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February 2018

My BSC Coaching Network Experience
Helen Greaves

‘Rocking up’ 15 minutes late, not being entirely able to remember the name of the event you are attending in order to get directions from the hotel reception staff, probably, (at a guess) isn’t the most ideal way to begin exploring a potential career in coaching…

However, I was received with such welcome at the Coaching Network Event, North West UK on the 3rd February 2018 that my initial anxieties quickly melted away and I was able to partake in one of the most organised, informative and enjoyable workshops I have ever attended.

As a PhD student at the University College London for the past few years, I have undertaken a number of informal mentoring roles for other students, and in my previous roles for the local Wildlife Trust and Merseyside BioBank LRC I have had the responsibility of looking after volunteers. I have always been conscious that when someone is giving their own time for free to assist an organisation, there should be a positive benefit for the volunteer also. That is why I always took time to understand the needs and desires of volunteers and had regular updates with them to check that their expectations were being met. I have always thoroughly enjoyed this part of my work and studies and therefore as I come towards the end of my post-graduate research studies I’ve determined to explore this skill-set and area more thoroughly.

Having had a brief conversation with Amy Southern earlier in the week I was delighted to discover that there was an upcoming networking event this upcoming weekend just down the road from where I live and so signed up immediately. It seemed to be almost fate. And in this instance ‘fate’ did not let me down. The north-west network event was the perfect length of time; with both an opportunity to learn something new and socialise with a new group of people. In just one morning, I spoke to BSC staff, tutors, as well as coaches – both experienced and new and gained information on the BSC courses from both the viewpoint of the teacher and learner. There were even others attending the Network event for the first time themselves!

In the formal workshop sessions, we learnt about upcoming changes to legislation that would affect the administration side of coaching and were also given a fantastic introduction to neuroscience in relation to coaching and mentoring. If anyone is reading this and is considering getting in touch with the BSC to explore a career in coaching, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it!Finally, one of the main points that I took away from the neuroscience session was the importance of being able to recognise stress and the chemical dopamine and hormone cortisol involved in this. We then discussed practical techniques to increase oxytocin levels in your client if they arrived at a session in that state, perhaps ironically, late for example. I couldn’t help wondering that maybe being in a room full of people aware of biological/psychological relationships such as this, was the key to why I felt so welcomed!

July 2017

Developing coaching in the classroom

Schools need to shift from a ‘fixed’ mindset to become more self-reflective, says Jane Shaddick-Brady

Educators around the globe are focused on the need to add extra value to the outcomes of children at school. As a teacher of children whose ages range from 3 to 11 years old, I have been interested, for a number of years, in exploring coaching techniques to support children’s learning and also to help teachers develop professionally.

Too often, schools attempt to improve by doing ‘more of the same’. More classes, more tests, more homework. Our school, which is a British overseas school, stopped traditional homework in 2014 and created ‘Home Learning’; the aim being to provide opportunities for independent and supported learning to be undertaken outside of curriculum time which reinforced, extended or enriched current learning. We believed that the change would enable children to take responsibility for their own learning and to become more independent learners who make choices about their learning and develop perseverance. It would enable children to practise and consolidate skills and broaden the context of learning, providing enrichment and extension. Crucially, we believed it would provide opportunities for parents to be more involved in their children’s learning.

In 2012, I started studying coaching and began my journey with British School of Coaching (BSC) to achieving the ILM Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring, which I believe changed my outlook and approach to learning. I have always felt passionately about professional development and the importance of keeping up-to-date with new and current thinking in the ever-changing education world. I believe it is even more relevant to keep abreast of initiatives when working overseas.

I began to constantly consider how can teachers use coaching skills to align with daily teaching practice. How can we address the opportunity to develop collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity? I realised that, as a profession, teachers on a daily basis use a range of skills to enhance pupil outcomes; skills such as questioning, listening, reflection, goal setting and feedback.

My school has a firm and positive commitment to self-reflective learning and to develop thinking from a traditional, ‘fixed’ mindset to one of ‘growth’ and self-reflection. Over the last three years, we have invested in the Level 3 qualification for our Middle Leaders and currently have 13 qualified coaches. The investment in developing our Middle Leaders, particularly, as coaches has had a powerful impact on how we, as a team of professionals, have changed our approaches to running meetings, developing professional thinking and now have a solution-focused approach to many issues we face in school.

