Coaching & Leadership Development

Education for the Soul Conference

Creating New Narratives for the School Leader’s Journey

Pre-Register for next year’s Conference


 The Speakers


The Education for the Soul Conference 2018 hosted some of the foremost experts in Well-being, Narrative Leadership and Resilience who presented a series of inspiring workshops and talks over the course of the day.

Geoff Mead (Keynote Speaker)


Geoff Mead, PhD is a writer, storyteller, educator and consultant. He is the author of two books on the power of stories and storytelling: Coming Home to Story: Storytelling Beyond Happily Ever After (Vala, 2011) and Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership (2014, Jossey-Bass), as well as a memoir, Gone in the Morning: A Writer’s Journey of Bereavement, a children’s book, Bear Child and two volumes of poetry.


He is the founder of Narrative Leadership Associates, a consultancy focused on the use of storytelling for sustainable leadership. He has taken his work on narrative leadership onto the shop floors and into the boardrooms of blue chip companies, charities, universities and government departments, for the past two decades. (


Geoff also performs traditional stories at international festivals and storytelling clubs and runs story-based workshops in the UK and as far afield as Spain, Canada and Japan.


Keynote Title: Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership


What was Geoff’s Talk about?

Jan Blake (Keynote Speaker)


Jan Blake is one of Europe’s leading storytellers who has been performing world-wide for nearly thirty years.

Specialising in stories from Africa, the Caribbean, and Arabia, she has a well-earned reputation for dynamic and generous storytelling. She has partnered with a range of blue-chip clients bringing storytelling to audiences at the Royal Opera House, the British Museum, and the British Library.

As well as performing at all the major storytelling festivals, Blake collaborates with the British Council and EFL organisations, facilitating storytelling workshops and leading masterclasses on storytelling as a potent tool for memorable communication and effective teaching. She regularly captivates children with mesmerising stories, working with schools to help enhance pupils’ spoken and written language skills, as well as broadening their understanding of different cultures.

In 2011, she was the recipient of the biannual Thuringe Marchen Preis, awarded to scholars or performers who have devoted their lives to the service of storytelling. In 2012 she was voted Outstanding Female Storyteller in the British Award for Storytelling Excellence (BASE). As part of the World Shakespeare Festival, Blake was the curator for Shakespeare’s Stories, a landmark exhibition that explored themes of journey and identity, in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


Keynote Title – Protecting the Leader’s Heart


What was Jan’s talk about?

Belinda Harris (Workshop Facilitator)


Dr. Belinda Harris is Associate Professor of Counselling and Education, and a member of the Centre for Human Flourishing at Nottingham University. She teaches on a range of programmes, including the PG Cert International Student Support and Advice, the MA Trauma Studies and the MA Person-Centred Experiential Psychotherapy

A UKCP Registered Gestalt Psychotherapist, and ICF Professional Certified Coach, she is Chair of the UK Association for Gestalt practitioners, and sits on the European Association for Gestalt Therapy. She is a registered Training and Supervision Member off the Gestalt Psychotherapy Training Institute, and recently completed eight years as Associate Editor of the British Gestalt Journal.

Belinda received the Lord Dearing Award for Teaching in 2000 and is an accredited teaching member of the Higher Education Academy. She is also an Honorary Member of UKCISA, the United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs. Belinda is Professional Associate of the Gestalt International Study Centre on Cape Cod, MA, where she co-teaches a programme for senior executives, Leadership for the 21st Century. Belinda has authored two books “Supporting the Emotional Work of School Leaders” andResearch on counselling children and young people: a systematic scoping review.”

Belinda is currently supervising five doctoral students whose research areas cover the fields of school counselling internationally, educational leadership, teacher stress and mental health teaching in higher education.


Workshop Title: Leadership Narratives of hope and courage – How school leaders can use the challenges of leadership to bring greater depth, meaning and purpose to their roles


What was Belinda’s Workshop about?

Justin Robbins (Workshop Facilitator)


Justin specialises in creating high performance for business and people; understanding that it starts with how they communicate, what they say, how they say it and what they don’t say.

In 2015, after working for nearly 30 years as professional communicators, Karen and Justin recognised they could help to raise the standard of communication in schools, supporting children like their own. After talking to colleagues in education and further research, they developed a unique approach to improving school communication which is described in their book  “How to build communication success in your school.”

