Where our voyage began

Catriona Maclay founded The Hackney Pirates in 2011.

Catriona was a teacher in North London. She realised that some of her pupils needed more support than she and her colleagues could offer during the school day.

Living locally, she knew that Hackney is filled with wonderful people who would be able to help. So in 2010 – along with fellow conspirators, and supported by local charity Bootstrap Company – she ran a pilot project.

Our founder Catriona Maclay

She was determined to build a programme that focused on supporting schools.

And helped children catch-up, and made use of local people and resources along the way.

The programme focused on reading and writing, while also working to increase children’s self esteem as learners, and their ability to keep on going when things get tough with their school work. Local children, parents, teachers and volunteers agreed that there was space for some pirate-style learning in Hackney, and The Hackney Pirates was born.

In January 2014 we moved into our dedicated learning centre (Ship) in Dalston and five years later, we launched our second Ship in Tottenham, Haringey.

In 2020, we set sail on the virtual seas.

When the Covid pandemic hit, we realised we need to keep on teaching, so we built our virtual ship in two weeks, and offered weekly activities during lockdown. Since Sept 2020 we’ve delivered live lessons online. We’re now on an adventure to reach even more children with our fantastical virtual programme.

Form assembly

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