Our team

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Prof. Deborah Eyre
Founder and Chair

Deborah launched HPL in 2016. Her career has focused on helping students reach high levels of cognitive performance. She created the High Performance Learning organisation to engineer a system-change in educational thinking so that we start to accept that most people could be high performers and structure schools accordingly. A practical academic she has worked extensively with school leaders and teachers and advised governments and educational foundations in UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, USA and Singapore.

A global educational leader, academic researcher, writer and influencer Deborah has previously held senior roles globally and in the UK including, Global Education Director for Nord Anglia Education (2010-2014) and Director of the UK government's innovative National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY), based at the University of Warwick. A widely published author, her works cover books and articles and also think-tank pieces. Professor Eyre is a Freeman of the City of London and holds a range of board positions.

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 Angela Deavall

Director of Programmes

Angela is responsible for work with schools adopting HPL and is their key link until they complete the first accreditation. She has had a long term interest in HPL and has been involved in it from the start. Angela brings her wide experience of change management and leadership to the task of supporting schools through the crucial early stages of adoption. Formerly Head of Research at Ofqual, she has significant experience of change management and leadership spanning both public and private sectors. Angela has commissioned, coached and trained international teams, and worked with academics, ministries of education and corporate groups.



Dr Linda Rush

Global Director of Accredited Schools

Linda is responsible for the mature HPL schools who are part of the Fellowship and Global Community (FGC). Her commitment to practitioner enquiry informed by her own research into ‘Partnership Learning’ and evidence-based enquiry is key feature of the FGC. Linda joined HPL after seven years at GEMS Education as the Senior Vice President for the TELLAL Institute (based in Dubai). In this capacity, Linda led on the professional learning and development of school-teachers and leaders including those working in the public sector, globally. In establishing TELLAL, Linda drew on her extensive leadership and practice experience from being a headteacher in Liverpool, UK to leading on Teacher Education and Professional Learning at the University of Manchester.


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David Mitchell

 Commercial Director

David’s role as Commercial Director is pivotal in bridging the gap between business development and operations to achieve outstanding growth through operational excellence, strategic account management, stakeholder relationships & financial management. David was attracted to the HPL mission of everyone can be a high performer. David is a seasoned operator specialising in business development, service delivery, organisation change and transformation. Having worked for a large service company for over 20 years David comes with a broad experience of working throughout the UK and Europe.


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Kim Hawtin

 PA to Founder & Chair | Office Manager

As PA and Office Manager, Kim is a pivotal role within the HPL Core Team, our Schools and Associates providing structure and support to our operational business. Kim has a wealth of experience in schools and is an experienced PA, having worked with many Directors of Education and Principals. Prior to moving into the Education sector, she spent 10 years working in Advertising and 4 years living in the Middle East.


Melanie Saunders

Eleanor Gregory

 Programmes Manager

As our Programme Manager, Ellie oversees the smooth running of both HPSA and WCSA alongside the Fellowship and Global Community’s activities, working closely with our Directory of Programmes and Global Director of Accredited Schools. Ellie joined HPL having studied Business Management with Marketing in Bristol and was an active part of the student body.

Ellie finds listening to Heads/Principals and HPL Leads passionately discuss the differences and progression in their students to be the most rewarding aspect of being a part of the HPL Team.


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Melanie Saunders

 Chief Education Advisor

Melanie joined HPL during its inception and worked alongside the first cohort of World Class School Award (WCSA) schools, beginning their HPL journey in 2016. She has been key in the evolution of the WCSA programme and coached several of the pioneer schools through to successful accreditation. As well as inducting and coaching WCSA Schools, Melanie has been instrumental in the development of the organisation and the creation of new materials, approaches and programmes of work. She frequently presents both nationally and internationally, on the power and impact of High Performance Learning. Prior to joining HPL, Melanie enjoyed a successful career in school leadership culminating in the headship of an 11-18 school in Cumbria. She then moved to Hampshire County Council as head of school improvement, responsible for the standards in over 500 schools.


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Anne Howells

Associate Director


Anne was immediately inspired by HPL’s research and framework and her own school, BISS Norway, achieved the HPL World Class School Award in 2018. She now works across the suite of HPL leadership programmes and brings to them her first-hand experience of implementing HPL in a school. She believes that where teaching and learning practices are already highly regarded, HPL provides a vehicle for expanding opportunities to promote a first class and sustainable learning environment for every child. Anne brings over 20 years leadership experience gained in the UK state and international private sectors, including the establishment of an IB World School. She has supported headteachers and schools both in the UK and abroad, with a particular interest in promoting school improvement whilst recognising the value of supportive governance. Anne’s main driver is the promotion of creativity in our schools and embedding joy and enthusiasm in teaching and learning where, every child of school age will have the opportunity to be inspired and succeed.




