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The Alternative Path with David Robson

The Alternative Path with David Robson

By David Robson
Some of the most talented individuals on this planet have taken an Alternative Path to greatness. The daily challenges they face and the challenges the people who help those individuals, I feel should be shared.

As someone who runs a business supporting Non Mainstream Education and Care settings, I feel the sectors and people involved should have a platform to share their experiences, educate others and feel positive about the future ahead.

This podcast is for those who have experience or an interest in Inclusion, SEND, SEMH, Trauma or any other form of non mainstream need.

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Jack Beattie – Former PRU and SEN School pupil
In this podcast, Jack and I discussed his journey through education and his experiences. Jack was excluded from mainstream education in his middle school years, Jack discussed his experiences through his school years and throughout our conversation, he speaks about the work that was done to turn his life around once he moved to specialist provision. As someone with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) he discusses the fact he was aware that mainstream wasn’t for him and holds no hard feelings and is pleased that he was placed into specialist provision. Jack also talks about his passion to start a career within education where he wants to follow his dream to help others who may be experiencing similar journeys to himself. I hope you enjoy it.
February 22, 2022
Stu Evans - Headteacher of New Leaf Inclusion Centre
In this episode, I had my second chat with Stu Evans who is the Headteacher of New Leaf Inclusion Centre in Walsall. I first spoke to Stu around the first lockdown and it was great to speak to him about the ongoing work that has been in place since he arrived at what was, at the time an 'Inadequate' rated Pupil Pupil Referral Unit.
February 08, 2022
James Lowe - Director/Proprietor Edstart & Next Level Learning
In this podcast, James Lowe and I discussed his journey into education and the journey he has been on so far as the Founder/Director of both EdStart and Next Level Learning. After teaching sport, public services and social policy in different sectors across Manchester, James registered the school alongside Chris Irwin and a small team. From there he has been responsible for the growth of the school from its original site, to the several centres across Greater Manchester. Having led the school to successive 'Good' Ofsted inspections his aim is to further strengthen the offer to the region's young people. James has supported several local authorities in developing the landscape of alternative provision, most recently working on the successful DfE 'Alternative Provision Innovation Fund' bid for Salford City Council. Established in 2014 Next Level Learning was aimed at ‘closing the gap’ in education. Our founding Directors identified a need for outreach tuition in the alternative provision field as students were not attending any education offered to them for several reasons. Our first approach was home or in school support tuition and from there it has developed into sessions being delivered in various settings to young people with a variety of different needs. Now we cover areas across Greater Manchester and the North West, delivering to students from KS1 through to KS4. We have grown purely through hard work, commitment and recommendation which gives us pride in what we have achieved and ambition for future goals.
February 01, 2022
Joe Cole – Founder of The Rightpath Organisation
In this episode, we had the pleasure of talking to Joe Cole who is the Founder of The RightPath. Having recently met Joe it was great to chat to him about his journey through education, the influence people had on his childhood and his vision for helping young people through their journey. “The RightPath delivers a variety of bespoke social and emotional wellbeing provisions that aid personal development and support a positive approach to challenging behaviours. The core aim of our work is to enhance the emotional wellbeing, mental health and life opportunities of children and young people in our society. We deliver in some of the most deprived and disadvantaged areas across the UK, supporting an increasingly high number of children and young people experiencing relationship issues, disengagement from education and a rise in mental health conditions.”
September 28, 2021
Rebecca Harbord – Social Channel and Brand Manager at Woodmor Foundation C.I.C
Rebecca Harbord – Social Channel and Brand Manager at Woodmor Foundation C.I.C In this episode I chatted to Rebecca Hardbord who is the Social Channel and Brand Manager at Woodmor Foundation C.I.C. The foundation provides unique employment initiatives which showcase employability skills for our participants. We do this by creating a digital CV called a ‘Me Movie’ which supplements traditional CV’s and helps gain purposeful paid employment for disabled, disadvantaged or vulnerable individuals. In our conversation Rebecca discusses having Bipolar Type 2 her journey through education as a young person who was suffering from depression. Rebecca is proud to be part of a foundation that has such strong values and beliefs when it comes to helping those with a disability.
