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. He has been a Board Member of COBIS since 2008, with eight years as its treasurer, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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.

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.


Melanie Saunders

Melanie Saunders
Director of Quality Assurance and Accreditation

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.



Dr Rebecca Glass

Head of Schools Liasion

As the Head of Schools Liaison, Rebecca’s role is to ensure ambitious schools have every opportunity to adopt the High Performance Learning philosophy and transform the lives and learning of their students. A strong communicator and relationship manager, Rebecca has previously collaborated with international stakeholders in the USA, Canada, China, and South Africa to deliver project results within the academic and charity sectors; and is committed to the growth of the High Performance Learning educational movement, both at home and overseas.

An academic researcher with experience in teaching and engagement; Rebecca feels aligned with the High Performance Learning vision of improving the confidence and skills of every student to enable their success. Having herself had a challenging childhood, she has consistently enhanced the aspirations of young people in her ongoing roles as a STEM Ambassador and Champion for the British Science Association and Microbiology Society respectively. Delivering inspiration to young people through school learning and public events, Rebecca subsequently went on to undertake her QTS training and is well-placed to understand the value of HPL in the classroom.


Dr Andrew Lee

Regional Director, Middle East

Andrew has been based in Middle East for a decade. He has supported the opening and growth of 15 schools in the region. Prior to consulting, he was Global HR Director for Gems education, one of the world’s largest providers of private education. Gems was a former client of the Center for High Performance, a Chicago based consulting practice which specializes in research and training, where Andrew was President. He also served as Senior Vice President of Capital Values International for four years in the Middle East and Australia, helping to launch and grow an education support brand.

Originally from the UK, Andrew has considerable consulting experience, specializing in organizational development, change and leadership. He has worked with clients in education, energy, banking, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, technology and retail, and has consulted with McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group. He was a board member of the UNITE Group, one of the UK’s leading 200 businesses, and chairman of a high-tech biometrics firm in England. He is a Director of ArtsEd International, the UK’s leading performing arts school, under the presidency of Andrew Lloyd Webber and consults to various entities within the University of Cambridge, including the faculty of education. Andrew has master’s degrees in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management and a doctorate in Organizational Change. 


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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.

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.

Julie works with schools on the HPL Foundation Programme. The belief that all pupils can achieve highly is at the heart of Julie’s practice and the High Performance Learning philosophy is perfectly aligned with this ethos. 

An experienced educator, Julie has over a decade as a teacher, middle leader and deputy head. She has worked across many different settings from state secondary to international schools, with her main expertise lying in prep education. 

Julie is a board member for SATIPS, a member based professional support body for teachers, schools and teaching assistants in independent schools in the UK and worldwide, and a trustee of a MAT.

As an educational consultant, she has delivered CPD and INSET training, sat on boards in advisory roles, created engaging content for corporate partners and supported teachers. Julie’s areas of specialism are varied and include curriculum, creative lesson planning and coaching and supporting leaders.

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.


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