“As our professional language and approaches have changed, so has our classroom language and approaches to teaching and learning, which has had a direct influence on our children”

The school has now developed a coaching culture that involves staff, children and parents, and this has helped to develop our approach to problem solving and self-reflection. However, more powerfully, there has been a change in the language and dialogue that we use in school, and this has had a positive impact in the classroom. As our professional language and approaches have changed, so has our classroom language and approaches to teaching and learning, which has had a direct influence on our children.

Our classrooms are now equipped with opportunities for our children to develop their work through peer coaching and mentoring and opportunities for using questions, such as ‘What do you want to achieve?’, ‘What does success look like for you?’, ‘How will you achieve this?’, ‘What obstacles stand in your way?’, ‘What will you need to help you?’ Opportunities for developing student leadership skills outside the classroom environment can presently be seen in the establishment of roles, such as School Council representatives, House Captains, Play Leaders, Cultural Ambassadors and Rights and Responsibilities Ambassadors, and Lead Learners.

Our school places great emphasis on developing leadership skills and in developing life-long skills and fundamentally, this is at the heart of our school vision. Academic success is important, but we believe in the development of creative thinkers, problem solvers and students who know how to learn in an environment of mutual respect, enthusiasm and commitment, in order to develop their life-long learning skills. There is a wide range of opportunity for students to have as many irresistible, learning experiences as possible in order that the whole child is developed, not just academically but in the many other areas of development to prepare them for their future.

As we reflected on how coaching had impacted on our outcomes, my colleague and fellow coaching graduate, Sanam Yaqub set about looking at ways to share this with other schools and teachers. We created the one-day ‘Coaching in the Classroom’ programme which explores the use of coaching competencies and tools through practical activities. These competencies can be adapted to support and promote the development of 21st century skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration in a primary classroom setting, framed alongside approaches such as using a ‘Growth Mindset’ and ‘Mindfulness’. It’s a highly practical session, during which we aim to equip teachers with the tools that are adaptable to compliment all teaching practice and to hit the ground running from the beginning of the new academic year ahead. It’s all about “shifting” and “challenging” perceptions in teaching.

Jane Shaddick-Brady is Deputy Headteacher at Dubai English Speaking School, based in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai, a COBIS Accredited Member School and Outstanding BSO School

Published in Independent Education Today, 16 July 2017

May 2017



April 2017

Dubai English Speaking School Newsletter


February 2017

Education Journal Middle East
Maximising Performance in Education


The Source (COBIS Supporting Members Directory) 2017


January 2017

People Management (CIPD)


December 2016

British School of Coaching Provides North West Schoolchildren with Pioneering Leadership Programme

Teaching young people in schools provides enriched offerings way beyond the curriculum, the sports field and the wide-ranging extra curricula activities in order to help children and young people make the most of their secondary school time and prepare for further education and the workplace.  These days schools have a variety of resources that successfully support children’s learning needs at all levels. It is no surprise therefore to hear of university students and adolescents aged 15, learning leadership skills together and for a Lancashire secondary school to make history by having one of the UK’s first professionally qualified students.

The recently launched Young Leaders Award from British School of Coaching (for ages 14 to 24) was identified by teachers at Burscough Priory Science College in Lancashire as an opportunity to provide their students with a unique opportunity to gain a Level 2 qualification in Leadership, and improve their profile for life after school.   Kerri Walton is Assistant Headteacher at Burscough, and she explained, “The specific challenge for our school was to work with a number of disaffected students and build their confidence to help them believe in their abilities. We chose BSC due to a number of reasons.

“Firstly, the Young Leaders’ was recommended to us by colleagues. Secondly, they were offering a credible and unique opportunity for our students to be part of a new course that would gain the student a professional qualification that would count towards their GCSEs. Finally, the fact that the course was with BSC, a wellestablished and respected training company, provided us with the confidence that the training would be of a high standard. We knew that by working with BSC, our student’s qualification would be recognised.”

Overseeing the initiative for Burscough is their Director of Technology and a key member of the School’s Aspire Centre, Garry Holden. Mr. Holden explained how it was essential that students bought in to the project and were able to see the benefits of the exercises as well as relating them to every day tasks. He said, “The 8 Year 11 boys selected at Burscough are the first cohort to receive the qualification in a high school environment in the UK. This has made the boys feel proud and ultimately made them focus on the forthcoming GCSE’s and their future career journey. We now have a more focused and enthusiastic group of students who see the value of their contribution to society and the workplace.”   Speaking of the Leadership project at Burscough, Mr. Holden added, “Our specific aim was that the students would improve their Leadership skills, and build their selfesteem and as a result better prepare them for the remaining time in a school setting. In addition, we want to improve the number of GCSE / Level 2 equivalents for the students who are involved.”