He was recently awarded a Fellowship at the  Institute of Internal Communication and holds a postgraduate diploma in internal communication management from Kingston University. He is also a qualified British Triathlon coach and has been helping athletes to achieve their sporting dreams since 2012.


Workshop Title: The Leader’s Vision Quest – Harnessing the power of a great personal leadership vision


What was Justin and Karen’s Workshop about?

Karen Dempster (Workshop Facilitator)


Karen has had many years of experience in helping people and organisations to communicate.

Since co-writing “How to Build Communication Success in Your School’, Karen now works alongside Justin at Fit2Communicate helping Schools and School Leaders to improve education outcomes through enhancing how they communicate with parents, school staff and the community.

As with Justin, Karen was also recently recognised by the Institute of Internal Communication with a Fellowship.


Workshop Title: The Leader’s Vision Quest – Harnessing the power of a great personal leadership vision

Giles Barrow (Workshop Facilitator)


Giles began his career as a secondary teacher. He then moved in to work in specialist contexts, including off-site provision for youngsters excluded from school or at risk of custody.

His last post in LA work was as Head of the Integrated Support Service in Merton, south London. For the past dozen years, he has been working around the country, teaching, training, consulting and advising.

Fifteen years ago, he began training in Educational Transactional Analysis (EdTA), a psychoanalytic theory which provides a useful educational psychology for making sense of the relational aspects of teaching and learning.

It can also be extended to the theme of developing school leadership and has been incorporated in some schools to inform the how and why of education, alongside improving the quality of relationships in classrooms and staff rooms.

Since then, Giles has been working as a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst (TSTA), a role that involves offering specific training and support to trainees.

In addition, he has a Masters in School and College Management, Post-Graduate Diploma in SEN and a Masters in English Literature.

Giles writes on a range of themes of teaching and learning, school culture, leadership behaviour and vocation. Outside of working in schools he runs a small farm in east Suffolk.

His work is underpinned by three core guiding principles; a commitment to creating a better society, giving due regard to the soil and making space for the soul.


Workshop Title:  The Leader’s Script – Understanding your personal script and building character as a leader


What was Giles’ Workshop about?

Viv Grant (Host)

Viv Grant is the Director of Integrity Coaching. She is also an Executive Coach, Author and Public Speaker. Viv has been in the teaching profession for over thirty years. When she was just thirty-one and expecting her first child, she was appointed as one of the youngest Heads in the country to turn around a failing primary school.

It was because of her experiences as a Head, that Viv developed a deep interest in approaches for supporting the emotional and mental well-being of school leaders.

As an Executive coach, Viv now works extensively with Head teachers and school leaders, helping them to overcome the challenges of their roles, so that they are able to maintain their humanity, joy, love for the profession and the communities they serve.

Her book “Staying A Head” is considered a seminal work in this area. Recognised as an expert in the field, she has contributed to various books and periodicals on the subject. As an expert commentator, her contributions have also been featured in The Guardian, London Live, Sky News, Radio Four, Woman’s Hour and the World at One.

Viv is also an Advisory Board member of the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, at the Carnegie School of Education, Leeds University

Prior to setting up Integrity Coaching, Viv worked as a lead consultant on a range of leadership development programmes for the Institute of Education, the National College, the National Union of Teachers [NUT] and the Department for Education [DfE].

Read Viv’s Guardian Article

Pen Mendonca (Graphic Facilitator)


Pen is an independent graphic facilitator with twenty years experience of working in the UK public and independent sectors. She is a pioneer of live recording practices and cartooning with emotional intelligence. Her practice-based PhD (University of the Arts London) has developed the concept of Values-Based Cartooning as a research method for accessing and representing diversity, (in)equality and inclusion. Pen supports the Windrush Day campaign and WomenEd, she records the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and recently contributed to the John Blanke Project.

Pen is an associate lecturer in contextual and theoretical studies at the London College of Communication and a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art. Pen’s academic work is published in Studies in Comics, Women: A Cultural Review and by Demeter Press, Jessica Kingsley is publishing her book.

Pen works with disabled children and adults, diverse communities, schools, providers and policy makers, drawing on asset-based thinking, person-centred approaches and co-production. Having worked for herself for twenty years, and been a single mother for seven, Pen’s narrative is one of multiple failures alongside moments of glory, she occasionally lacks resilience but rarely lacks humour. She uses art to feed the soul, and capture your colourful insights.

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 and help you to maintain your ability to lead and inspire others, then pre-register for “Education for the Soul” 2019 today…