September 14, 2021
Natalie Reardon – Deputy Head Teacher and SENCo at Kedleston Group
Natalie Reardon – Deputy Head Teacher and SENCo at Kedleston Group In this episode, I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Natalie Reardon who is a passionate member of the Kedleston Group SLT team. Natalie is currently Deputy Head Teacher and SENCo at a SEMH / Autism School in Bury, Greater Manchester. In our conversation, we spoke about the benefits of giving young people more autonomy, respect, trust and help create pupil lead learning, which in 2021 is something most of us look for and appreciate. Natalie’s passion for bringing the best out of learners is evident and it was refreshing to also discuss the area of self care and being the best, we can be. We also discussed the importance of making sure we all have our own free time outside of work, in a world that is becoming more adaptable to working from home, we both feel strongly that this is an important part of looking after our own well being. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
August 31, 2021
Warren King - Public Speaker and Personal Trainer
Warren King - In this episode I spoke to Warren who is an Ex-drug dealer, ex-gang leader, ex-prisoner, sentenced to three and a half years in prison for possession with intent to sell Class A & B drugs, and production of a class B drug.  Warren had no qualifications before his incarceration and thought: “All I would ever be good at was selling drugs.”  I lacked confidence and had no self-esteem. I was lost and ended up in the dark place that is prison. However, I eventually found education. Education and learning new things gave me the direction and motivation I needed to go on and do better things. My journey is continuing to the London School of Economics where I will be studying BSc Sociology. I present workshops to secondary and/or at-risk students nationally. I use my lived experiences to educate young people on the unintended consequences of addiction, drugs, and crime, in the hope that they can learn from my experiences. I talk about mental health, drugs, county lines, gangs, violence, and prison. I would like to use sport as a platform of engagement, for those particularly at risk of gang related crime to help facilitate the building of positive relationships with their peers and positive mental health attitudes. Having spoken to Warren I think his journey is one that can now be used to help educate those who are at risk of making decisions that have negative consequences. Warren is now highly motivated to educate himself and is a strong believer in the power of education. I hope you enjoy our chat.
May 26, 2021
Stephen Steinhaus – Principal of Solihull Academy & Frontman/Singer
Stephen Steinhaus – Principal of Solihull Academy & Frontman/Singer In this episode, I had the pleasure of talking to Stephen Steinhaus from Solihull Academy in the midlands.  Solihull Academy opened in April 2018 because Solihull needed an additional, alternative solution for a number of students for whom mainstream education is simply not working (for a range of reasons). Put bluntly, Solihull Academy is not your run-of-the-mill school. Solihull Academy is a game changer for pupils in the borough who really need the game to change. With a balanced mix of academic and pastoral intervention, challenge, rigour, The SA team have created a structured, therapeutic environment to give some of our students in the borough a chance to truly succeed. Make no mistake, though…Stephen and his team work incredibly hard, but play hard as well, and they are creating a community that can and will change the educational futures and life chances for every student that engages, thereby, change what education looks like in Solihull. Stephen talks about the comparisons between being a singer/frontman and getting engagement from the crowd vs achieving the same engagement with pupils. Throughout our podcast, we spoke about the work involved when working in AP. I hope you enjoy.
April 27, 2021
Sarah Dove Founder of Phoenix Education Consultancy and President of PRUsAP
Sarah Dove Founder of Phoenix Education Consultancy and President of PRUsAP Sarah has over 15 years’ experience working in Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Provisions, ‘I am passionate about and dedicated to, ensuring every child, regardless of the severity of their vulnerabilities or complexity of their needs, are given an opportunity to embrace all components of education rather than simply experience a curriculum.’ Founder & CEO - Phoenix Education Consultancy At Phoenix Education Consultancy we aim to improve the education system whilst ensuring every child it serves is able to embrace all aspects of education. We recognise that an inclusive education system is an aspiration and whilst taking steps to reach that goal, we focus on every child that needs support to maximise the outcomes of their learning. We are experts and well experienced in working with children with severe vulnerabilities and complex needs in Pupil Referral Units, Alternative Provisions, Hospitals and Secure Training Centres. At Phoenix we have developed a series of tools, programmes and services that ensure we all deliver a standard that reaches best practice rather than minimal compliance and provided. President – PRUsAP PRUsAP represents the Alternative Provision sector of Education regionally and nationally. We challenge the stereotypes associated with AP and promote the success of schools and vulnerable young people in AP settings. Not only do we represent the sector, we work with politicians, the media, organisations and other school leaders across the education spectrum to help them understand Alternative Provision and the impact it can have on young people's lives. We provide support and advice to schools, both in alternative provision and mainstream. Our Annual Conference is the focal point of our continuing professional development with additional events throughout the year that provide an opportunity for AP leaders to meet and discuss practice. Sarah is also close to releasing her book ‘Behaving Together In The Classroom’ which provides teachers with frameworks and processes to help them identify, understand and support the issues children bring to the classroom. Using a clear five step formula, the book explores the perspectives of children, to guide teachers as they support them within the school environment. The book explores the nature of emotional health and well-being and the real implications of this on the way children are seen to act within the school. Rather than punishing unwanted behaviour, the book begins with the assumption that behaviour is our innate form of communication, that should be supported rather than controlled. It recognises the network of relationships within a school’s community and provides helpful resources to support a child’s inclusion in school life I hope you enjoy.