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Speaking of the project, Judith Barton, Director of Studies at British School of Coaching said, “We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Burscough and the boys who participated were great advocates for the initiative, they’ve done themselves and the school proud with their achievement.” She continued, “We have a long legacy of working with schools, nationally and internationally on a number of coaching and mentoring initiatives and we understand the care, consideration and the work that is required to make such a project succeed. For a Lancashire school to be the first to successfully launch the Young Leaders Award, in a school, was a real joy for us as a Lancashire-based organisation.”    Burscough confirmed that the outcomes of the course will be officially announced on Thursday at the College and described the result as “phenomenal”. Garry Holden continued, “The impact is palpable; one of our students now walks the school corridors with pride and confidence. His attitude was that he would never engage in conversation with any member of staff. Now he stops and engages with staff to discuss what he has been working on and how much progress he is making. He was mentioned in a Briefing as a “fine example of how working in the correct environment can help all students achieve”.   Other students gained the confidence to ask for weekend work and are now employed as a result, along with two further students who are on work placements, and have been commended for their attitude towards their duties. Two of these students were totally disengaged last year so we know that the course from BSC works.    Holden concluded, “We have two more students that have said finally, after 4 years, they look forward to coming to school.”

Burscough was able to fit the project in around the school timetable by blocking the students’ timetable for three weeks to ensure the full course was covered and delivered in detail. BSC preparations ensured that the complexity of the course was understood so that Burscough could be confident and believe the skills learned would be equivalent to a GCSE subject. Funding came from the school’s internal budget which all of the boys were eligible to receive.   The final word came from Burscough Headteacher, Dr. Graham Clarke, he said of the initiative at his school, “The Young Leaders Award is an essential qualification to build confidence and empower young people.”   For full details about individual or bespoke group programmes for schools or organisations looking to add an initiative to their CSR programme should contact

Published in the Ormskirk Advertiser, 15th December 2016


September 2016

Students are leading the way

Wigan Observer 27.09.16 L2 YL


13 September 2016

Learning about Leadership

Wigan Observer 13.09.16 L2 YL


September 2016

Former Cabinet Minister Puts Young Leaders’ Education High on Northern Powerhouse Agenda

Lancashire-based organisation, British School of Coaching (BSC), has announced the first cohort of graduates from their inaugural Young Leaders Programme. The Programme coincides with a government announcement of funding available for schools to tackle raising the aspirations of disadvantaged children and lends support to improving social mobility opportunities through coaching and peer mentoring.

The BSC Young Leaders were announced at a special Awards presentation on Saturday, 17 September at the quarterly BSC coaching network event in Orrell, which was attended by the former Cabinet Minister and sitting Labour MP for Leigh, Andy Burnham. The Young Leaders Programme is accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) was launched in July 2016. It is the first professional leadership qualification for young people aged 14 to 24 years.
The new graduates are all local to the region. They are Josh Aspey (21yrs), Charlie Abbott (16yrs), Jess Walton (21yrs), Josh Aubrey-Williams (16yrs) and Charles Wickham (21yrs). Ben Davidson (15yrs) also graduated but was unable to attend the presentation and will receive his Certificate at a later date.
ILM Director of Business Development, Becky James, presented the students with framed certificates in front of their families and a packed room of BSC Network members. She praised the hard work of the students for achieving success in the new qualification. Mr. Burnham, who is a candidate in the forthcoming Greater Manchester Mayoral election in 2017, congratulated the young graduates on their achievement and emphasised the importance of developing leadership skills, resilience, decision-making and problem-solving; all skills that are essential in the workplace. He added that he had discussed the course with Judith Barton, Director of Studies for BSC, and was impressed at the opportunity provided for young people to differentiate and to develop confidence. He concluded, “I think every school should offer this qualification.”
Kerri Walton’s daughter, Jess, is one of the Young Leaders. She spoke with great pride about her daughter’s achievement and said that Jess had thoroughly enjoyed the course, commenting, “Mum, this is the best course I have been on.” Mrs. Walton, who is an Assistant Headteacher at Burscough Priory Science College, went on to explain how she noticed her daughter’s skills developing because of the course and she thanked BSC, “….very much from my heart for developing this confidence and resilience in her.” Burscough has also become one of the first schools in England to undertake offering the Award to students.
BSC Director of Studies, Judith Barton said that employers as well as young people themselves had been asking for help in developing the skills essential to enter the workplace and further education. “The Programme” she explained, “has been designed to give this specific age group life-long learning skills and to build selfesteem so they feel confident about their future, whatever they decide to do.” Judith Barton plans to extend the Young Leaders Programme to schools and colleges. She added, ‘The government’s launch of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme incorporates funding for schools in 6 areas to help them raise aspirations of young people, leading to improved academic achievement. Our Programme is flexible and wide-ranging to develop key skills needed as part of an inclusive social mobility initiative. As well as our existing schools, we welcome enquiries from interested education establishments direct or from businesses that would like to incorporate this as a community support part of their corporate social responsibility plan.”
For full details about individual or bespoke group programmes for schools and organisations looking to add to their CSR programme should contact


