Meet Simon Breakspear

Dr Simon Breakspear is an educational researcher who helps leaders and organisations enhance their impact on learning.

Dr Simon Breakspear is a researcher, advisor and speaker on educational leadership, policy and change. He is the Executive Director of the leadership development organisation Breakspear Learning, and Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales, Gonski Institute for Education.

Simon’s educational frameworks and tools make complex ideas easier to understand and act on. His speaking and advisory work has given him the opportunity to work with over 100,000 educators across 10 countries. He is also the creator of Teaching Sprints, an open-source teacher professional learning approach used by thousands of educators across the planet to enhance their expertise and impact.

Simon is passionate about supporting school leadership development at scale. He serves as an expert advisor to the NSW Department of Education School Leadership Institute, the AITSL Leadership Steering Committee and the Ontario Principals’ Council international school leadership program.

Simon earned his PhD in education from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar, and a MSc in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford as a Commonwealth Scholar. Simon holds Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Teaching, and began his work in education as a high school teacher. Simon lives in Sydney with his wife and three young children.


Simon played a critical role in designing, facilitating and evaluating the 2016 NSW Education Symposium described by many participants as the most significant education conference in NSW for a decade. His understanding of students, teachers and school and his relentless focus on impact make him a highly sought after identity in education, not just in NSW but across Australia.

Hon A. Piccoli
NSW Minister for Education (2011-2017)

The feedback has been awesome! I wanted to congratulate you and thank you again for an enormous effort in planning, facilitating a fantastic two days, and guiding and supporting our workshop facilitators and Impact storytellers. The feedback is evidence of a hugely successful Residential.

J. Brown
Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership
(Event: SEIL System Leadership Residential)

“QELi is privileged to work with and alongside Simon and the Agile Schools Team. His high impact programs tailored to leaders at all levels, from teachers through to Principals and System Leaders, rate significantly high in our impact evaluation process. We continue to use Simon and his team as critical drivers within our programs and as standalone offerings with ‘Learning Sprints’ and ‘Leading School Improvement Strategy’ as the two significant embedded programs. Simon connects well with all audiences and is a pleasure to work with.”

Neil McDonald

“Simon has been working and collaborating with the system leadership team at Bastow in deepening our work and thinking around implementing a Community of Practice approach across our Education system. Simon has been able to provide us with a very bespoke suite of professional learning that builds on the skills, knowledge and disposition of our current leaders and stretches their thinking and actions. Simon makes great connections from ideas to practice and is very agile in responding to the learning needs of the group. He is engaging and thought provoking, all rolled into practicality.”

M. Hutchison
Community of Practice Facilitator
Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership

Simon’s presentation was precise and thought provoking.  His clarion communication skills are exemplar.  He met and exceeded our expectations in every aspect.  We feel fortunate to have the benefit of his expertise.

Chief Commissioner
Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

Simon is exceptional in his approach and revolutionary in his ideas for education. He is a great asset to any organisation, looking to gain a refreshing and cutting-edge perspective in improving education.

Organiser of World Educational Leadership Summit 2015

Simon is committed to working with educational jurisdictions in an ongoing relationship with the goal of improving teaching and learning. He acts as both a facilitator and a critical friend. He is mindful of the current educational landscape with a vision for the future that is achievable through incremental change beginning in the classroom. His presentations are highly motivating to educators, but he asks more of his audience than just a change in mindset – he sets the stage for action through thoughtful innovation and implementation of Deeper Learning constructs.

Superintendent, Pine Creek School Division (Canada)

Simon’s presentation demonstrated his clear understanding of the current directions within education. An extremely thought provoking and engaging presentation that left his audience thinking and wanting more. A brilliant catalyst for in school conversations and future planning.

Principal & Organiser, NSW North Coast Primary Principals Conference

Mr Breakspear’s presentations were outstanding, pertinent, engaging and contextually ‘on the money’. The subject matter was incredibly relevant but it was probably the efforts Simon went to in building a theme of ‘effective planning’ and change management that most impressed.

Barrenjoey High School

Through our partnership with Simon and the dynamic processes he employs, we were able to accelerate a pathway to school improvement especially in the area of learning design.

Simon’s collaborative approach to working with teams sweeps in a broad range of views resulting in greater levels of coherence and depth.

Moriah College

I greatly appreciated your expert and engaging facilitation skills, which ensured conversations were well scaffolded and transitions throughout the day were seamless. Your wrap up of each session was on point, and clearly focused on what we were trying to achieve on the day. It is no easy feat to maintain the energy and focus that you did throughout the day, so thank you.

