Oakhurst Grange School

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working alongside Deborah Leek-Bailey as an ISA colleague for the last 10 years. Deborah has served the Association with great distinction during the whole of this period and indeed prior to my joining. She has held Executive Office including that of Chair and latterly Vice President. I was fortunate to be invited by Deborah to sit on the Independent State Schools Partnership Panel that she established and Chaired under the direction of Lord Nash. Deborah’s ground breaking work in this regard has helped bring clarity and focus to the value of such partnerships and the impact that they have on children’s lives and social perspectives.

At the annual Independent Schools Association Conference dinner, time was taken to commend Deborah for her sterling service to the Association. As Chair and Deborah’s friend, I was moved by the warmth of appreciation and respect that she enjoys from all of her colleagues. Senior colleagues all remarked upon her professionalism, integrity, caring nature and her absolute willingness to go the extra mile to get the job done. As an ISI Inspector, an educational consultant, as well as having many years of experience in Headship and Leadership, Deborah has proven herself to be a go to figure. She has provided personal support for countless schools and in particular their Governing Bodies and Head Teachers. Her assessment of situations is incisive and her ability to plan a way forward where advice is needed is second to none.

As I come to the end of my year as Chair of the ISA, I can say with absolute certainty that I could not have found a better or more professional friend or colleague. Deborah’s standing within the world of education has been recognised by ministers and peers alike at one extreme and by those of us at the coal face at the other. She is a remarkable woman and I commend her to you most highly.

Alex Gear
Headmaster Oakhyrst Grange School

"Owning a school is a huge responsibility but through her mentoring , Deborah reduced my sense of isolation and allowed me the opportunity to successfully explore new opportunities that I may otherwise have not considered. Her knowledge of national educational initiatives, combined with a business perspective sat comfortably with my staff, who all valued her input and have become more engaged and empowered, as a result of the change management strategies that she suggested. Through involvement in her research on several projects Deborah ensured that our profile was raised and staff output has been maximised in innovative ways."

Vickly Smidt
Proprietor Hurst Lodge School

"As the leader of a complex team I thoroughly enjoyed (and gained) from your training, as did the HODs
I am quite sure that your advice would always be invaluable so perhaps we could arrange another session at a future date looking at marketing for example? I would recommend Deborah without hesitation."

Clare King, “The Moat”

"As someone new to me, Deborah had undergone a forensic analysis of my school before arriving so it was absolutely clear to all my team that she entirely grasped the nature of the school and what we were trying to achieve (impressive). I had a great deal of communication from her before and indeed after the event so I was confident that she would deliver (and indeed did deliver) exactly the training I had requested. She was both knowledgeable and approachable and I have already sounded her out with regard to further training with me and my Deputy in the future. She was utterly brilliant!"

Headteacher The Moat School.

"As a mentor, Deborah Bailey recognised skills and qualities in me which I couldn’t see in myself. Her insight and encouragement helped me to find the courage to change career. Without her skills and input I would not have had the confidence to make a decision which has changed my career path and life; I have no doubt that I made the right choice. Others are now seeing strengths and talents in me which Deborah identified very soon after having met me and, because of her support, I can see them in myself. I have been inspired by her to expect more from my work than I would have previously thought possible. Over the next few years my goal is to help the people I work with to achieve their full potential and to recognise and value their abilities as Deborah helped me to recognise and value mine. Deborah has truly been an inspiration to me and working with her has changed my outlook on, and expectations of, life for the better. I am truly grateful for her involvement and guidance and have no doubt that she would provide an excellent role model for everyone she works with."

Jess Mahdavi
Former lecturer of University of Greenwich

"Deborah has a longstanding relationship with the National College. She has successfully developed and written leadership materials and is an excellent presenter and facilitator. Deborah has led the College’s engagement with the independent schools sector, organising and leading a number of highly successful, large scale conferences. As a recently serving headteacher, she has strong credibility with her colleagues and she speaks with the authenticity that comes from many years of excellent practice."

John Stephens
Director of Teaching Schools

"Our business really benefited from DLBs considered and carefully crafted consultancy. It was evident that she had more than a measure of the entire place, actually more like forensic analysis; deeply impressive!"