August 2016

How to Choose a Coach
By Judith Barton & Martin Hill

Coaching is a recognised technique in the development of individuals’ performance as skills and knowledge are deepened and goals are set.

Clarity – Before you embark upon the process of selecting a coach, you need to ensure that you are clear about what outcome you wish to achieve. This is frequently the main cause of disappointment, or at worst, failure. If you are not clear what the ultimate aim of the coaching is, it will be almost impossible to set any meaningful matrices to measure the success of the intervention. What is it that you are seeking to achieve? What needs to change? What aspect do you need the support of the coach for? Does the coach need to have wider skills or knowledge to draw upon to support that aim?

Credibility – At present, coaching is an unregulated ‘industry’ and anyone can describe him or herself as a Coach. Recent surveys of HR professionals and other coaching buyers have highlighted that consumers are becoming even more diligent in their enquiries of prospective coaches

Contract – Coaching should be a relationship based on equality. The coach is not there to act as an expert or to advise – they are there to act in an objective, non-judgmental manner but providing challenge to the client’s thoughts and ideas and helping them achieve their desired outcome. Good coaches will include the client in the design of the contract that will regulate their contractual relationship; setting the boundaries; specifying the roles of both parties; describing the methodology to be used. Confidentiality is a crucial aspect and all parties should be clear, prior to commencement of any coaching assignment, about what information is to be shared, with whom and for what purpose?

Concise – Whilst we would argue it is impossible to predict at the outset the number of sessions necessary to make progress, there are so many variables to a successful session, from our experience significant progress can be made in three coaching sessions. To make this progress coaches must have the skills and experience, there must be a ‘fit’ with the client and’, the definition of a successful session must be identified. Refining a client’s initial desired outcome is more often than not the focus of the first session.

Conditions- Other variables we believe make a positive contribution to the session are environment, where will the session take place? If it’s within an organisation, is it separate to the client’s area of work? One organisation we work with in the UAE decided to convert a small building in the grounds that is separate to the main building to be their Coaching Suite. Clients noted “the 5 minute walk created space to think”, “the separate facility signalled coaching and time for me”.
Published: CIPD Magazine


15 July 2016

Lancashire Business Launches First Professional Young Leaders Award to Give Youth the Edge

Lancashire-based coaching and mentoring specialists, British School of Coaching (BSC), has launched the first professional qualification for young people (ages 14 to 24) following a successful pilot test in Lancashire this year. The ILM Level 2 Award for Young Leaders, which takes three months to complete and includes two-day workshops, aims to develop key lifelong self-development skills, and behaviours for building confidence. Participation creates a valuable launch pad for young people entering work, further education or higher education to differentiate themselves from other applicants. Delegates participate in lively and highly interactive workshops and they are supported by professional coaches from BSC.

Speaking on the first day of the new programme, BSC Director of Studies, Judith Barton said, “We’re delighted to have teamed with the ILM to produce a fantastic and long-needed programme of study for young people preparing for exams, college and the workplace. Young people face increasing demands in schools and colleges. In a rapidly changing world, students have to be self-starters. They need the tools to proactively manage their time and make judgments about which skills they must improve upon. Lifelong learning is becoming the norm”

Barton speaks in the wake of much media commentary nationally regarding young people being prepared for the rigour of university and work. “Gaining an internationally recognised qualification accredited by the ILM is a great addition to any CV.”

