Pivotal Education Ltd is a multi award winning Education Consultancy working in the UK and Internationally. Founded in 2001 Pivotal Education has always been committed to providing exceptional training for teachers and across institutions. Our aim is to practice what we preach, to train teachers as skillfully as the best teachers teach students.
Our experienced in-house training team work with a huge variety of teachers and educators in diverse settings. From schools in challenging situations to vast FE colleges, from Independent Schools to Free Schools, from early years to adult. Pivotal training inspires, motivates and creates measurable change in behaviour, relationships and learning.
Pivotal work in the UK and Internationally. Our work extends to 20 countries including the Netherlands, Egypt, Qatar, Bermuda, Hong Kong, USA, Germany, China, Spain, Greece, Cayman Islands, France and Pakistan
- delivers leading edge teacher training through live and online training models
- provides highly engaging speakers who have thrived the most challenging schools, colleges and educational settings
- promotes strategies that take care of the child as well as the adult
- delivers continuing professional development that is tailored, practical and sustainable
- helps schools, colleges and educational institutions through periods of crisis and major institutional change.
Pivotal’s strength lies not just in the content of the training but in the expertise of our training team. When you book a Pivotal Trainer you get an expert in their own right, not a dilution of another trainers ideas. Pivotal trainers have spent their careers succeeding with the most vulnerable children and adults: Mainstream Schools and Colleges, Residential Care, SEBD schools, Pupil Referral and Inclusion units and Young Offenders Institutions. Our trainers have the breadth of experience to deliver training that succinctly translates policy to practice, tailored correctly to your needs. Pivotal trainers meet regularly to share current practice, dissect new legislation and discuss case studies of best practice.
Paul Dix B.Ed. (Hons) Cantab
Lead Trainer and Managing Director
Paul is already booked for the following conferences in the 2012/2013 academic year: FE Quality Improvement Conference (Birmingham Sept 2012), ARK Summit (London Nov 2012), SSAT Conference (Birmingham 21st November 2012), European Conference for International Schools (Nice, France, November 23rd 2012) Hodder Education Conference (London December 2012), Babcock Conference (Epsom February 2013), Telford and Wrekin Heads Conference (Telford, March 2013), ATL National Conference (Liverpool March 26th), Redcar and Cleveland Conference (Redcar June 28th).
Paul Dix is a leading voice in Behaviour Management in the UK and Internationally. Paul is a columnist for the Times Educational Supplement, Teach Primary and Teach Nursery magazines. He is a leading writer for Pearson/Longman with five published titles, a member of the Restraint Accreditation Board advising the Minister for Justice and has presented evidence to the Education Select Committee on behaviour and discipline. Paul won a National Training Award in 2009 and a Royal Television Society Award in 2011 for his Teachers TV programme 'The Behaviour Challenge'. Paul is a trainer with an exceptional reputation for designing, implementing and sustaining change in behaviour.
Paul trained at Homerton College, Cambridge and has taught, managed and succeeded in a wide range of schools and colleges in challenging circumstances. His work was highlighted by H.M.I. and OFSTED as a key element of the work that led to turning round a school in ‘Special Measures’.
Paul co-founded Pivotal Education in 2001. As the lead trainer, Paul has been training teachers, advisors, students, mentors, and classroom assistants from early years to adult education. His work on Behaviour and Assessment is being used successfully in colleges, schools (mainstream and special), PRUs and initial teacher training programmes. His ‘Taking Care of Behaviour’ course and ‘Managing Extreme Behaviour’ course have both been featured as ‘Course of the Week’ in the TES Magazine.
Paul co-wrote the ‘New Deal Mentor Training Programme’ for the previous Government. His broadcast work has been featured on ITV, BBC1, Channel 4, Teachers’ TV and at the National College of School Leadership. His first book, the ‘Pivotal Behaviour Management Handbook’, was reviewed in the TES as ‘Terrific’.
Paul is a columnist for the TES and his Teacher's TV programme won a Royal Television Society award in 2011. He also writes for Teach Primary Magazine, Teach Nursery, Child Education Plus, Didactics World and Teaching Expertise. His best selling book, "Taking Care of Behaviour" is now in its second edition. First published by Pearson/Longman in January 2007, it has been endorsed by Sir Tim Brighouse:
This book is rooted in real experience, not theory. You can smell the classroom between its covers. It will be a powerful aid to teachers at whatever stage of their career. Every school should have a copy in their staff library and every leader responsible for professional development will want one at their elbow.
Sir Tim Brighouse, Ex Chief Advisor for London Schools
Paul’s latest books are The Essential Guide to Classroom Assessment and The Essential Guide to Taking Care of Behaviour. You can keep up to date with Paul's work on the Pivotal Behaviour Blog
- National Training Awards 2009 Winner.
- Royal Television Society Award Winner 2011
- Broadcast work for BBC 1, Channel 4/ITN, Teachers TV, LBC radio and the National College of School Leadership
- Leading author for Pearson/Longman with 5 titles
- Behaviour column in the Times Educational Supplement, Teach Primary and Teach Nursery magazines
- Blogger for the Guardian Teacher Network
- Featured in the Guardian Education
- Commended by OFSTED and HMI.
- Member of the Restraint Advisory Board advising the Minister for Justice on Restraint (2010 - 2012)
- Chair of the Advisory Board for Catch22 Engage in Education (a national exclusion prevention project funded by the DFE)
- Nominated for a Japan Prize (International Educators Program Award)
- Presented evidence to the Select Committee on Behaviour and Schools (2011)
- Advised DFE on Teacher Standards for Behaviour
- Founding Trustee of the Tri Borough Alternative Provision Multi Academy Trust
Paul speaks at conferences all over the world as well as working closely with clients in the UK and the Netherlands.
Bill Gribble M.Ed, B.Ed. (Hons)
Bill is a leading expert in the development of learning behaviour, renowned for his enthusiastic and engaging INSET. He has worked in secure accommodation, residential schools, mainstream education, and was the Headteacher of a special school. He ran a pupil referral unit (PRU) which a HMI inspection described as ‘the best of its kind in the country,’ and subsequently advised HMI on PRU inspection. He has worked in all sectors of education including Primary, Secondary and Further and Higher Education. Until recently he was a Senior Education Officer managing a LA's Educational Psychology, Education Social Work and Behavioural Support Services, as well as being their named Safeguarding Officer. Bill has also lectured on Birmingham University's Advanced Diploma and Master’s Degree courses and delivered his own module for the Master’s Degree courses at the University of Wales, Bangor.
He works with schools in all sectors, with colleges and other institutions, in helping them develop effective learning, teaching and safeguarding behaviour. His work with Pivotal Education contributed to them being awarded the National Training Award for the SE England 2009 and being invited to give his opinions to the Education Select Committee in 2010.
Bill’s book, ‘In a Class of Your Own’ with foreword by Dr Bill Rogers, is described as being:
‘A pacey and enjoyable guide for teachers, designed to help them improve their behaviour management skills. Emphasising the need to maintain a positive approach –even when things get really tough – Bill Gribble writes in a down-to earth and realistic way. This book should prove invaluable to all teachers.’
Dr Bill Rogers
Barry Stay Cert.Ed., B.A., M.A. (Ed.)
Barry who is primary/secondary trained, has worked in mainstream, residential (primary/secondary) and Special schools and held posts as SENCO, Director of a regional project working with disaffected KS4 pupils, Vice Principal of a Technology College (10 years) and was more recently Head Teacher of a large Pupil Referral Unit. In the late 1990s he visited American and Canadian schools on behalf of the Dfe looking at the use of IT with pupils who have behavioural difficulties.
He delivers courses throughout England and Wales and does consultancy work, always managing to spend a minimum of two days a week in schools with pupils who have a wide range of challenging behaviours/and or special needs. He recently worked as a behaviour consultant in a Wiltshire comprehensive school and ran a secondary-primary mentoring scheme that focused on boys who had no male role model at home. In June 2008 the school was classed as outstanding by Ofsted Inspectors. Between 2009 -2010 he supported a primary school with a nursery that was in Special measures. HMI graded it as ‘good’ in March 2010. During the last academic year he worked as a consultant Head attached to a large special school in West London. Since April 2012 he has worked two days a week as SENCO of a large primary/nursery school in Wiltshire where a very high proportion of parents are currently serving in Afghanistan.
Chris Sweeney B.Sc. (Psychology), PGCE NPQH
Chris has worked with children and young people with SEN all his career. He started working at a Playcentre for children with SEN where he decided he wanted to teach in special schools. He embarked on a degree in Psychology part time whilst working as a teaching assistant in a school for children with Autism. This gave the opportunity to make a quality link between theory and practice. After studying for a PGCE, Chris started work in a Primary BESD school. Since that time Chris has worked in 4 Special Schools in a variety of Leadership roles, including most recently the Headship of a Secondary school for boys with BESD. Chris has extensive experience in Child Protection and in managing students with multiple issues. Chris has worked with a wide range of SEN from Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties to Autism and BESD.
Throughout this time, Behaviour Management has been Chris’ specialism, with a particular focus on understanding the motivation behind the behaviour and providing practical support and strategies to improve it. Chris has provided training to a wide range of services, with support including lectures, seminars and one-to-one coaching.
Darrell Williams B.Ed.
Darrell has over 20 years teaching in large, inner-city secondary schools.
During that time he has been a head of department, Pastoral Leader and SENCo.
Darrell is currently working in secondary schools, primary schools, FE colleges and young offender institutes. His work involves behaviour, assessment for learning, coaching and moving from good to outstanding classroom practice.
One current project was based on entirely practical, teacher – based work in classrooms with 25 teachers. The focus was to develop levels of engagement and self – esteem in all levels of learners. The teachers made it clear that with their current workload that any changes had to be part of their teaching and not yet another “bolt on”. They achieved this and continue to do so as a learning community. As a result of this, behaviour moved from good to outstanding.
