Senior Leaders

At the Eden Academy our senior leadership team comprises our CEO, Directors and Heads, each with their own areas of expertise, experience and responsibility.


Susan Douglas

Chief Executive Officer, Trustee

Susan Douglas is CEO of the Eden Academy and was instrumental in its founding and development.

She has spent nearly 25 years working in the educational arena including 15 years as a teacher and headteacher in West London. In 2006, she left headship and has since held key roles with a wide variety of national and international organisations including the British Council, Teaching Leaders, the National College of Teaching and Leadership (the NCTL, an executive body that is part of the Department of Education), and the Eden Academy Trust.  (Read more)

John Ayres OBE

Director for Academy Development

John Ayres is the Director for Academy Development and has a successful track record of school leadership stretching over 20 years.

He was awarded an OBE for his services to education in this year's New Year's Honours.

John was selected to be in the first ever tranche of National Leaders of Education and has maintained this status through a succession of Ofsted inspections where leadership and management were all found to be outstanding.

Jarlath O'Brien

Director for Schools

Jarlath is Director for Schools at the Eden Academy. Prior to coming to Eden, Jarlath was the Headteacher of a special school for six years and has worked in special schools for children with behavioural difficulties, severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties and autism.

Jarlath started his teaching life teaching physics in a comprehensive and is currently also the behaviour columnist for the Times Educational Supplement.

Sudhi Pathak

Director for Finance and Operations

Sudhi Pathak is a qualified accountant with over 25 years experience in the public sector.  He has expertise in Accounts, Governance, Risk Management, Audit and Systems Analysis.

Sudhi joined the Eden Academy in 2013 and as the Director for Finance and Operations, is responsible for Finance, ICT, Human Resources, Health and Safety, Administration and Facilities.

Hilary McDermott

Associate Head of School

Hilary McDermott is the Academy's Associate Head of School and as such provides support to our Heads, and was previously the Head of School at Grangewood School between 2011 and 2015.

She has over 19 years' experience of teaching and learning in primary, secondary and adult sectors, in curriculum co-ordination, and with a particular specialism in SLD, ASD and PMLD.

Hilary is also an NSPCC accredited trainer in Safeguarding and Child Protection and has extensive experience of multi-agency work with Social Care, Health and other external agencies.

Perdy Buchanan-Barrow

Headteacher, Alexandra School

Perdy Buchanan-Barrow is Headteacher of Alexandra School, a primary school located in Harrow, for children with moderate learning difficulties.

Perdy first taught for several years in mainstream before taking up the role of a class teacher at Alexandra in 1998. Since then she has been an Advanced Skills Teacher, Assistant Head and Deputy Head, before becoming Head of School in 2013 when the school became an academy and joined the Eden Academy Trust.​

Karen Clark

Headteacher, Grangewood School

Karen Clark is the Headteacher at Grangewood School and has taught at special schools for over 18 years, spending a significant time teaching children with MLD, SLD, PMLD and Autism before joining the Eden Academy Trust in 2015. During her career she has taught all age groups from 3 to 19, specialising in pupil’s complex learning difficulties and challenging behaviour.

Karen gained recognition as a Specialist Leader of Education specialising in SEND, working with pupils and their staff in mainstream settings enabling access to an appropriate curriculum and support, and she is the Designated Safeguarding Lead for Grangewood School.

Andrew Sanders

Headteacher, Moorcroft School

Andrew Sanders is Headteacher at Moorcroft School and has been working at the school since September 1997, when the building first opened.

He has been teaching for over 30 years and started his career as a mainstream teacher, teaching Religious Education.

At Moorcroft, Andrew started work as a class teacher and then became network manager, Head of Key Stage 5, Head of School and became the school's Headteacher in 2016.

Audrey Pantelis

Head of School, Pentland Field School

Audrey Pantelis is Head of School of Pentland Field School.  Audrey has taught in a variety of schools in both special educational needs and mainstream phases of education for the past twenty six years.  She has been a senior leader and manager for the past ten years and completed her National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2007.

Audrey has gained considerable experience in the maintained and private sector, including residential special educational needs settings. She has also become proficient in creating and delivering differentiated curriculum across the age ranges with severe and moderate learning difficulty learners, including those with physical difficulties and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.  

Jackie Seaman

Head of School, RNIB Sunshine House School

Jackie Seaman is Head of School at RNIB Sunshine House School and has helped lead the school to Outstanding status.

She has 38 years of experience as a special school teacher, 24 for which were working at Grangewood School,which included being a successful head of department for both the Juniors and then the Infants including leading the Early Years team. As Assistant Head of School, Jackie also had responsibility for SMSC and extended learning 

In her time with the Eden Academy, Jackie has enjoyed fantastic opportunities to lead and support overseas training in Hong Kong, Egypt and Malta.