Luke Abbott

Luke Abbott studied for his Masters Degree with Dorothy Heathcote at Newcastle University in 1980/81. At the time Mantle of the Expert was being established as a teaching and learning approach and Luke was among the pioneering group of Dr. Heathcote’s students who first researched and then used the approach in their classrooms.

After graduating Luke spent nine years developing his understanding of MoE at the a highly innovative secondary school, Stantonbury Campus in Milton Keynes. He then began working as an adviser and teacher-trainer for Essex CC. Since leaving the Authority in 2010 Luke has worked as an independent teaching-consultant for Mantle of the Expert.

In over forty years of practice Luke has taught in hundreds of schools all over the UK and abroad. His work is internationally recognized and he has been instrumental in advancing the scope and application of Mantle of the Expert. Luke was a special-projects adviser and lead tutor for the Qattan teacher programme in Palestine and has worked extensively in Europe, China, America, and New Zealand.  He is now a project tutor for the NEU Mantle of the Expert Programme and leading Mantle of the Expert projects in many schools across the country.

For more on Luke’s role in developing Mantle of Expert visit our ‘origins’ page.

Tim Taylor

Tim Taylor is a teacher-trainer from Norfolk. He first saw Luke Abbott using Mantle of the Expert in 1995 with his class of seven year olds at Tuckswood First School in Norwich. Tim was in his first year of teaching and had been struggling to engage the children who were from diverse and challenging backgrounds. However, within a few short minutes of working with Luke the children were deeply immersed in an imaginary scenario as an emergency rescue team searching for villagers trapped inside a giant hole. For Tim, it was a revelation. At the time he had no idea how it had had happened or what Luke was doing, but he was determined to find out.

Since then Tim has researched and practiced using Mantle of the Expert, first in his own classroom and then in the classrooms of other teachers. In 2004 he became an Advanced Skills Teacher, in 2006 a deputy-head, and now works as freelance teacher-trainer for Mantle of the Expert.

Tim has led and participated in many professional development projects in schools across the UK and abroad. He has taught in the USA, India, France, New Zealand, and Palestine and is a visiting lecturer at Newcastle University. He is the web manager for and has worked as consultant for the BBC. Tim is the author of ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Mantle of the Expert’ and a project tutor for the NEU Mantle of the Expert Programme. He tweets at @imagineinquiry

Jenny Lewis

Jenny Lewis has taught Mantle of the Expert for many years in schools as a class teacher, working with Luke Abbott, Tim Taylor and many other experienced practitioners. She is now working as a freelance trainer, going into schools to help teachers develop imaginary inquiry and Mantle of the Expert in their classes. Jenny has taken part in workshops at conferences and worked with school leadership teams to develop the practice within their schools. She is particularly interested in the way MoE can bring children who struggle with more formal / academic learning right into the centre of things, empowering them and giving recognition to their particular skills and talents. Jenny has written articles and papers on various aspects of MoE and is currently writing and developing a series of early years mantles that she is trialling and refining in Norfolk schools. Jenny is passionate about the way Mantle of the Expert transforms learning and engages and motivates children and teachers.

Emma Bramley

Emma’s work focuses on using dramatic inquiry to create curiosity and the opportunity to explore and debate. She has been working with Mantle of the Expert for over thirteen years in schools within the North West. She is the Artistic Director of a theatre for social change company with a particular interest in immersive, participatory practices . A qualified Youth & Community Worker and Emma also heads up children’s Shakespeare Festivals across the North West, and continues to train teachers on a freelance basis. She teaches young people and continues to practice in classrooms alongside teachers.

Julia Walshaw


Julia Walshaw is a teacher at Bealings School, near Woodbridge in Suffolk. She has been fascinated by Mantle of the Expert since early in her teaching career. Following her PGCE, she joined Bealings, where Luke Abbott was just starting to introduce staff to Mantle of the Expert. Early in 2004 he worked with Julia’s KS1 class in the frame of a haulage company commissioned to evacuate animals from a Baghdad zoo – Treetop Transport. Julia was amazed by the levels of engagement of the children, and from then on has been on an ongoing quest to deepen her understanding of the system.

Julia became an AST for Primary Curriculum Development in Suffolk in November 2005, specifically for Mantle of the Expert. She has worked to introduce the system to schools throughout the county, establishing successful long term training programmes for teachers – the Suffolk Mantle of the Expert Forum. As part of the national MoE team, she has led workshops at conferences in Essex, Newcastle, Norwich and London.

Iona Towler-Evans

Iona has been engaged by the work of Dorothy Heathcote throughout her career, and was supported by her when she first started researching mantle of the expert in 1993, following her Master’s degree course. In particular, Dorothy Heathcote supported Iona in developing the original production of ‘Whats in Store’.


Iona has applied Mantle of the Expert to her own classes and also works with colleagues in other schools, to support the work. She has shared the outcomes of the work in a range of articles, for example ‘Sea Change’ a programme of work with Somali children, at key stage 1 ( Times Education al Supplement; 2008) and ‘An approach to pre 20th century text using Mantle of the Expert’ (Secondary English Magazine, 2007).

Iona currently runs the West Midland Network for Mantle of the Expert, in collaboration with teachers, tutors, professional artists, at Newman University College. She also contributes to modules and training on Mantle of the Expert at Newman to trainee teachers.

Iona has worked in a range of capacities including classroom teacher, Head of Department, Deputy Head, all in schools in challenging circumstances and as teacher trainer (her current focus).

As part of the national team and an associate adviser to Essex County Council, she has led workshops at conferences in Essex, Newcastle, Birmingham, Norwich and London and is pleased to contribute to the current development in Mantle of the Expert in Wales (her roots!)