Dawn House School

Interactive Bar

The Senior Leadership Group (SLG)

Jenny McConnell, Principal



Jenny McConnell is proud to be the Principal of Dawn House School. She has over 18 years of therapy and education leadership experience, initially being Head of Therapy, leading an innovative team who continue to deliver a transdisciplinary approach to pupil's complex needs and is currently leading and driving the vision for the future of Dawn House School. She took over as Principal in 2017, having completed the NPQSL (National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership) and currently has responsibility for the strategic development of the school and also contributes to the wider work of Speech and Language UK. 


Jenny’s BSc in Speech Pathology and Therapy initially took her to work in the NHS, working with children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, young adults who experienced head trauma or had acquired neurological conditions and children in special education. Jenny spent some time on the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists management board representing the non-maintained sector and is currently a Trustee for NASS (National Association of Independent Schools & Non-Maintained Special Schools).  Jenny led safeguarding across the school for over 10 years and continues to be part of the operational and strategic aspects of this high priority within school, an aspect of school which remains significant in the school’s outstanding Ofsted outcome in 2023.


Ben Norman -  Deputy Principal 

Ben has responsibility for managing and ensuring the excellence of the educational programmes for all pupils at Dawn House. After graduating with a degree in Information Technology, Ben qualified as a teacher from Huddersfield University in 2012. He then worked in a mainstream secondary school teaching Computing and PE, alongside then joining the pastoral team as a Head of Year for several years.


Ben then moved on to spend a year working within the apprenticeships sector for a national provider, specialising in IT, Marketing and Accountancy qualifications.


In 2016, Ben moved into the SEN sector of education, working as a Head of Key Stage, IT Coordinator, Maths Lead and Careers Lead at a Derbyshire based school. Whilst there he spent time leading the Hub, a specialist provision which catered for pupils with a diagnosis of Autism which may have associated complex and /or challenging behaviours.

Ben was promoted to Assistant Headteacher in 2020, with a responsibility for behaviour and attitudes to learning across the setting.


Ben took up his position as Deputy Principal at Dawn House School in January 2023. He started his NPQH qualification in October 2023.

Jacinta Burke, Assistant Head Teacher


Jacinta has responsibility for KS3 and 4.  After a degree in Fine Art, Jacinta qualified as a teacher from De Montfort University in 1999 and worked in secondary education as a Head of Art , KS3 Coordinator and Transitions Coordinator for a number of years, before spending some time as SENCO and Assistant Headteacher in a Learning Centre, a role which included responsibility as a Designated Safeguarding Lead and a Literacy Coordinator.


Jacinta came to Dawn House School in September  2012 as an English Coordinator. She worked as a tutor in KS3 and 4 before becoming Assistant Headteacher. Jacinta also works as member of the Assessment Service team. 

Andrea Robinson, Head of Therapy and Assessment Service


Andrea qualified from De Montfort University in 2007 and worked initially for the NHS as a Speech and Language Therapist with a range of children from 0 to 18. During her time at the NHS she specialised in stammering and worked in specialist schools for children with ASD and communication disorders.


Andrea came to Dawn House School in December 2014 as an SLT Coordinator. She worked across the age ranges, starting in the Sixth Form, moving then to the Primary class, Chimes and KS4.  Andrea became Head of Therapy in April 2018 supporting and line managing the Therapy and Wellbeing Team in school.  Andrea completed a Level 5 course in Leadership and Management of Social Care and Children’s Services in December 2018.  Andrea is passionate about speech and language therapy and the wider impact of children's communication on their life chances and is the Trustee for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists for the north of England. 


Andrea has achieved many awards throughout her career including the Advancing Healthcare Award for putting speech and language therapy "Into the Limelight" and "Overall Winner" in 2012. 


Karen Lindley, Finance and School Business Manager


Karen Lindley MSc, CGMA is a Chartered Accountant (CIMA) with a degree in Oriental Studies from The University of Oxford (1986), a post-graduate diploma in Hotel, Catering & Institutional Management from Leeds Becket University (1988)  and a Master’s degree in Information Management & Finance from The University of Westminster (2001).

She completed a Level 7 Diploma with CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy)and ISBL (Institute of School Business Leadership) in School Financial and Organisational Leadership in March 2023. 


Karen has worked extensively in business - in finance, procurement and cost control roles in a number of major London hotels, and has significant work experience as Financial Controller for a management consultancy. She adds to the above experience an ISO Qualified Lead Auditor status in Information Security Management and Business Continuity.

She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), and serves as Treasurer to the trustee's board of local Nottingham-based charity Ignite! who encourage uptake of STEM subjects in schools.


She joined the school in August 2020 as Finance and School Business Manager and oversees the school business office including Finance, HR and recruitment, Procurement, IT, Site Management, Catering, and the administration and domestic teams.

She is currently engaged in study to obtain an NPQEL (National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership)