Invincible Me supports primary schools to create a culture that promotes and strengthens positive mental health and wellbeing for children, teachers and school staff alike. We advocate a whole school approach, which develops and champions sustainable culture change, making all individuals more invincible. We focus on prevention, not intervention.
To learn more about the work we do, click on our Invincible Me overview to open a pdf about us.
The problem we address
In the UK today:
- One in ten children have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder before the age of 14 and incidents of self-harming amongst children as young as 8 years old are increasing year on year.
- More than 27,000 children under the age of 11 called the crisis hotline Childline last year, struggling with bullying, challenging family relations and concerns about their own mental and emotional health.
Founder and Executive Director
Amy has more than 20 years’ experience managing Education programmes and initiatives, for groups ranging from government agencies and non-profit organisations to universities and FTSE companies.
Amy has international management and operations experience across eight countries on five continents. She began her career working in international education, managing study abroad programmes for American university students in France, Italy and the UK. In 2004, upon moving to the UK, she worked with a coaching organisation who explored how one’s psychological state impacts both behaviour and success in all areas of life. She then moved into education consulting, helping primary and secondary schools across the UK to improve both operationally and strategically, articulating their visions for success and creating concrete plans to achieve those goals.
In 2007, Amy began consulting to the Department for Education, managing projects under the Labour government’s Extended Schools Agenda in areas of extreme deprivation, youth crime and gang violence. The project was recognised by the Minister of State for its success, albeit over a short timeframe.
Amy is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and has her Ed.M in Education from Harvard University and her BA in French and Italian from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has been living in the UK since 2004 with her British husband and 8-year- old son. “One of the most meaningful experiences for me in my career in Education was working with schools in areas of high risk of violence, gang affiliation and low attainment. I was struck by how life’s circumstances can affect a child’s opportunities to learn, love, and contribute productively to society.
“My inspiration to start Invincible Me was motivated by the belief that all children deserve a quality education, and that they also need to be in a positive psychological state to benefit from the teaching and learning in schools. Teaching is one the most important professions in our society, and those who undertake this huge responsibility need to be given the proper training and support to educate the children in their care both intellectually and emotionally.”
Former Headteacher and Leadership Coach
Debbie is a successful former primary Headteacher, Change Management, and Leadership Development consultant.
During her tenure as Headteacher, extended schools and remodelling consultant for Plymouth Local Authority, Debbie worked to bring about major change within the community, including being the first school in the country to be given the ‘Power to Innovate’ by the Secretary of State.
As a change management consultant and business architect in support of educational workforce reform, Debbie has worked extensively with local authorities and has designed an operating model for a new Integrated Education Service. As Process Lead in the West Midlands for the DfE’s Training & Development Agency, Debbie implemented the Targeted Youth Support reforms throughout the region, and has worked in children’s homes and run residential holidays for vulnerable young people.
Debbie is also a qualified executive coach with over twenty-five years’ experience designing and delivering global change management and leadership development programmes, and currently runs emotional resilience retreats through her coaching organisation, Sense of Self Coaching.
“I am really excited and thrilled to have been invited to act as an advisor for Invincible Me. My life’s work has been centred on supporting and developing individuals, especially in the areas of emotional well-being and mental health awareness. I have no doubt that enabling schools to develop and embed positive practices will not only result in less anxious children but also a happier and more resilient workforce.”
Dr Tim O’Brien
Psychologist and Lecturer
Dr. Tim O’Brien is an award-winning psychologist who is currently Visiting Fellow/Honorary Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Human Development at UCL Institute of Education.
He is also a Fellow of The UCL Centre for Inclusive Education, and a former Senior Lecturer at Westminster College, Oxford. Tim designed and leads The Chartered College of Teaching’s ‘Teacher Wellbeing’ programme with long-time colleague Dr Dennis Guiney.
Tim works in a wide range of environments, including education, business, and English Premier League Football. Tim’s publications are mainly in the field of Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs, including his book ‘Inner Story’ with testimonials from Sir Elton John and Arsenal FB manager Arsène Wenger. Tim has held senior leadership positions in mainstream and special education (SEMH).
Education Psychologist, BA(Hons), PGCE, MA, MPhil, C Psychol, AFBPsS
Jayne Stallard has worked across and within a range of settings in her 23 years as a child and educational psychologist; prior to this, she spent 9 years as a Primary school teacher working across a variety of schools in England.
Over the course of her career, Jayne has specialised in mental health and wellbeing in children, working with school staff, parents and carers, and across agencies providing training, support and guidance. She has also worked with the government and government agencies on national projects to promote wellbeing in schools and education. She has most recently worked as a practitioner educational psychologist providing a full service to schools in Jersey, and as the professional lead for mental health in education on the island.