Clare King “The Moat”

"I have sought advice from Deborah Leek-Bailey as a mentor through several career changes and always found her to be highly personable, focused and extremely smart. She has a way of enhancing your profile and getting you to achieve in areas that were previously unattainable."

Martin King
Vice President
Bush Integrated. USA

"Deborah has been a valued member of our Editorial Advisory Board since we launched Independent Schools Magazine as the professional journal for the sector in 2007. She has covered various events for us, and also kept us up to speed on essential issues. The content has always been relevant and interesting."

Kimble Earl,
Director, Bull Nelson Limited.
Independent School Magazine

"I can strongly recommend Deborah without any hesitation whatsoever. She is an excellent communicator, who develops mutually respectful relationships with those she encounters in a range of spheres. She is a person of the highest integrity."

Colin Ashby,
Former Headmaster of Trinity School, Teignmouth 1992-2008,
Chaiman of ISA 2006, Vice –President of ISA 2008-2013.

"Deborah has brokered many successful partnerships between the private and public sectors. She is used to liaising at a senior level with ministers and her contribution towards leadership development has been significant. She writes clearly and with conviction, from an informed perspective, which engages the reader. Deborah speaks with clarity of purpose, passion and a genuine desire to make the world a better place."

Steve Munby
Chief Executive Officer

"Deborah has brought her relentless energy and enthusiasm to bear not just on the full time commitment as Head of a successful independent school, but also as a champion of cross-sector engagement on matters of substantial interest to us all. She is renowned for her expertise on independent/state school partnerships and leadership development within the sector. Her work as Chair of both the Independent/State School Partnership Forum and the Cross Association Leadership Group, and her representation of the independent sector with the National College, has been both inspired and inspiring."

Mathew Burgess
General Secretary Independent Schools Council (ISC)

"Deborah Leek-Bailey is a force of nature, with an extraordinary can-do approach to solving leadership problems, communications and making changes in organisations."

Sir Anthony Seldon
Wellington College

"In my five years as an ISA head I have had the pleasure of working with Deborah on a number of occasions, including visits to Babington House School. It was clear that she was highly regarded by all members of the school community and had had a huge impact on this highly successful school.
Deborah’s commitment to wider professional development, particularly with independent state school partnerships, is inspiring.
She kindly invited me to participate in a conference that she had organised at the National College of Teaching and Leadership, and to have a variety of leaders from both sectors work so well together was fantastic to see.
Deborah is an impressive, thoughtful and knowledgeable public speaker, I thoroughly enjoyed working with her on the ISA national executive."

J S Stearns

“Deborah established the Cross-Association Leadership group (CAL) to support leadership development across independent schools and grew this group into an important and respected forum for the research, analysis and development of leadership training across the sector.
Deborah is an accomplished public speaker, leading large-scale events and symposia.”

Julie Robinson
Education and Training Director

'In working with our members Deborah has delivered exceptional support and guidance.
She can always be counted on to go the extra mile.
Deborah's pragmatic approach, combined with her ability to identify issues and to formulate and articulate clear strategies, have made her an invaluable asset to headteachers, staff and governors alike. Deborah enriches the ISA consultancy offer and evaluation feedback is unfailing positive'.

Anne-Marie Hodgkiss
Membership Officer ISA

"The Ministerial ISSP forum, chaired by Deborah Leek-Bailey OBE exists to strengthen links between the sectors, optimising learning for both independent and state funded pupils, working in partnership. ISSP has several aims including the breaking down of barriers between the sectors, the sharing of professional expertise and the raising of standards. The forum is aware that there are many informal partnerships/collaborations in existence, as well as those that gain frequent publicity. Every day there are children in the UK and overseas who benefit from the initiative that staff exhibit in creating dynamic partnerships, which facilitate diverse learning opportunities, as well as raising standards and aspirations and challenging thinking."

Lord Nash
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools

"As someone new to me, Deborah had undergone a forensic analysis of my school before arriving so it was absolutely clear to all my team that she entirely grasped the nature of the school and what we were trying to achieve (impressive). I had a great deal of communication from her before and indeed after the event so I was confident that she would "

Martin King
Vice President
Bush Integrated. USA

"Deborah has encouraged me to successfully diversify in my career and by having a mentor who knows the extent of the risks that you take, it enables you to become so much more empowered. I am now ….Leann Lambrecht "

Kimble Earl,
Director, Bull Nelson Limited.

