Coaching & Leadership Development

Education for the Soul Conference

Aligning School Improvement with What Matters Most


Pre-Register for “Education for the Soul” Conference 2018






 The Speakers


The Education for the Soul Conference hosted some of the foremost experts in Well-being, Values-Based Education and Resilience who presented a series of inspiring workshops and talks over the course of the day.

Vanessa King (Keynote Speaker)

Vanessa King is a board member at Action for Happiness and author of their Ten Keys to Happier Living book. She plays an active role, speaking nationally and internationally and translating the latest psychological research into practical action to help individuals, organisations and communities enhance their wellbeing and resilience.

Vanessa has a background in professional services, with expertise in leadership, talent and organisational development.

She is one of a small group people globally to have completed a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, studying under Martin Seligman and many of the other leaders in the field.

Vanessa combines in-depth knowledge of the science of well-being with her client experience to help people get the most from work and for organisations to get the best from its people. She delivers a range of workshops focused on well-being, resilience and workplace creativity as well as working alongside organisations to design bespoke solutions.

She is trained as a facilitator on the University of Pennsylvania’s Master Resilience Training programme for the US Army, she is a master practitioner of the Happiness at Work survey and a member of the UK Government’s employee engagement taskforce, Engage for Success.

Keynote Title: Ten Essential Keys to Happiness

What did Vanessa speak about?

Neil Hawkes (Keynote Speaker & Workshop Facilitator)

Neil Hawkes is the founder of Values-based Education (VbE). Neil is highly respected throughout the world as an educational leader and thinker. He was awarded his doctorate from Oxford University.  Neil’s highly successful career in the UK encompassed teaching, three headships, and senior educational leadership in county education authorities.


Whilst he was a county chief adviser for education, he decided to return to a school headship to implement his transformational ideas, which promotes Self-leadership based on positive human values.  Neil spent seven years as Headteacher of West Kidlington School in Oxford where he gained a reputation for his outstanding leadership and transformational curriculum.

It was here that the school community worked together to devise and implement a system of Values-based Education that has been recognised internationally as the foundation of outstanding school practice.  Neil is well known as an inspirational speaker, broadcaster and writer. His latest book, From My Heart, transforming lives through values, is a celebration of the success of VbE worldwide and is a must read for all.

Keynote Title – The Inner Curriculum

What did Neil speak about?

Alison Kriel (Workshop Facilitator)


Alison was born in South Africa and as a child attended schools in various African countries, as well as Ireland and England. She has always taught in Hackney schools because she loves the diversity of the community. Alison was the founder head teacher of Betty Layward School. As head teacher she managed its development from a 90 pupil Early Years school to a very popular and successful 2 form entry primary school for 470 pupils.

Alison joined Northwold School in 2008, initially as an interim post to support it during some challenging times and to prepare it for an overdue Ofsted inspection. She became the substantive head teacher in 2009. When Alison took over Northwold there was only 50% permanent staff, 64% staffing attendance, a falling pupil roll and the school was one of the lowest achieving schools in the country.

Under Alison’s leadership the school has a full list of permanent staff members with 98% attendance, an oversubscribed pupil roll, is the highest performing school in Hackney, is in the top 3 in London and the national top 100. Northwold is a Gold Club member, a national Pupil Premium and SSAT award winner.

Alison’s leadership skills have consistently been described as outstanding by Ofsted. She is the founder executive principal for a new Multi Academy Trust – Amaya Trust which converted on 1st April 2015


Workshop Title: Because Everyone Matters: Well-being and school Improvement


What will Alison’s Workshop be about?

Steve Russell (Workshop Facilitator)


Steve has never lost his belief in education as a powerful vehicle to promote growth, both for children and young people and also for those working with them. His involvement in and commitment to education has seen him hold a variety of roles, including classteacher, behaviour support teacher and leading a school improvement team.

Throughout this time he has focused on developing his knowledge and understanding of what makes people ‘tick’ and finding creative ways to share this with hardpressed school staff and leaders. He has a particular interest in helping leaders and leadership teams to gain a greater appreciation of what they do well/well enough, and to use this as a basis for planning and supporting further growth.

Workshop Title –  I’m Ok. You’re OK: The Relational aspects of leading schools


What was Steve’s Workshop about?

Dr Ogugua Okolo-Angus (Workshop Facilitator)


Ogugua is a current Ofsted Inspector and Senior Principal Adviser. Her moral compass guides her work as she develops leadership teams and school consultant advisers in primary and secondary schools nationally. She has made a significant impact in the development of plans to ensure a robust improvement strategy in schools nationally.