Mateo Oxley is a professional actor of stage and screen originally hailing from the sleepy green fields of the Norfolk countryside, now based in bustling South London. He graduated from the prestigious Arts Educational Schools London in 2013 on a full scholarship. Less than a week after completing his training Mateo joined the cast of Punchdrunk & The National Theatre’s epic immersive co-production The Drowned Man; A Hollywood Fable. He has since gone on to perform in array of successful productions on and off the West-End including the world stage premiere of Shock Treatment, Scenes From 68* Years, Angels In America at the Royal National Theatre (understudying the lead role to Andrew Garfield) and, most recently, Keith Bunin’s The Busy World Is Hushed at The Finborough Theatre.
In addition to performing, Mateo worked in over 20 mainstream and specialist primary schools in Greater London in the formative stages of his career. Arguably his proudest accolades are being proud uncle to four nieces and two nephews as well as new (joyfully exhausted) father to a 10 week old kitten, Nimbus!
“I am so excited to support Invincible Me because I believe wholeheartedly in the holistic approach to wellbeing they are proposing for primary schools. As an educator, you always want to do the best you can for your pupils, but it can be phenomenally stressful between the workload and what teachers have going on in their own lives. Supporting the whole school staff will have such a positive impact on the energy and support they are able to give their pupils.”
Headteacher and National Leader of Education
Rachel Snape has been the headteacher of The Spinney Primary School, Cambridge since 2007 and is a National Leader of Education. The Spinney was designated a National Teaching School in September 2014 and is the lead school of The Kite Teaching School Alliance, Cambridge.
Rachel loves the diversity of working in her many roles: with the learning community of her own school, with colleagues and the Local Authority as part of the Cambridgeshire School Improvement Board and as a member of the DFE’s Primary Headteacher Reference Group. Rachel is a positive and creative leader who is passionate about the transformative power of arts and culture. Her optimistic outlook and innovative style is built on a strong belief in the importance of connection.
Rachel is passionate about engaging the whole school community in school life, including giving pupils an active voice in determining what makes a great school. She won the award “Most Active Headtweeter” and believes strongly in peer-to-peer mentoring and support as a way to help teachers to bring their best selves to school every day.
“I loved meeting Amy (Shocker, Invincible Me Founder) and I am really excited about what Invincible Me is proposing to do with primary schools. There is so much that is different about their programme and their approach, from the culture change perspective, the strengths based approach, and the tools they provide schools to authentically pick up stakeholder voice, including pupil voice. They make the link to what schools ‘have to’ consider – eg. the Ofsted framework and safeguarding requirements – but then encourage each school to decide for themselves where they want to focus in order to improve their existing provision, by identifying, reflecting and engaging depending on where the gaps are. For example, at The Spinney we have trialled and retained a large number of initiatives and programmes and now we need a way to capture and evaluate them all. I am looking forward to supporting Amy and the organisation to grow and help schools to be the best they can be!”
Treasurer & Acting Chair
Simon brings to Invincible Me his experience of running major charities. Simon is currently the Finance Director of JNF Charitable Trust, a UK registered charity whose core mission is to help build, develop and strengthen the State of Israel for all of its citizens.
Simon is also the Treasurer and Trustee of the International Centre for Social Franchising (ICSF), a not-for-profit charity whose mission is to replicate successful social impact solutions to achieve scale.
Prior to this Simon was, for six years, the Executive Director of the West London Synagogue (WLS). Prior to working at WLS, Simon spent the previous 20 years in investment banking, most notably at UBS. Simon qualified as a chartered accountant with Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) and was a partner in its Financial Services consultancy practice until 1990. Simon has an MSc in Radiation Physics from London University and a BSc in Physics from Hull University.
“Too many primary school children, and their teachers, are experiencing emotional and mental health problems. I am excited to be part of the Invincible Me team which is helping schools to be become more resilient in addressing, holistically, these concerns.”
Aliza Blachman O’Keeffe
With more than 25 years’ experience in professional services, Aliza has expertise in strategy, leadership, business development, strategic communications, relationship building and coaching.
Aliza currently has a portfolio of independent roles across business, political, nonprofit and community organisations, including Chair of the MIT Sloan School Alumni Board; Partner at Joy Capital LLP; Advisory Board of Affenium; Changemaker for Working Families; and member of the UK Council of Democrats Abroad, having served on the International Finance Committee and Inaugural Finance Committee for President Obama’s campaigns. Aliza is also a Trustee of City Year UK, an education and youth social action charity, and Co-Chair of Pomegranate, an initiative she co-founded, which supports World Jewish Relief’s livelihood development programmes for women in eastern Europe.
Previously, Aliza was a partner at Spencer Stuart, where she handled board-level appointments in a variety of sectors. Aliza was also with McKinsey & Company in London and Hong Kong, having spent her early career at the World Bank working on macroeconomic policy in Latin America. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with an Honors degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received her M.Sc. from the MIT Sloan School of Management. A dual US/UK national, Aliza is married and has a 19-year old son and 16-year old daughter.