"I have regularly observed Deborah broker successful partnerships between unlikely groups and individuals. Her professionalism and initiative ensure that she can always be relied upon to deliver. Her innate sense of how to identify talent, motivate and develop individuals and teams has enhanced the reputation of my own business locally and nationally."

Vicky Smidt
Proprietor of Hurst Lodge,

"I initially got to know Deborah when I joined the Independent Schools Association. She stood out as one of the key people in the association, as an effective Chair of the Association and as Chair of various committees including the Professional Development Committee, with a focus on bespoke training courses for key individuals within schools. Colleagues respected her collegiate approach, high level strategic thinking and the way that she applied her wide-ranging experience to connect with important organisations, including the National College of Teaching and Leadership. Deborah is a thinker, ‘spotter of talent’ and through her extensive work on effective Leadership strategies, she has improved the performance of many organisations. She is able to draw together people who will challenge, collaborate and drive change – It is therefore exciting to be part of D.L.B. Leadership Associates LTD. and I hope that you have the opportunity to be part of our network."

Professor Pat Preedy
GEMS Education.

"Deborah has deep experience of education, having served both national organisations and the School of which she was head with distinction. While she values schools’ autonomy and independence, she is strongly influential in the independent and maintained sectors collaborating, respecting and valuing one another. Deborah radiates enthusiasm for schools and is highly successful in assisting them in their endeavours to help and develop pupils,- of all backgrounds."

General Secretary
Association of Governing Bodies.(AGBIS)

"At the request of the Chairman & Governors of The Dixie Grammar School Deborah Leek-Bailey was requested to undertake an independent assessment of the School's Safeguarding and recruitment procedures. This was required as part of a reassurance process regarding the effectiveness and adequacy of the School's arrangements for staff selection, appointment and continuing employment, in the context particularly of the School's responsibilities for safeguarding and protection of pupils and staff.
Using a broad access to school staff and employment records, Deborah carried out a thorough review of current arrangements measured against ISI requirements, culminating in a comprehensive report containing detailed analysis with some recommendations for further improvement."

Chair of Governors
Dixie Grammar School

"Deborah was a highly successful Headteacher of Babington House School until December 2012, where she showed outstanding leadership, as reflected in the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) Report of 2010. Babington House School is ranked the top five nationally for its Value Added contribution to raising pupils’ academic attainment, as well as being graded as excellent in all areas of school life by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. The School named a new complex of buildings after Deborah, which was opened by in January 2012, by former Olympian athlete Roger Black. "

Colin Ashby
Vice President ISA
School Inspector

"Deborah’s specialist subject is English. She is also an ISI Inspector, a role she carries out to the highest standards. She has previous on-line experience of teaching English as a Foreign Language to both students and adults and has been instrumental in developing leadership qualifications.
I can strongly recommend Deborah without any hesitation whatsoever. She is an excellent communicator, who develops mutually respectful relationships with those she encounters in a range of spheres. She is a person of the highest integrity. "

Colin Ashby
School Inspector.

You just get the impression the lady understands the true meaning of Leadership.

Paul Moss
St James International schools

"I have known Deborah for a number of years as an influential opinion-former and expert commentator on a wide range of educational issues. She is expert in academic, strategic and leadership terms and her approach is characterised by a clear and thoughtful style, which I have experienced working with her on National committees.
I was also very pleased indeed when she helped me launch an International online teaching initiative, for which we have recently received an award. Deborah’s online skills complemented her teaching excellence, as we established our first online presence to pupils in Russia. Her business acumen proved helpful, as well as her technical skill, and we enjoy having her as one of our online colleagues."

Stuart Nicholson
Head of Cambridge Centre for Sixth Form Studies (CCSS)

"Many global leaders have Deborah to thank for their leadership development and it is likely that their teams are now benefitting from her input into their CPD."

Colin Bell

"Deborah is an engaging and motivational speaker who readily captures her audience’s attention.
Whether as a facilitator, or keynote speaker, I can recommend her most highly.
During my time as a researcher of the National College I enjoyed working with Deborah due to her professional approach, significant network of key professionals and insightful observations. I would happily recommend her work to others."

Toby Greany
Head of research IOE