About us

The Releasing Potential Institute was launched in 2016 to house the academic research and professional training services developed by Releasing Potential School and Releasing Potential through our work in education.

The Institute’s mission is twofold: to resource professionals through our training programmes and courses, and to impact educational and social policy through meaningful research that can make a difference to the lives of young people.

Dr Alexandra Gray

Alex heads up the Institute team and co-ordinates research within the Releasing Potential Institute. She is responsible for managing a small team of researchers, including supervision of postgraduates working on education research within (or supported by) the Institute. Her own area of research specialism is Medical Humanities; she has published widely in this area, as well as on subjects related to Alternative Education and Social Pedagogy. Alex currently delivers teaching across Level 3-7 qualifications and is course coordinator for Releasing Potential’s Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and still guest lectures at a range of institutions: most recently the University of Derby and the University of Chichester.

Dr Catherine Brennan

Catherine joined Releasing Potential in 2012 as Operations Manager of what was then a small charity. Catherine’s background is in education, having taught in secondary, tertiary and Higher Education; she has also worked for many years with vulnerable young people in a range of day services and residential programmes. Catherine’s work with the Institute involves delivering on both the NCFE Level 3 in ‘The Management of Challenging Behaviour’ and the NCFE Level 4 in ‘The Management of Challenging Behaviour in Sexually Exploited Young People’. Catherine has also contributed to the Near To School research project in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth, and is a qualified assessor for NCFE.

Simon Brent

Simon is the newest member of the institute team, having joined in 2020 as Trainer of Professionals. His teaching career started within a SLD&D outreach centre in 1998, in which he introduced an NVQ in Sports and Recreation and coordinated Vocational Access Courses.  He has worked for a local college becoming the section leader and advanced practitioner for the Sports Department.  In 2009 he moved into higher education, becoming a Senior Lecturer at Solent University involved with the curriculum development of the Outdoor Education programme.  Simon has taught across levels 1-6, with the majority of his practice being centred on alternative education approaches and effective group dynamics.  Simon has always had a passion for outdoor education and adventurous activities, with a particular focus on ‘soft skills’, taking great pleasure in facilitating environments which enable participants to reflect on behaviours and emotional awareness/intelligence.

Mike King

Mike founded Releasing Potential in 2001 after working for many years as a teacher of physical education in mainstream schools. Mike’s vision was to find ways of working with young people who were disengaged from education, through alternative educational models encouraging self-esteem and self-reliance. Since then, Releasing Potential has grown into a much larger charity and is now also a Department-for-Education registered Independent School. Mike’s work with the Releasing Potential Institute involves internal verification on the NCFE Level 3 and Level 4 in ‘The Management of Challenging Behaviour’ to which he brings significant expertise as an educator.


Releasing Potential Institute
Unit 7 Kingscroft Court

Charity No: 1097440
Company No: 4622100


023 9247 9762



 © Releasing Potential 2017