What makes this an exciting development is the involvement of young people who helped create the workshop and were key to the success of the pilot. Participants in the inaugural programme are aged between 15 and 21 years and they summed up their feelings after Day One:
“Activities are brill! And written tasks are fun.”
“…. learn skills about the future”
“Work as a team with people you haven’t met before…. learn ways on managing hard situations.”
“It helped relate things to real-life….how to ‘survive’.“
“I have learned new skills on self-leadership, how to set and achieve goals. I completed a self-reflection and learnt about resilience and fun.”
“Discovered I’m a kinaesthetic learner.”

BSC Programme Co-Ordinator, Amy Southern, who herself is in early 20s, has been working as part of the team to get the course ready for yesterday’s launch and commented, “We tested the programme in June and now we have 6 participants on the launch programme. The turnaround from test-phase to this launch date has been a result of great teamwork, with superbly documented feedback and a determination by everyone to deliver. What makes it such a great course is that the participants do all the work during the four-day programme of workshops and complete workbooks that are then assessed – no work has to be done outside of the course days. Successful completion will provide a minimum of 4 credits towards further study via the international qualifications framework. I’m very pleased to be involved and to be working so closely with learners gives me added incentive.”

Judith Barton concluded, “The qualification demonstrates a can-do approach. Our programme develops skills in self-leadership, resilience, decision-making and problem solving, as well as communication and planning. All skills essential are differentiators and builders of self-esteem.”

For full details about individual or bespoke group programmes for schools and organisations looking to add to their CSR programme, contact
Published: Independent Education Today; Wigan Observer; Coaching At Work (05.09.16)

May 2016

Coaching and Mentoring Brings a Mindset to HRM that is More than Just Fashion

Many of us remember a coach or mentor who has had a profound positive impact on us, be it through work, sport or study. However, if asked, we would find it hard to identify the generic qualities required to be a good coach. The UK organisation, British School of Coaching (BSC) aims to give people those generic skills which can be used in a wide variety of contexts; training, teaching, mentoring, parenting, peer guidance and support.
BSC is the market leader in providing international training and studying for the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) coaching qualifications and has established a reputation for delivering high quality training. Building a successful business in one country and then exporting that professional expertise successfully across continents means that BSC is able to share coaching in different cultural settings.
Launched in 2004 by Director of Coaching and Mentoring, Judith Barton, BSC comprises a faculty of highly skilled and experienced trainers and coaches. With nearly 25 years experience of developing senior leaders in government and private sectors, Barton is also an Executive Coach to business & professional women in the Gulf following her appointment as Chief Assessor to three prestigious business awards in the region.

Coaching skills have become a strategic imperative for many organisations as well as for individuals wanting to enhance their careers. With ever increasing demands on HR, good succession planning is essential and BSC has created a whole host of resources, including short courses or longer study modules to achieve qualifications, in coaching and mentoring. Coaching is fashionable, however, choosing the right trainer and right course is very important. Effective coaching and mentoring is like a diet versus healthy eating. It’s not just adopting changes for a week or two, it is much more than that.
Barton is passionate about the role of coaching and says, “One of the major challenges that buyers face is the large number of coaches offering their services in the marketplace, yet hold no formal coaching or mentoring qualification.” Recognising this she describes how the nature of coaching and mentoring lends itself to BSC working very closely with their clients to build trust and to partner with them in order to help them achieve their goals to facilitate and identify solutions. This is achievable at many levels from business executives to young school age students.
BSC overseas graduate, Katie Meneely completed her studies successfully and then pursued her own career development. Meneely explains, “My Level 7 in Executive Coaching through BSC allowed me to set up my company and support teenagers in Dubai through Coaching, Mentoring and delivering skills development courses. Coaching has a huge impact in empowering individuals, giving them momentum and motivation to make decisions about their future, to take control and therefore improve their performance to become successful.”

Katie continued, “On a personal note, it was due to receiving coaching myself that I signed up with BSC to learn more. BSC provide a thorough, supportive and very professional service for their students to ensure that the standards, integrity and quality of coaching as a young profession are maintained. I’ve learned techniques for highly participatory activities that can promote creativity, as well as stimulate and test individuals’ powers of communication, teamwork and innovation.”
Many schools are also seeing the value of coaching and their involvement in the process is also on the rise.
In 2012, BSC entered into a training partnership with Dubai English Speaking School, the oldest British school in Dubai. This successful programme has produced 33 DESS graduates and is just one of over 20 organisations and individuals that BSC now works with outside the UK. At DESS, BSC has worked with senior leaders, teachers, children and parents to build their community of ‘reflective practitioners’.
Not content with developing and delivering training courses, BSC hosts a quarterly networking programme for graduates, trainees who make up a vibrant community of coaches and mentors across the Middle East and the United Kingdom. Networking events are an important part of development and offer continuing professional development using real life case studies. Each network focuses on a coaching topic with the objective of expanding the professional development and building expertise. All sessions offer a professional development opportunity for individuals to grow their knowledge and understanding further. Topics include Career Coaching, Contracting & Permission, Research Updates and Building your Practice.