“I am excited to be involved with Invincible Me because of the dual impact the organisation can have by training teachers – improving support for traumatised children in schools and equipping the teachers with coping strategies to ensure they maintain their own emotional resilience.”
With more than 20 years working in Education, Kate has considerable experience in all aspects of school leadership and operations, including expertise in strategic leadership and business management, finance and HR.
Kate has a passion for developing the social and emotional wellbeing of young children and ensures that this is in the forefront of their education. She is also a hands-on leader and a mentor to her staff, at all levels across the school.
In 2013, Kate was appointed the founding Headteacher of a SW London primary school, which she led and managed to become outstanding in all areas of its work within the first two years. Beginning with one class of eighteen students in shared accommodation, she has taken the school to over 140 students across 3 year groups, in a new purpose built school building which is fully accessible, focuses on sustainability and the ecological footprint of all who are educated there. Kate has recently stepped down from this role to focus on other professional endeavours.
Previously, Kate was Headteacher in a multi-cultural primary school in Balham, where she created a change culture focused on rapidly raising standards and aspiration. In addition to other successful senior leadership roles in previously failing schools, Kate has worked as a consultant for Wandsworth Local Authority, implementing and managing the Primary Numeracy Strategy across the borough.
Kate is a graduate of University College London, from which she has a BSc in Psychology and Cognitive Science. Following her Post Graduate Certificate in Education, she attained a Masters in Primary Education from Brunel University and a National Qualification in Headship. Kate is married with three daughters aged 24, 21 and 15.
“I have always had an interest in how children's successes in learning are effected by their mental well-being. I am really excited to be involved in an organization, which will empower staff at all levels in schools to have the confidence to identify and address the hidden barriers of mental health in children.”
(Gampell) OBE, FRSA, MSc
With more than 25 years’ experience working at a senior level in the voluntary sector, Lucy has led the organisational and strategic development of two charities, taking them from their embryonic stage through to becoming successful, professionally recognised and highly regarded organisations.
Her focus has been in the fields of social exclusion, criminal justice, children and the arts, all areas about which she feels passionate. Lucy’s professional career has been under her maiden name of Lucy Gampell
In 2009 Lucy was appointed as an independent Member of the Parole Board and continues to work in this role. She is the former Director of Action for Prisoners; Families, and has represented APF on many Government advisory groups and national advisory committees. Lucy is also currently President of the French-based NGO Children of Prisoners Europe, the European Network for children experiencing parental imprisonment. She has held many previous trusteeships and is well-versed with charity governance good practice. She has been a Women of the World Mentor at London’s Southbank Centre, and is an experienced speaker, writer and Conference Chair.
In 2008, Lucy was awarded the Longford Lifetime Achievement Award and received an OBE in the 2010 New Years Honours for her services to prisoners’ families and disadvantaged people Lucy holds an M.Sc in Criminal Justice Policy from the LSE. Lucy lives in London and is married with 2 children aged 22 & 20.
“I believe passionately in our obligations to ensure that all children can meet their potential in life. Their experiences in early childhood and as they progress into adolescence can have profound consequences for them. Schools are uniquely placed to identify and support children experiencing trauma or difficulties but often lack the knowledge or skills to know how to offer appropriate support. Invincible Me can change that and I am excited to be part of that process of change.”
Rob has more than 20 years experience developing and delivering IT-rich programmes in a variety of educational settings including Academies, Colleges, Free Schools, as well as in collaboration with architects and builders. He has worked with over 100 schools and managed ICT budgets worth ~£80million over the course of his career.
Rob started his career in teaching and currently co-designs and delivers CPD and ‘new school’ launch programmes. He is an effective Coach, Chartered IT Professional, Advanced Google Certified Educator, Programme Manager, Head of Computing and ICT Lead. He is certified in PRINCE2 PM and MBCS CITP, is a skilled facilitator, and has extensive experience developing effective public/ private sector partnerships.
Rob has also worked as a Change Management consultant for Mott McDonald, Becta, RM and Place Group. His work with the Department for Education (DfE) and its sponsored delivery arm, the Training and Development Agency (TDA) included managing the London Schools plan and leading whole school approaches to outstanding use of ICT to raise standards in an ICT rich environment.
Rob is a graduate of University of Leeds, from which he has a BSc (Hons) in ICT and Maths. Rob lives in SW London with his wife and two teenage sons.
“After working in numerous schools supporting learning through technology, I am really excited to be involved with schools in a different way. As a parent, I know how mental health challenges can sneak up on you and I really believe in Invincible Me’s vision to support both young pupils and their educators and school leaders in terms of their wellbeing.”