Our team

Deborah is Founder and Chair of High Performance Learning. 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 global educational leader, academic researcher, writer and influencer Deborah has previously held senior roles globally and in UK as well as advising governments and educational foundations in UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, USA and Singapore. From 2010-2014 she was Global Education Director for Nord Anglia Education and prior to that 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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Simon O'Grady 

Chief Executive Officer

Simon O’Grady is CEO and an experienced international school leader. He has worked in five schools on four continents and has led three outstanding British international schools in Egypt, Malaysia and Mexico.

He holds three academic degrees, including an MSc in Educational Leadership. He has served as a governor of two UK state schools and is a school inspector with the Independent Schools Inspectorate. 

His professional commitment to HPL stems from a deep-seated belief that all children are capable of great things and that HPL provides proven mechanisms for learners to be successful at school.

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 Angela Deavall

Director of Programmes

Angela is an influential CEO with vision and experience, spanning public and private sectors. Formerly Head of Research at Ofqual, she has significant experience of change management and leadership, Angela has commissioned, coached and trained international teams, and worked with academics, ministries of education and corporate groups. 
A natural pathfinder, delivering strategic programme design. Angela is an inclusive leader with superb communication skills with strong collaborative team working.



Dr Linda Rush

Global Director of Accredited Schools

Linda is joining 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.

She will bring to HPL her knowledge and expertise of working globally with teachers and leaders as well as her experience of working with regulators and schools. Her commitment to practitioner enquiry informed by her own research into ‘Partnership Learning’ and evidence-based enquiry will add to and extend our work with Accredited Schools in the HPL Fellowship and Global Community.


Melanie joined HPL during its inception and worked alongside the first cohort of Award schools, beginning their HPL journey in 2016. She has been key in the evolution of the Award programme and coached several of the pioneer schools through to successful accreditation. As well as inducting and coaching Award 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. HPL has allowed Melanie to reflect upon her wide experience and bring new insight and determination to support schools and school leaders as they implement effective organisational change and make high performance for all their children a reality.



Priscilla Cosgrove

Schools Partnership Manager

Priscilla has been working within the education sector for 3 years at ISC Research, where her clients have been education suppliers and universities serving English speaking international schools.

Before that, she spent 20 years working as a Chartered Physiotherapist, it was here that she first learned of the brain's neuro-plastic potential and having seen first-hand the powerful effect of how harnessing the brain’s incredible ability to adapt and relearn post brain injury, is now excited to see how the latest science and evidence in this area, can be utilised and applied in education. She is passionate about education and learning and loves bringing out the best potential in her clients. 

As Schools Partnership Manager, she will be combining her experience in education, coaching and relationship building to grow HPL’s philosophy and framework via partnerships with education suppliers and schools.


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Jamie Powis (ACIM)
Head of HPL Online 

Jamie is Head of HPL Online with a focus on leveraging technology to embed High Performance Learning within our growing community of forward-thinking schools. Jamie has long had a passion for bringing positive opportunities to young people; he started his career running a charity that raised aspirations and confidence through radio, and subsequently helped launch a multi-million-pound youth facility in the West Midlands. Jamie was inspired by the High Performance Learning movement and its commitment to supporting all students to become high performers regardless of their background or progress to date.

Jamie has worked with market-leading companies within the education, charity and commercial sectors to deliver creative and effective digital resources and communications.

In 2014, Jamie won an Arqiva Commercial Radio Award for his work on a hugely successful digital advertising campaign to increase brand awareness and engagement. Most recently, he worked with Coventry University to support student recruitment, reputation and brand building for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

 Aggie is Executive Assistant to the CEO and Business Support Lead. A key point of contact in the team, she works from the office in Witney, UK, and engages with schools, associates and the HPL core team.

Aggie is a firm believer in a philosophical education for all and was inspired by HPL’s mission to grow great minds. When the opportunity came to join the team, she realised her experience as a PA and events manager could be used to aid HPL’s journey forward and she could be part of a passionate team of likeminded individuals in exciting times.

Aggie is a client focused administrator who for over ten years has worked in charity, business and education. When time allows, she volunteers for her local wildlife rescue and continues to improve her spoken Greek.

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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.



Carrie 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 works closely with schools on our Foundation Programme to help them implement the HPL principles and practices. 

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. She has also worked as an Associate with the National College of Teaching and Leadership across the East of England. As a Trust Director she stepped in as an interim headteacher in a challenging school before setting up her own education consultancy.

An accredited trainer and coach, Cathy 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 has international experience in teaching and teacher education, gained through working with schools and universities in the UK, the US, China, Norway and Poland. She was a school leader in the UK for over 20 years and led a unique partnership to promote teacher and curriculum development across 10 UK secondary schools. More recently, she worked as part of the leadership founding teams at two bilingual schools in China; and participated in the research and development of professional networks to promote teacher collaboration in Norwegian schools. 

Cathy works to guide and support schools on their journey through a variety of HPL programmes and is contributing to resources and materials to challenge and underpin the development of HPL in partner schools.

Jamie 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. In June 2017 Ofsted judged the quality of provision to be good.

Jamie has also held an Executive Principal role within a large Multi Academy Trust which saw him work with various secondary schools within the South Yorkshire and Humberside area, which involved him working directly with Principals to secure school improvement and positive student outcomes. 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.

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. 

She started her career as a secondary school English teacher and her interest in pedagogy led to her completing a Masters degree in English Education at The University of Leeds. As a National Strategies Consultant, Helen was part of a team that led the implementation of English and Literacy at a local level. This led her to senior leadership and Headship where she successfully achieved the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers.

David joined HPL after having implemented in two of the schools where he was the principal. He supports schools undertaking a variety of HPL programmes and also contributes to the development of the organisation’s resources and materials which will inspire, challenge and support schools at different stages in their development of an HPL culture.

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’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 is a dynamic leader of teaching and learning, with 14 years of teaching and leadership experience both in the UK and internationally. In his role as Vice Principal of Teaching and Learning at Doha College, a leading British international school, Neil led the implementation of the HPL programme. As one of the eight HPL pioneering schools, Doha College was the first to achieve the prestigious HPL World Class School Award in 2018. The impact of the framework has been evident in all aspects of the school community, with students, parents and staff fully embracing the philosophy. 

Working as an educational consultant, Neil is determined to nurture and support educational communities in developing and embedding a High Performance Learning culture.


Rachel Tilden Walker January 2020

Rachel Tilden Walker

Associate Director

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. An experienced headteacher, she transformed a failing infant school into a thriving and successful primary, through radical curriculum redesign, building a new team and securing external investment for new opportunities for learning. As a school improvement consultant, she supported schools through new building designs and in managing change, to achieve unique and inclusive learning environments. 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