M. Grant
(Event:  National School Leadership Roundtable, 2019)

“I wanted to thank you once again for a simply amazing longitudinal program of Agile Leadership for school teams.  All of the schools in our network have engaged deeply with the program and I believe have worked authentically to start a process of change and improvement using the architecture and learning you and the team have provided.  I felt the room was buzzing today – high energy, high engagement, high commitment, high passion!  I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with each of the schools in my network to continue the dive with a relentless focus on growing leader and teacher quality and by using the tools and strategies you provided.”

J. Green
Director, Educational Leadership – NSW Department of Education

“In Saskatoon Public Schools, our work with Simon has had significant influence on the culture of our school division. He has challenged us to examine our processes for professional learning and provided us with tools that have helped teachers to increase impact on student learning. We are grateful to Simon for his insightful provocation and guidance.”

Dave Derksen
Superintendent of Education, Saskatoon Canada

Simon’s presentation was amazing. Principals have not stopped raving about it. His Masterclass was filled to capacity and his message hit the target with our Theme of What Matters Most – Faith, Learning and Well Being. He is extremely engaging and we would love to have him back again.

Julie King
Executive Officer – Australian School Catholic Principals (ASCP) Conference

On behalf of the International Baccalaureate, I would like you to extend our sincere gratitude to Simon for his contribution to all the sessions he engaged in. His professionalism, preparation and insight are admirable and he made a deep impression on participants. His role as a moderator in the panel was simply fantastic, facilitating a meaningful discussion for heads of school.

Academic Consultant – IB Africa, Europe & Middle East
International Baccalaureate Organisation

Working with Simon is the safest way to make sure a high profile, ambitious event for school leaders breaks new ground and leaves people wanting more. From the start of the planning, through to the post-event and follow-up, Simon took charge, covered every detail small and large, and delivered one of the most compelling, engaging, and provocative global workshop we’ve run.

Nobody can engage, challenge, provoke, and entertain a room full of school leaders like Simon Breakspear.  Having him lead our program ensured our education partners were taken on a journey they will never forget.  Simon knows his stuff, knows people, and knows how to merge the two together to create magic.  It’s a pleasure to work with him.

Director of Education, Teaching & Learning Strategy
Microsoft Asia

The feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive. Simon thoroughly engaged the audience and set the tone for the whole conference. I couldn’t have asked for more.

President of NSW/ACT Educate Plus

Simon’s keynote presentation was very well received by our international audience of development professionals, education innovators and policy makers. His unique combination of expertise in education systems reform, pedagogy and technology helped us think through the effective use of ICT for education in developing countries. Simon impressed with his dynamism and thoughtful answers to audience questions, which were grounded in a practical emphasis on learning outcomes.

Organiser of 2015 All Children Reading Innovators Summit
World Vision Australia

Simon has brought extraordinary benefit to our strategic planning process. He is an outstanding facilitator of process; however, it is his breadth of knowledge regarding global educational thought and practice, and the razor-sharp acuity with which he is able to clarify issues that lift his contributions into the highest echelons. I have no hesitation recommending his work.

Inaburra School

“Our partnership with Simon Breakspear has been foundational in providing the support, tools and resources to shift the way we support professional learning within our division.” 

Terri Fradette
Superintendent of Education, Saskatoon Canada

Working with Simon is the safest way to make sure a high profile, ambitious event for school leaders breaks new ground and leaves people wanting more. Nobody can engage, challenge, provoke, and entertain a room full of school leaders like Simon Breakspear.
- S. Tierney - Director, Education, Teaching & Learning Strategy Asia, Microsoft
Simon is exceptional in his approach and revolutionary in his ideas for education. He is a great asset to any organisation, looking to gain a refreshing and cutting-edge perspective in improving education.
- INTASE - Organiser of World Educational Leadership Summit 2015
Your keynote address was much appreciated and well received. Thank you for helping us support teachers and their students in schools.
- Joe Alvaro. President, Economics and Business Educators NSW
Your presentation was lively and engaging and a great way to start the second day of the conference! Your ideas and breadth of knowledge internationally were very well received and provoked a lot of discussion afterwards.
- Robyn Vidler. President, AUSTAFE Inc.
Charismatic, earnest and connecting well to every kind of audience, Simon has touched the lives of so many educational leaders, teachers and students. A great facilitator, curator and catalyst.
- Avnita Bir. Principal R.N Podar School Mumbai, India. Board Member, Central Board of Secondary Education
Simon's truly excellent presentation reinforced exactly what we wanted and provided challenges to inspire us further
- M.Piddington - Principal, Sydney Distance Education High School
Simon is a brilliant keynote speaker – engaging the audience with humour and charisma while delivering practical, meaningful content.
- Elizabeth Li - Producer of EduTECH and FutureSchools, Association and Communications Events
Simon maintains a high degree of currency and simplifies the complex, making it readily accessible for others. It is both affirming and empowering to spend time listening to and embracing his content.
- Principal - Campbelltown Primary School Sydney
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