Meet the team

We are a charity called One Degree, made up of teachers, education specialists and professionals, which mentors GCSE students in London. Over the past six years, we have worked with over 300 pupils below the floor standards for educational attainment, and helped them improve their GCSE performance from 25% predicted passes to 65% actual passes. Read more about our story here.

 
 
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RIAZ SHAH

PARTNER, EY AND CHAIR, ONE DEGREE ACADEMY

Riaz is a senior partner with EY, the global professional services firm, where he is currently responsible for the learning and development of over 70,000 people. He is also part of the AMP coaching faculty for senior executives at Harvard Business School.

Riaz’s interest in education comes from his experience in chairing the One Degree mentoring programme, an educational charity that aims to lift the aspirations and educational performance of GCSE students. He is a passionate about social enterprises, and is a board member of the Prince of Wales’ Mosaic program, Common Purpose, as well as the the Bright Ideas Trust, which supports NEETs in becoming entrepreneurs.

Riaz studied at a comprehensive school in Luton’s Marsh Farm estate, Bradford University Management Centre and Harvard University.


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Aidan Sadgrove

Founding Principal, One Degree Academy

Aidan Sadgrove is the Founding Principal of One Degree Academy.  He came into teaching in 2006 as a Teach First participant, teaching English at a large academy in North West London. Here, he held various leadership roles including leading a high-performing English department and driving the improvement of teaching and learning across the school as Assistant Principal. Under his leadership of student achievement and standards, the school was recognised as one of the top 50 most improved schools nationally for its GCSE results. Prior to joining One Degree Academy, Aidan served as Vice Principal of City of London Academy, leading Teaching and Learning, Curriculum and English. 

Aidan is proud to be the 150th Principal to come from the Future Leaders network, a highly selective programme which prepares outstanding leaders for complex urban school settings. He has worked with various experts in education and is part of a national and international network of school leaders. Aidan regularly supports other schools as part of One Degree’s outreach, working alongside aligned partner schools like Reach Academy Feltham.  

A firm believer in the transformative power of education, Aidan is thrilled to be leading One Degree Academy and is excited about raising standards in North London and beyond.


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HASSAN DAMLUJI

HEAD OF MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION

Hassan has designed and delivered successful education reforms in the UK and abroad, both as a manager in McKinsey & Company and through establishing and leading non-profit organizations, including the New Schools Network and Achievement for All.

Currently Head of Middle East Relations for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hassan is also responsible for educational liaison between the Foundation and the UK government, enabling him to channel to our school much of the best practices observed by the Foundation in the US charter school system. Hassan also serves on the European board of the Education for Employment Foundation, a major international NGO that focuses on reducing youth unemployment through training and job placement

Hassan was born and raised in Harlesden, and has maintained links with the community through the One Degree mentoring programme. He was educated at Oxford and Harvard.


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SYED JAFFERY

ENTREPRENEUR

Syed’s early work experience was in banking, finance and corporate development with major blue-chip multinational companies, Vivendi, KPMG and HSBC. In 2000, he successfully raised investment capital to start and build new healthcare businesses, for which he received a business award sponsored by Lloyds TSB.

He was previously the part-time CEO of the One Degree mentoring charity, which he has been involved with since 2009.


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JACOB KESTNER

MANAGING DIRECTOR, EDUCO IRELAND

Jacob taught History and Politics in Enfield and is a graduate of Teach First. He was a founding director of the Reach Academy Feltham, the first free school to be rated outstanding, and has worked for some of the most influential education reformers in the world.

Jacob has worked for Sir Michael Barber at the education company, Pearson and as Digital Director at the international charity, Teach For All. Last year he co-authored a winning paper on the future of education for the European Commission Institute of Prospective Technological Studies.

Jacob attended a small state school in Hertfordshire, where fewer than 20% of his year went to University. He is passionate about education reform and technology.


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NATASHA PORTER

CEO OF UNLOCKED GRADUATES

Natasha currently works as the CEO of Unlocked Graduates. Previously, Natasha joined Policy Exchange as Deputy Head of their Education Unit in August 2014. Before joining Policy Exchange she spent five years as a founding teacher and Senior Leader at King Solomon Academy, leading the English department and then the upper school from pre-opening stage until their first GCSE results which were some of the best in the country.

Natasha is a Teach First ambassador from the ’06 cohort, and completed three years teaching English in a comprehensive school before joining the ARK network to found an academy. She delivers teacher training for Teach First, Teach for Australia, ARK schools and Harris schools, and is passionate about addressing educational inequality through building sustainable networks of high performing schools.


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JOSEPH HOWLETT

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, ONE DEGREE ACADEMY

Joseph qualified as an Economics teacher through the Teach First Programme. He has worked as a subject leader, a head of Sixth form and gained his NPQH as Vice Principal and Interim Principal at the Rosedale Hewens Academy Trust. He is currently managing the set up of One Degree Academy.  In his spare time he serves as a school governor and supports the work of a “floating classroom” on the canals of London.


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CHARLIE HARREL

CEO OF OPUS 2 INTERNATIONAL

Charlie is Deputy Managing Director of Opus 2 International, a cutting edge technology business, and is responsible for all aspects of the company’s day to day operations globally. A qualified lawyer, Charlie brings a blend of legal expertise and business acumen to his role as governor. As a parent himself, Charlie is passionate about education and, in particular, the importance of raising aspirations in order to help young people fulfil their potential.


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RACHAEL CURZONS

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER - FEARLESS FUTURES

Rachael has been a teacher and school leader in London and she has worked as a Director at charity The Brilliant Club. She is now the COO of Fearless Futures, an education social enterprise. Rachael believes wholeheartedly that the solution to the inequalities in our society is education, and that the partnerships that can be developed between schools, businesses, universities and other supporting organisations will enable young people to fulfill their potential.

An expert in teaching and learning, university access and gender inequality, Rachael is passionate about One Degree Academy’s vision to ensure all young people have access to a high-quality school experience that fully prepares them for university and their future lives.


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ANUSHKA SONPAL

PARTICIPANT DEVELOPMENT LEAD AT TEACH FIRST AND CONSULTANT AT THE HACKNEY LEARNING TRUST

Anushka is an experienced primary teacher of ten years and has taught in Barnet, Enfield and Madrid. She currently works as a Participant Development Lead  at Teach First and supports and coaches teachers on their two year programme. In addition, she is a freelance Primary Modern Foreign Languages Consultant and is implementing a borough wide initiative in Hackney to implement Spanish in all primary schools; this includes supporting schools to take year 5 pupils to visit partner schools all over Spain.
As a local resident, Anushka is passionate about providing opportunities and contextual learning experiences for young people in Enfield and provides local knowledge and expertise of the area.


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ADEOLA SHYLLON

PARENT GOVERNOR 

Adeola Shyllon is a singer and songwriter, with a background in marketing. She has lived in the borough of Enfield since the age of 7 and is always interested in local community matters.

Adeola is a mother to three young boys, one of whom is currently in Reception at One Degree. She has previously volunteered with Enfield’s Youth Offending Unit as a community panel member, and she is passionate about music, sports and young people.

Adeola is fully supportive of the ethos of One Degree, and its overall objectives in raising the aspirations of children from a range of backgrounds and experiences.