April 12, 2021
Jeremy Dodd Co-Headteacher at The Academy of Central Bedfordshire. Central Bedfordshire School's Forum member.
Jeremy Dodd Co-Headteacher at The Academy of Central Bedfordshire. Central Bedfordshire School's Forum member. In this episode, I had the pleasure in chatting to Jeremy. He is an educator who has a clear passion for inclusivity and care for his staff and pupil’s. The Academy of Central Bedfordshire is an alternative provision free school and is set across two sites. The staff works holistically with pupils to create an environment in which they can learn, mature and thrive. The work Jeremy and his team have and continue to do within the school is fantastic and I really believe that Jeremy is a great example of what it means to work in the sector, at times in our conversation I could really see the passion in Jeremy. I hope you enjoy!!
March 22, 2021
Hannah Simnett – Founder of Cherished
Hannah is an award-winning leader, speaker and influencer, with a huge heart for young women and for every girl to know her true worth. Hannah founded Cherished in 2011, in response to her own personal experiences and seeing the attachment needs of young girls not being met. ‘I’ve always felt strongly about the need for girls to be understood and being a part of their journey to become strong, confident, young women.’ Hannah wrote the Cherished Course while she studied for a degree in Youth, Children’s and Community Work in Nottingham. She began delivering the course in secondary schools in 2011, to an overwhelmingly positive reception. Cherished has flourished under Hannah’s leadership and inspirational determination to bring out the true potential and value of girls. We have now worked in over 35 schools across North Birmingham and the Midlands, have a dedicated team of 70 volunteers and continue to nurture the vision of every girl being able to access the support she needs to feel safe, seen, soothed and secure.  ‘My heart’s desire is that Cherished allows girls to live their lives knowing that they were made with purpose and reason; they were created to be cherished and adored.’ Since starting The Alternative Path, I have met some amazing people, Hannah is an inspirational lady who through her own challenges is now through her organisations is making a real positive impact on young people’s lives. I hope you enjoy our chat.
March 15, 2021
Nikki Mears & Nick Boothroyd - The founding team behind Naturally Talented Me
Nikki Mears & Nick Boothroyd - The founding team behind Naturally Talented Me Naturally Talented Me (NTM) is a Community Interest Company that has been launched to address longstanding inequalities in the employment market. Inequalities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdown as many millions are being displaced from previously secure and long-term jobs and are unclear as to where they now fit in the new world of work. Current recruitment processes focus on certifications and experience, whereas NTM provides a new approach; one that reflects the attributes of a much more dynamic and diverse talent pool and better meets the needs of employers. It was developed to support the most disadvantaged in our society – groups such as SEND, older workers, ex-military and ex-offenders – and the intervention organisations that represent them. COVID-19, and the impact it has had on sectors such as Hospitality, Retail, Entertainment, Travel and Leisure, has highlighted the importance of this new way of profiling individuals’ talents across the entire job market. Nikki and Nick have created a platform that offers individuals from all backgrounds and abilities a mechanism to showcase themselves in an effective way that is fit for 2021. And its free for individuals to use. I hope you enjoy our chat.
March 11, 2021
Ben Levinson - Head Teacher at Kensington Primary School
In this episode, I had the pleasure of chatting with Ben Levinson Headteacher at Kensington Primary School in Newham, London. Ben and Kensington Primary School won Teaching Awards Primary School of the Year and TES Wellbeing and Mental Health School of the Year. Having spoken to Ben and got a good understanding of what he has created at Kensington it is clear to see that Ben, his Team, Pupils, and Community have worked collectively to make Kensington Primary School the centre point of their community. By doing this they have and are achieving fantastic things together. I really apricated Ben talking about the importance of when even as a leader, we do not always have the answers and sometimes you need to take some time for your self to be the best you can be. It was a pleasure talking to Ben and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
March 09, 2021
Fay Greaves - Engagement for Learning Lead (SLT SEMH School)
Fay Greaves - Engagement for Learning Lead (SLT SEMH School) In this episode, I chatted to Fay Greaves who is an SLT from an Essex based SEMH Residential School for boys. She has worked in the sector for over 30 years and through her love of sports in particular basketball, she has helped a number of young people re engage with education. Fay’s skills have been enhanced by the 35 years she has spent playing, coaching sport and in doing so she has built up a good network of friends across the globe, particularly in basketball (WNBA/NBA and Basketball Aus). Fay shares my thoughts on the power of collaboration, and I look forward to chatting with her again soon. I hope you enjoy!!
March 02, 2021
Aniesa Blore - Independent Pediatric Occupational Therapist – Author
Aniesa Blore - Independent Pediatric Occupational  Therapist – Author Aniesa completed her degree in Occupational Therapy in  1999 at the University of Stellenbosch, in South Africa. She has since been focusing on paediatrics and sensory processing and integration. She has worked across a range of paediatric fields and has extensive experience in children’s issues from autism to learning difficulties. Her speciality areas of practice include Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental  Delays and Dyspraxia. Aniesa has extensive experience in using standardised and non-standardised assessment for establishing a baseline on which intervention can be delivered and continually evaluated. Sensational Kids Therapy. In 2020 Aniesa released a book – Link to  Parenting the Conundrum Child “Over my 20  years experience as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, I’ve become aware of a  cohort of children being referred to me who do not have any diagnosis.   Somewhere along the line, usually around the time formal schooling starts,  things have started to go wrong. Subtle hints. Nothing glaring, but parental instincts have said that something is off. They may sleep badly, struggle to socialise, not cope (or go) on playdates, find restaurants distressing. Friends and family are likely to say ‘nothing’s wrong!’ or ‘you’re overreacting’. Aniesa calls these children conundrum children - wonderful, (sometimes frustrating), unique kids who need some extra support to be independent, fulfilled, and happy. This book is for all those parents with a conundrum child, who want their children to thrive, to succeed, and simply not to have to struggle with what seems to come so easily to other kids their age. It’s for parents who want to connect with their kids and have peace of mind that their kids will be OK. Aniesa is a  fantastic human being who is making a positive impact in a lot of different way, we hope you enjoy our chat as much as we did. Podcast links Anchor FM - The  Alternative Path with David Robson Spotify – The  Alternative Path with David Robson Apple  – The Alternative Path with David Robson Google  Podcast - The Alternative Path with David Robson Radio  Republic – The Alternative Path with David RobsonThe  Alternative Path with David Robson
February 21, 2021
Jules Daulby – Dorset SEN School SLT / Co-Founder #WomenED / Inclusion Expert – Department of Education and testing Agency.
In this episode I chatted to Jules Daulby who is an experienced inclusion, literacy and assistive technology specialist, writer, and public speaker. She has worked in education for more than 20 years as a teacher and in strategic and advisory roles.  Jules is also a national leader for @WomenEd and @WomenEd_Tech, both set up to support existing and aspiring women leaders in education and technology.  She also campaigns for the prevention of exclusionary practice in mainstream school. Jules is also an Inclusion Expert for the Department of Education and Testing Agency. Jules has a passionate view that every pupil should have a place in a mainstream school and that we all need to work together to ensure every pupil receives the best possible education. I hope you enjoy.
February 15, 2021
Steven Russell - Founder of Elements | SEMH support service | Children & Young people
In the episode I had the pleasure in chatting to Steven Russell. In our chat we spoke about our own vulnerabilities and the benefit of opening ourselves up to our vulnerabilities to make us stronger. We also chatted about how we might look back on the way in which a lot of young people are being isolated and excluded. Elements is a social & emotional mental health (SEMH) support service for primary & secondary schools. Steven enjoys listening to Simon Sinek. ‘he's been a real inspiration to me and elements, he said, "start with why" so here we go’. WHY DOES ELEMENTS' EXIST AND WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CARE? Elements like most things began as a simple thought in my mind and so like a seed that thought began to grow. Elements exist for multiple reasons however the overarching reason is to simply give my energy to a great cause, our children. When I was a child my life was extremely chaotic and uncertain, while teachers were concerned about Stevens lack of concentration in class, Steven was sat in a classroom wondering where he would be sleeping that night. I experienced multiple moves, multiple rejections, multiple breakdowns and yet despite everything I faced as a child, I overcome adversity with support, guidance and belief from others. So now I'm in a fantastic position to be that person in another child's life with an optimistic outlook. Are you the kind of school that describes social & emotional mental health as crucial to your student's wellbeing? If so, please feel free to reach out to Steven and see if he can offer you and your young people some support. Steven Russell - LinkedIn Elements SEMH Support – YouTube Podcast links Anchor FM - The Alternative Path with David Robson Spotify – The Alternative Path with David Robson Apple – The Alternative Path with David Robson Google Podcast - The Alternative Path with David Robson Radio Republic – The Alternative Path with David Robson
February 10, 2021
Darren Clark - Dyslexia Influencer Changing perceptions for Neurodiversity globally through speaking, training, and consulting.
Having only been diagnosed with dyslexia in his late thirties, Darren left school with no qualifications and had to work extremely hard to earn his previous position as regional manager for one of the largest food retailers in the UK. Darren decided that raising awareness for dyslexia was paramount for it to be recognised early and wants to inspire in every generation the knowledge that dyslexia is a superpower that allows you to see things differently, and you can be successful regardless. “I really struggled at school, no matter how hard I tried I just didn’t seem to be learning at the same pace as my peers. Being asked to stand up in class would fill me with anxiety and I would come home to my family everyday feeling stupid and with crippling headaches. Each day at school I would hope that things would somehow be better, and my understanding of the lessons would suddenly improve. Sadly, this never happened. As I moved upwards through the years at school, more of my time would be spent in ‘The Unit’, a freezing portacabin in the far reaches of the school grounds where the ‘problem’ kids were sent to receive special help. The special help never materialised, and I came to understand that kids were sent to ‘The Unit’ to get them out of the way. No person should ever go to school or work feeling like that, and I want to assist in that change." I hope you enjoy.
February 08, 2021
Shiraz Khan FRSA FCCT – Headteacher Primary School Brent Council
Shiraz Khan FRSA FCCT – Headteacher Primary School Brent Council This week I had the pleasure in chatting to Shiraz Khan who is a Headteacher of a Voluntary Aided, Local Authority, community Primary School in Brent. Shiraz’s career has taken him to varied educational settings which has given him a fantastic amount of experience with a diverse range of young people. In my first conversation with Shiraz the thing that really made me interested to chat to him further was his passion for understanding our why. We both share the view that it is so important to understand our why and how empowering it can be. Shiraz is using his professional experience and his why to ensure all the young people and staff within his school achieve the best possible education and start in life. Shiraz’s passion and drive around education and inclusion is something I applaud and feel is so important in today’s world. I hope you enjoy.
February 01, 2021
Adam Dabin – Headteacher of Sir Bobby Robson School
This week I chatted to Adam Dabin who is the Headteacher of the Sir Bobby Robson School, part of the Unity Schools Partnership, a brand new school which caters for pupils aged between 8 and 16 who’s primary special educational need is Social, Emotional and Mental Health. We have all faced our challenges the last 12 months but opening a school in the middle of COVID-19 is something Adam, all his team at Sir Bobby Robson School should be extremely proud of. ‘Our pupils are at the heart of everything we do, and by working closely with families, carers and professionals, we aim to be provide them with the best educational experience that meets their specific needs. We have high expectations for both behaviour and achievement and see that every learner has their own unique personality and talents to be explored and developed. It is such an exciting time to join us on this new journey and we hope that through our website and social media, you will get a feel for what do and what we aim to achieve with our pupils. Opening a new school during a global pandemic has certainly brought challenges that we would never have dreamt of facing, but I am very proud of everyone involved for ensuring that despite this, we are still able to open in September.   We have built an exciting team that is dedicated to providing the very best opportunities for the pupils who attend Sir Bobby Robson School. While at the school, pupils are offered a curriculum which is not only broad and balanced but also exciting and challenging. Values and skills are taught together in a language rich environment which is supportive and safe but also inspiring and exciting. Our school encourages students to begin to take responsibility for their own learning while recognising and respecting the needs of others.’ I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did.
January 25, 2021
Ryan Hudson - Director at Elite Kids Coaching ltd / Director at Pe-Pro Coaching ltd
This week I had the absolute pleasure in talking to Ryan Hudson. After playing 15 years of Super League and International Rugby, Ryan’s enthusiasm and passion for coaching people shone through when he was appointed as Head of Youth Development at Wakefield Wildcats Rugby League Club. Ryan has developed pathways and programs for children in schools, and academy, all the way through to first-team rugby. He has been coaching for over 20 years and his mission is to inspire and develop young children to achieve their true potential. Over the years, Ryan has run successful businesses in the sport, health and Fitness industry. Ryan has created PE PRO app alongside former England Rugby Player Jason Robinson OBE. PE PRO will educate and inspire all teacher to deliver outstanding PE. Progressive lessons, Health and Wellbeing sessions, sports specific activities from coaches that have worked around the world have been adapted to suit all key stages. Ryan is the Director of Elite Kids Coaching, which is an elite, professional coaching company currently supporting 12,000 children every week aged 4-16 years. We provide an extensive programme of multi-sports such as Football, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, Basketball, Dodgeball, Handball, Dance, Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Street dance, Team buildings activities and much more! I hope you enjoy.
January 22, 2021
Paul Hannaford - Educating our future generations on the dangers of drugs, alcoholism, gangs, knife crime and addiction
This week I spoke to Paul Hannaford. I first spoke to Paul on Twitter and after looking into his background and what he is now trying to achieve through educating others, I was keen to chat to him. I genuinely think through his own experiences he can and is making a huge difference to a lot of people’s lives. If you are looking for someone to help educate your young people around drugs, alcohol, involvement in gangs, knife crime and county lines please reach out to Paul as his aim is to help educate as many young people as possible. ‘It's been over 14 years since I left behind a life of drugs, gangs, and violent crime. Thanks to the hospital staff, hundreds of live maggots, and a lifetime of medication ahead of me, I am now able to walk out in front of packed school halls and busy classrooms to share my horrific experience. Over the past 10 years I have built a successful career educating over 500,000 school children from multiple year groups ranging from year 4 up to sixth form, tailoring the message appropriate to their ages. My educational workshops and talks can be delivered safely on-site or online and offer a hard-hitting, real-life insight into the of addiction, drugs, alcohol, involvement in gangs, knife crime and county lines. I travel extensively throughout the UK, visiting primary and secondary schools, youth centres and young offenders. I also speak at parents’ evenings, teacher conferences as well as working regularly with the police, and the medical profession.’ Paul has also recently released a book called The Unconscious Kid ‘This book was written to awaken its audience. There is a global epidemic happening and it is only getting worse. Not enough is being done to bring awareness of it is devastating effects to the minds of our future generations. Drugs, alcoholism, and gang crime kill millions of people every year. Fortunately for Paul he made it through the other side, many do not.’ I hope you enjoy.
January 18, 2021
Julie Norman - Executive Primary Lead at Quantock Education Trust & MD of School Omega Solutions.
Julie Norman - Executive Primary Lead at Quantock Education Trust & MD of School Omega Solutions. This week I had the privilege of talking to Julie Norman - At age 14 I had already been fixed term excluded some 100 times. My year leader felt it was time for a chat "You really are breathing valuable oxygen someone useful could be using' she said. Well, I knew she did not like me, but this was a whole new level for our relationship! She said I would amount to nothing. So, my mind was made up...I would not return to such a toxic place. I lived with a violent step dad and an oblivious mother so not going to school for 2 years, going nightclubbing and sleeping in the field up the road went unnoticed! I met the man of my dreams at 15 - an abusive drug addict and alcoholic. It was a slight improvement on my situation. I stayed with him for 11 years and had 2 children. When he attacked my 4 year old it was time to leave. I ran...I hid.... for 8 years. In that time, I decided I would become the person I was meant to be: ambitious, kind, nurturing and happy. I had a child with M.E. and one with Autism, but life was amazing. I studied GCSEs, A Levels, Degree, PGCE, NPQH and NPQEL. I am now an Executive Headteacher after spending 20yr practicing everything I wanted...a teacher who cares. If only my teacher had asked 'are you ok?' Maybe I would have met my potential earlier. Never assume, just ask The work Julie is doing to ensure every child achieves their potential and enjoys the education is empowering and with the combination of work with the Quantock Education Trust and School Omega Solutions, I believe she is an incredible human being. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
January 10, 2021
TJ Juttla – Owner of QTS & The Teachers Point of View.
This week I chatted to TJ Juttla, TJ is someone I met through a networking group and since then we have shared our journey both through our recruitment businesses and podcasts. TJ is a passionate individual who is building a mainstream education recruitment business called QTS. I think it’s fair to say that since October TJ has a newfound motivation for education through his Podcast The Teachers' Point of View which is great, having created The Alternative Path around the same time I can see why. Throughout our chat we spoke about a lot of things but a topic we both feel passionately about is how education is delivered and what we could all be doing to change the way it is delivered to help ensure every young person achieves their potential. We also shared our views on how we believe as education recruiters we should be doing better for our schools and coming from a more supportive position. Having spent a lot of time chatting to TJ over the last 6 months I share a lot of his thoughts and aspirations towards changing the way we think about education and recruitment. Enjoy
January 08, 2021
Nikki Holmes - Owner of Safer Together, Safeguarding & Child Exploitation Specialist
This week I had the pleasure in speaking to Nikki Holmes from Safe Together. Nikki started her career with West Midlands Police as a Police Officer, she then moved into a role as a service Manager with focus on young person’s substance misuse. Nikki has always had a real passion around the safeguarding of young people which took her into a role as a Children’s Services Inspector for the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In 2020 Nikki started her own business Safer Together which is an organisation focussed on delivering training and knowledge around safeguarding young people. An area we spoke about in this podcast was Child Exploitation/County Lines, through her different roles over the years Nikki has managed to see a varied number of sides of these areas and her passion for helping young people and educated others is clear. I feel we only scrapped the surface and am already looking forward to speaking to Nikki again. County Lines/Child Exploitation is an area we all need to be aware of, it is a subject that a lot of people have little or no knowledge of but its effecting so many young people, families and schools across UK. I hope you enjoy.
December 30, 2020
Pavla Gariboli - Educational Consultant based in Dubai
This week I chatted to Pavla Gariboli, Pavla is an Educational Consultant based in Dubai in the Middle East. Born and raised in the Czech Republic Pavla moved to England and started teaching before taking up an opportunity to move to Dubai. As someone who went to both Primary and some of Secondary school in Dubai, Dubai will always hold a special place for me. Pavla has a fantastic view that we should all be much more focused on working in partnerships, a view I completely share. Throughout my recent chats with Pavla it was clear to me that she has a fantastic ability/skill of bringing things out of people. I certainly did not plan or anticipate us going into my own personal experiences as much as we did but I finished our recording feeling a surprising amount of satisfaction for having our chat. This only emphasis to me even more that sharing our own experiences can only improve things for those who follow in our footsteps. I really enjoyed our chat and hope you do to.
December 14, 2020
Julia Johnston & Vicky Lambert from Best4Learning
This week I chatted to two fantastic humans in Julia Johnston & Vicky Lambert from Best4Learning. BEST4Learning was created in September 2014 by Julia Johnston & Vicky Lambert, who after many years of working with children in various areas in sport, art and education had seen how creative activities could have such an influential effect on children’s wellbeing. BEST was initially set up to support those children who were socially and emotionally challenged. They began with a ‘before and after school’ club, in 3 West London schools working alongside groups of children to promote topics such as: self-awareness, friendship skills, improved communication and resilience through interactive and visual activities using sport art and drama. Intervention classes with key children were set up to focus on individual challenges. The response from children, parents and teachers was so positive that Julia and Vicky realised that every child could and should benefit from their social and emotional skills programmes. Whole class workshops were developed and the advantage of these enabled all children, teachers and teaching assistants to be working alongside the strategies that BEST provided. The workshops were designed around the development of the child’s brain and subsequently became the focal point of all BEST programmes in both workshops and clubs. As a child’s brain grows at the most rapid rate between the ages of 0-10 years, teaching primary children how their brains work and how their thoughts affect their feelings and behaviour has proved to have a positive impact in both home and school.
December 07, 2020
Carla Andrews, Founder & MD of Motivated Minds
Today I chat with Carla Andrews Founder & MD of Motivated Minds which is a non-for-profit organisation with the core mission to build mental health and wellbeing across the life course.  Motivated Minds work focuses on researching, developing and delivering services to help individuals, organisations and the wider community to be mentally and physically well. This is achieved by partnering with institutes, such as Essex University and various public, private and third sector organisations, enabling research into, and delivery of mental health and wellbeing services. Their point of difference is their in-house research and development capability which allows them to continuously update and innovate their mental health and wellbeing offerings. Carla is an excellent example of someone who has been through as she describes a very traumatic childhood but yet despite those challenges she is working hard to make a positive impact on others.
November 30, 2020
Stuart Evans, Headteacher of New Leaf Inclusion Centre
This week I chat to Sturt Evans who is the Headteacher at New Leaf Inclusion Centre.  Stuart has experience in a wide range of leadership posts in secondary schools and alternative provision. He is an energetic practitioner with the knowledge, skills and understanding of a range of teaching, learning, assessment and behaviour management strategies needed to make a positive impact on the progress of pupils in class and across the whole school. Stuart is confident and innovative and possess an open-minded and determined attitude to motivate and inspire both myself and others to succeed. He enjoys being part of, as well as leading, a successful and productive team being quick to grasp new ideas and concepts, and to develop ideas and creative solutions to problems. Able to work on own initiative and demonstrate high levels of motivation. The journey Stuart, his team and pupils are on at New Leaf Inclusion Centre is really impressive and having spoken to him I think he and everyone else involved at New Leaf should be extremely proud in all they achieve.
November 23, 2020
Terri Wyse (Assistant Headteacher) and Andy Chase (SLT) from Woodfield Secondary School talk about programmes they run to help their pupils prepare for employment and after school life.
This week I spoke to Terri Wyse (Assistant Headteacher) and Andy Chase (SLT, Careers and Enterprise leader, Learning beyond the classroom and Outdoor learning) from Woodfield Secondary School. Woodfield Secondary School provide education for young people with Learning and Additional Needs (LAN). A significant number of our pupils have language and communication difficulties, and an increasing number present with a broader complexity of needs. Terri and Andy spoke to us about the programs they run to help their pupils in school, prepare for employment. Terri and Andy have clear passion for, not only providing their learners with the best possible education but also, making sure their learners are prepared for life after school.
November 03, 2020
Gemma Quantrill, Executive Director of The Karalius Foundation talks to us about her journey and what she is trying to achieve
Former RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said of Vince Karalius that his achievements marked him out as “one of the best players of his generation who approached the game with fierce determination and total commitment”. With extraordinary leadership and empathy Karalius was renowned for developing disengaged teenagers through robust training regimes and rewarding through recognition! The Karalius Foundation is established by Gemma Quantrill, his beloved granddaughter, with the view to continuing his efforts through the delivery of quality education to disengaged teenagers. The legend’s legacy lives on! The Karalius Foundation will deliver Vince’s legacy through the vision, leadership and professional experience of Gemma, who has spent over 13 years working across educational settings working with those deemed hardest to reach. KF is responding to market need and is committed to the development and delivery of a high-quality, inclusive and innovative curriculum which has been designed specifically to target disengaged pupils. The Foundation will offer rich experiences that support positive destinations for learners into further education, apprenticeships and employment.
October 27, 2020
Alex Manners, TV & Radio Presenter, Asperger's Champion & Speaker.
In this episode I speak to Alex Manners. Alex was diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of 10, since then Alex has achieved so much and shares our passion in raising awareness. I hope you enjoy.
October 22, 2020
Simon Turnnidge from Heybridge Co-Operative Academy Trust
In this episode Simon Turnnidge and I talk about experiences and stigma's attached to Alternative Provision. The work both Simon and the rest of the team at Heybridge Co-Operative Academy Trust do is fantastic. I hope you enjoy.
October 06, 2020
The Why??
In this short episode I talk about the reason behind the podcast, give an indication to who I will be talking to and what we want to achieve.  I believe that more needs to be done to raise awareness and give people a platform to share the stories. 
October 06, 2020