After several years of research BSC felt it was time that more coaches were recognised beyond certification and should become professionally identified as Fellows (Masters degree level), Members (Post-graduate degree level) or Affiliates of a new International Society of Qualified Coaches (ISQC). In May 2015, they chose Dubai as the global location to launch the new society. Being at the very forefront of innovation and supporting opportunity, the Emirate was the obvious choice. “These are values that we espouse.” adds Barton
Impressively, BSC offers over 125 years of combined experience of coaching in a wide variety of commercial settings. As their professional presence grows, BSC sees a bright future and more so as the younger participants in school programmes grow up with the mindset of coaching and mentoring. Judith Barton firmly believes that coaching is an important skill that spans a wide age range and concludes, “Minds are a reservoir of thinking, debate and comment and coaching creates the environment for this to be effective.”


26 May 2016

Conferences and Networking for School Leaders (COBIS)
By Carmella Hunt
Making the decision to visit an international education conference is not taken lightly by educators at any level but independent British overseas school leaders recently gathered in London for the Council of British Independent Schools’ (COBIS) key annual event, which brought together representatives from every continent for a global gathering of over 300 member school leaders, educators and suppliers. I was there with clients but I was also keen to see what it is that school leaders get from attending an event, which takes them away form school for several days, especially in a modern age when there’s digital communication?
The Conference took place from 7 – 9 May in London and I met up with Accredited Members from several independent schools in the Gulf regions that were representing their schools. It was clear that, primarily as Members, it’s important to participate and have the opportunity to share best practice and to be part of the influencing of future developments; networking with leaders from across the planet, as well as meeting supporting members, some of whom were exhibiting adds value to a independent school. The Conference opened and closed with positive and warm messages from the CEO of COBIS, Colin Bell. He told me, “Our conference theme this year was Storytelling, because we believe that every one of the 650 representatives that joined us here in London from our COBIS Schools and Supporting Members in over 75 countries worldwide, has a story to tell. Storytelling is a two-way process, it’s not just about telling the story but also listening to the stories of others. The COBIS Annual Conference has been a fantastic opportunity to learn from the stories told by each and every one of us over the past three days and I hope that they have helped us all to think about how we can use the experience of others to inspire in the classroom, or the office, or wherever your creativity blossoms on a day-to-day basis”.
But this is not an article about the excellent Show, there are other events throughout the school calendar and there will be plenty of reviews published elsewhere. This is about what attending an education conference offers school leaders like my colleagues and what we actually gain from this type of event.
From a Principal’s perspective, the advantages of exploiting the opportunity to network in one place with those at the cutting edge of educational development, including practitioners and bolt-on services, was described to me as the “key determinant” in making the trip from Dubai to the Intercontinental Hotel, in
Greenwich. One Principal informed me, “This year’s conference theme was about using the power of telling stories to inspire and lead. It’s a simple idea but one that must be executed in the right way to have credibility.” In fact, keynote speaker, Professor Deborah Eyre, international education leader, academic and author of High Performance Learning gave an inspiring presentation about helping every child to achieve their potential through ‘systematic nurturing’ and she described the ‘room at the top’ scenario. Professor Eyre summed it up perfectly when she said that schools must decide the road ahead for their own establishment and she pointed to three goals that most schools deliver on vision; 1. performs highly, regardless of starting point 2. students are equipped for the future 3. delivers outcome each year regardless of context
It was clear to me that, whilst it’s possible to catch up via reviews, the full value of the message was only gained through attendance and meeting with leading British education influencers. I met Andrew Gibbs, Principal of Dubai English Speaking School and College (DESSC), an Accredited Member of COBIS. He was clear that the concepts outlined by Professor Eyre and the many other presentations he attended, helps him to ensure that the strategic vision of his international schools fits with cutting edge thinking elsewhere.