Ogugua is passionate about effective leadership practice and by leading by way of example has developed a series of training packages to support school leaders and governors in that they may develop authentic resilient leadership strategies whilst facing challenging times. Ogugua uses her own experience to inspire and motivate others to strategically view their leadership roles in that they can be supported to develop work environment, culture, leadership and management practices to facilitate resilience through their work.

Ogugua is a nationally recognised trainer and facilitator and her work has supported the development a series of course materials used to facilitate a range of leadership development courses at the National College. Ogugua is very experienced and very well educated. Her recent doctoral studies have provided her with a greater understanding of a strategic approach to school improvement. Her areas of expertise include school improvement strategy and leadership pedagogy.


Workshop Title –  Building hope together: The Resilient Senior Leadership Team


What was Ogugua’s Workshop about?

Viv Grant (Host)

Viv has been in the education profession for over twenty five years. She is a former primary head teacher and seventeen years ago was one of the youngest heads in the country to turn around a failing primary school.

She has been a lead trainer and consultant for a number of educational training bodies, including the Department for Education, the National College,The London Centre for Leadership in Learning at the Institute of Education and the NUT. She was a  contributing author  to the 2011 publication Mentoring and Coaching in schools and in 2014 published her first book, “Staying A Head: The Stress Management Secrets of Successful School Leaders.”

She has written for the Guardian and appeared on TV, BBC Radio London and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s hour, talking about her work and the role coaching plays in helping school leaders to excel.

Now as an Executive Coach and Director of Integrity Coaching, Viv works daily with others who have taken on the mantle of school leadership. As a result, Viv understands more than most what it takes for school leaders to overcome the often deep, hidden, inner struggles of school leadership and to succeed in fulfilling their vision for themselves and their schools.

Read Viv’s Guardian Article

Tim Small (Co-Host)


Tim’s deep interest in learning and leadership is grounded in twenty-seven years’ experience of teaching and leading in six comprehensive schools, culminating in a headship in Wiltshire. He has practised for fifteen years as an education consultant, working across the UK and in Australia, Malaysia and the Middle East.

Tim has coached education and business leaders in a range of challenging contexts, working alongside them on improving their own and their organisations’ resilient agency and capacity for transformation.  He runs interactive workshops to prepare teachers and leaders to use the Crick Learning for Resilient Agency profile (CLARA) and Authentic Enquiry, to transform learning for individuals, groups and systems.

He has contributed articles and chapters to prestigious, peer-reviewed publications on leadership, learning and values education and he is passionate about integrating the accountability agenda with a humanity agenda.

Based in the West Country near Bristol, he is an Associate Member of the Governing Body of a village primary school (of which he was a governor for eight years) and he is in advanced training in Transactional Analysis Counselling and Psychotherapy at the Berne Institute, near Nottingham.

Giles Barrow (Co-Host)


Giles has a background as a teacher in mainstream and specialist contexts. He spent most of his leadership experience as head of support services in a south London authority. This involved establishing provision for children excluded from schools and in-school practice for students with additional and special educational needs.  Fifteen years ago he began training in transactional analysis.

Giles is especially interested in the relational aspects of leading in learning and developing values-based approaches to creating school culture. He enjoys teaching, spends much of his time training school staff and getting alongside teachers in classrooms. Giles writes on a range of themes about learning, schooling and what it’s like to teach.  Outside of working in schools he runs a small farm in east Suffolk.

Dr Nicholas Sorensen (Musician and Talk Host)

Dr Nicolas Sorensen is a Senior Lecturer in Educational Leadership working in the Professional Masters Programme. His professional experience includes 25 years working in secondary schools: for 6 years he was the headteacher of a large comprehensive school in Wiltshire.

Nicholas is also a jazz musician, playing alto and soprano saxophones, and regularly performs with the pianist John Law. His experience as a musician provides him with an understanding of improvisation that he seeks to apply within educational settings. His PhD thesis, gained in 2014, explored the improvisatory nature of teacher expertise.

Talk Title – School Leadership Discussions: Heart and Soul

Join us as we explore how we can bring the Humanity back into School Leadership…


If you’d like to develop new ways of leading that better support your well-being, resilience and above all, help make school leadership sustainable and joyful, then pre-register for “Education for the Soul” 2018.