hons), PGCE
Luisa has thirty years teaching experience including tours of duty in Brussels, Dublin and Gibraltar. She first started working at Barrow Hills ten years ago when her two children joined the school as pupils. Luisa then moved up to lead as our Head of English and Drama. More recently, as Head of Upper Prep, she extends her focus to our older children. A key part of her role is ensuring that every child develops a love of Drama and she is passionate about supporting all children in class and directing school productions.