It was evident that the opportunity to discuss ideas with others helps leaders to clarify and shape their ideas about how their schools will move forward. I think that good leadership requires time for reflection as well as action and this COBIS Conference allowed delegates to reflect, discuss, analyse and synthesise those ideas that were already taking shape. The conference advantage included the chance to speak to the many specialist education suppliers exhibiting, which included IT, recruitment, uniforms, website designers, education book and software distributors. I spoke to service provider, British School of Coaching (BSC), market leaders in providing ILM accredited qualifications. Their work includes schools in the UK and overseas, that either have or want to develop a coaching and mentoring culture and this could be looking to accredit practice or simply a parent wondering how to best mentor their child. Judith Barton, Director of BSC said, “Our work provides individuals and organisations the opportunity and skills to develop. Attending the conference allows me to discuss how we add value to coaching and mentoring initiatives that may already be happening in schools. Through our Executive Coaching service, for example, we are working with Principals and Headteachers in delivering their vision.
Barton added, “Our aim is about recognition and professionalisation of coaching practice, so through meeting and discussing individual needs in this arena we can explain how our range of courses offer professional and rigourous support at all levels; leaders, teachers, parents and students.”
I gained a clear message from all the school leaders I talked to, that often when they are in school, the day-to-day realities of school management do not allow for strategic thinking.
Independent school leaders’ strategic planning no doubt includes themes that were discussed at this event: • Creating a Successful School: Leadership stories of resilience and success from students, staff, leaders and parents • Future Proofing your Schools’ Success: Succession planning, building capacity and exploring the supply and continuity of teachers in British overseas schools • Every School a Unique School for a Unique Context: focusing on local adaptation to reflect community expectations • Leadership in the Schools of the Future: How effective leadership and skill sets are changing • The Nimble, Change-Ready School: Creating and changing for more open, accountable, and adaptable school cultures and systems
The inspirational presenters we heard from included:- Joe Simpson: World-renowned mountaineer, author, speaker and the subject of the BAFTA Award winning film Touching the Void Curtis Jobling: British illustrator, animator and author, best known for his production design of children’s TV hit, Bob The Builder and author/illustrator of other children’s books Richard Addis: British journalist and entrepreneur who’s worked with Financial Times and Sunday Telegraph, and currently edits The Day, an education resource for schools. Richard also chaired a panel discussion with Wendy Berliner, The Guardian, Lord Knight, TES Global and Nicky Cox MBE, First News. Neil Strowger CEO, Bohunt Education Trust and Headteacher, Bohunt School Liphook – featured in BBC documentary, “Are Our Kids Tough Enough?”
COBIS also offered optional courses before and after the conference on vital areas of school practice; Advanced Child Protection and Safer Recruitment. There was also a special presentation for UK independent schools considering operating overseas, called Developing your Independent School Brand, which was an opportunity for prospective international schools to meet principals and experts in developing British overseas schools and to learn first hand about the many opportunities for independent schools in England to develop their education brand abroad.
And so I ended my reflection on this weekend-long education conference. It gives the vital space that all school leaders need to be effective in their strategic planning. Just how each school executes the strategy will differ from establishment to establishment and continent to continent but I’ve no doubt whatsoever that all will be aiming to improve on what they did last year and continue offering pupils the best opportunities and open the door to better life chances.
Published: Independent Education Today


May 2016

Let Them Eat Cake ……and Fundraise
Wigan-based British School of Coaching (BSC), market leaders in coaching and mentoring, held one of their regular Coaching Network events on Saturday in Orrell attracting their largest audience to date and raised £159.31 for their chosen registered charity, the eve appeal. Eve Appeal supports women affected by gynaecological cancers. The money was raised from a Book and ‘Bake a Cake’ sale held for delegates attending the Network.
A colourful array of baked goodies attracted much needed break time comfort with a cup of tea and networking delegates tucked in happily. Leading the way was local businesswoman, Judith Barton (pictured), Director of British School of Coaching. Judith herself has personal reasons for supporting the eve appeal and has arranged several fundraisers previously, including supporting friends of BSC who ran the Windermere Marathon and the Dubai Marathon.
Speaking after the event, Judith said, “There’s something really nice about eating cake when it’s made for you and we are so grateful to delegates, staff, family and friends for donating their cakes for us to raise funds today. Today’s meeting attracted 32 delegates from as far afield as Dubai and everyone was welcome. Our Network events are open to anyone interested in developing coaching techniques or continuing their professional coaching development.”