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Carrie Beech
Associate Director

Carrie works with schools adopting HPL through the World Class School Award (WCSA) and the High Performing School Award (HPSA). A seasoned trainer, she brings over 30 years of teaching and leadership experience in primary and secondary education and is passionate about ensuring that every student is valued and supported to learn and thrive so they will succeed in adult life. She is inspired by the research and work of HPL and its potential to drive a whole system change in education. Carrie was Principal Adviser for leadership and professional development in Kent County Council and part of the senior leadership for school improvement and children's services. More recently she was the Director of a Multi-Academy Trust and led the development of one of the first National Teaching School Alliances.

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Dr Cathy Feeney
Associate Director

Cathy works with schools adopting HPL through the World Class School Award (WCSA) and the High Performing School Award (HPSA). She is inspired by High Performance Learning with its evidence-based and systematic approach to building the skills that enable students to perform at the highest level. She believes that where teachers see themselves as professionals, and take responsibility for improving the quality of learning and teaching, expectations are raised for students leading to a cycle of continuous school improvement. Cathy was a school leader in the UK for over 20 years has international experience in teaching and teacher education, gained through working with schools and universities in the UK, the US, China, Norway and Poland.

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Jamie Lawler
Associate Director

Jamie works with schools adopting HPL through the World Class School Award (WCSA) and the High Performing School Award (HPSA). He is a serving practitioner as an Executive Leader for a Multi Academy Trust since September 2018, having previously been a Principal in a secondary school in Doncaster which was ranked 1st out of similar schools under the previous and new performance measures, with the 2017 Progress 8 outcomes ranking in the top 4% of secondary schools nationally. Having been involved in leading significant school improvement in a number of settings, Jamie was designated as a National Leader of Education by the Department for Education.

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Helen Morgan
Associate Director

Helen works with schools in the FGC and coaches their senior staff. Helen is fully committed to the High Performance Learning philosophy and is passionate about building professional learning communities that create the conditions for learners to achieve both personal and academic success. With extensive experience of working in a range of UK and international contexts as a lead trainer, accredited coach and school improvement consultant, Helen is motivated by developing and investing people through the provision of high quality opportunities and strong support. Helen’s career has included senior leadership and Headship and she is now an advanced coach.


David Rowsell
Associate Director

David works with schools in the FGC and coaches their senior staff. David joined HPL after having implemented HPL in two of the schools where he was the principal. David is passionate about HPL because it foregrounds the idea that high performance is achievable by all, that education is about developing young people who are totally ready for change, college, career and citizenship and because it is based on a belief that we can trust our self-improving schools to be at the forefront of transformational change in outcomes for learners. David has led four schools in three countries over the last 20 years. In each of these very different schools, he has maximised the academic outcomes for young people while being ever mindful that truly great schools add so much more in terms of personal development for young people and outstanding continual development for their teachers and leaders.


Neil Thomas

Neil Thomas
Associate Director

Neil works with schools adopting HPL through the World Class School Award (WCSA) and the High Performing School Award (HPSA).Neil’s passion for education is centred around the philosophy that every child can achieve excellence. The ethos of High Performance Learning reflects Neil’s pedagogy, values and his belief that learning should actively involve both students and parents within the learning journey. Neil led the adoption process at World Class School Doha College and is well placed to support others in adopting HPL. The impact of the framework has been evident in all aspects of that schools’ community, with students, parents and staff fully embracing the philosophy. Neil is a dynamic leader of teaching and learning, with 14 years of teaching and leadership experience both in the UK and internationally.


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Rachel Tilden Walker

Associate Director

Rachel works with schools in the FGC and coaches their senior staff. Passionately committed to HPL and its mission, Rachel is a strong advocate of high performance for all pupils and of the importance of creating world-class schools. She is committed to the HPL philosophy and framework as it inspires teachers to deliver high performance for the many, through ongoing professional dialogue and transformational practice. Rachel is an experienced school leader, educational technology expert, and school improvement consultant. As an expert in education technology, her team leadership had centred on innovative software solutions, fostering creativity and collaboration.


High Performance Learning
Elmfield House
New Yatt Road
OX28 1PB
United Kingdom
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phone book 2 +44 (0)1993 222408