Darrell is licensed by the National College of Leadership to facilitate Middle Leadership Development Programmes. He is also accredited by Southampton University NHS Trust through their Emotional Health Programme.
Darrell’s work has a focus on whole - school training, co-teaching and coaching that develops capacity and sustainability of practice. This work is responsive to the needs of each organisation and is based on developing the motivational levels of learners at all levels.
Recent and on-going projects include work at all levels; from senior leadership in developing ethos and vision right through to working with teachers and lecturers in classrooms and workshops.
Darrell is passionate about how all the schools and colleges he works in are doing the most important job in our society today. In all cases these educational organisations are developing the self – belief of our learners today and ultimately the future.
Miller Thomson B.A., Dip. Special Education, Dip. Ed.
Since qualifying as a teacher in 1972, Miller has taught within a variety of mainstream and special school settings ranging from working as a teacher within an adolescent psychiatric unit setting to being head teacher for 21 years of a special residential school catering for pupils with significant levels of challenging behaviours. He has also developed and managed a primary behaviour support service as well as secondary school support bases. Miller is credited with introducing the Nurture Group development to Scotland. His work on creating solution-focused Aims of Placement for pupils in special placements has been positively commented upon by HMI.
Throughout his career Miller has had a keen interest in both developing and delivering behaviour support training to teaching and non teaching colleagues. He has contributed to Post Graduate teacher training offered by the University of Glasgow and Strathclyde University as well as developing and delivering training to mainstream and special school staffs. He has also delivered tailored training to staff in secure settings and children’s units.
In addition to his consultancy and training work Miller continues to maintain a weekly link with an SEBD day school as well as working as a local authority appointed safeguarder.
Helen Day B.A. (Hons), PGCE
Helen began her teaching career in 1992 and has worked with students in a number of fields since then. She has lead thriving departments in many schools. For five years Helen lead a pastoral team as a Head of House providing training and support to staff. In this role she developed a number of successful intervention strategies for students at risk of underachievement that involved a multi-agency approach: students, parents and outside agencies working together to support student's progress. Whilst in this role student attendance rose significantly and her work was highlighted as a model of good practice by the Education Welfare Office.
Helen qualified as an Advanced Skills Teacher in Behaviour for Learning and has designed, developed and implemented successful in-house training programmes in primary and secondary schools, F.E. Colleges and universities. Helen has been identified as an outstanding practitioner which led her to be invited to become a teaching and learning coach working with teachers from across the curriculum areas. As a coach and a trainer she has led a number of creative projects, including using drama across the curriculum in a number of primary and secondary schools which have led to innovative, consistent and sustained changes of culture in educational approaches in the classroom.
As well as working in mainstream education, Helen has also worked in a pupil referral unit gaining experience with EBD and MLD students.
Her most recent role was as an Assistant Principal in charge of Student Support in a secondary school joining at a time when it had been placed in Special Measures. In this role she set up the first school based Pupil Referral Unit in the Local Authority, the model of which has been adopted by a number of schools. She also implemented a pastoral system involving a successful transfer to a vertical tutoring system and established ILP's across the College as well as improving attendance throughout the school. Her work was highlighted by Ofsted, with the school moving out of Special Measures within a matter of months.
Helen has delivered consultancy and training in schools and colleges for a number of years and her approach has been described as passionate and engaging. 'Excellent delivery, extremely positive and so inspirational.' Adderley Primary School Birmingham. Sept 2012
Ollie Frith B.A. (Hons)
Ollie studied theatre at St Mary’s University, graduating in 2000. After co-founding Absolute Characters street and site specific Theatre Company in 2001, he went on to train in Accelerated Learning and in 2004 completed his practitioner training in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). As a drama teacher, Ollie continues to find ways to bring a greater creative value to students learning and often works in Primary schools, approaching key curriculum subjects with imaginative flare. His work with secondary age and 16-19 learners is centred around the promotion of independent learning and teaches key learning skills that support students evolving achievements. Ollie provides training for schools and colleges in Behaviour Management, Active Approaches to Learning, the Teaching Performance, NLP, Learn to Learn, PSHE curriculum, Theatre and Communication skills. Ollie regularly travels all over the UK training people of all ages with a view to raising standards and motivation. Being a trained performer Ollie has a lively and energetic approach to his training.
Ollie started working with Pivotal in 2006.
Frank Farrell AST M.Ed.
Frank is an Advanced Skills Teacher of English with over thirty years' classroom experience, much of it in challenging schools. He is a senior examiner for GCSE English and an examiner for Functional Skills English. Before joining the Pivotal team he was a Teaching and Learning consultant for Trafford Education Authority.
Whilst at Trafford, he worked on a range of projects including: using computer games and 3D images to improve boys' literacy, Gifted and Talented Provision across all the secondary schools in the Authority, raising attainment in GCSE English, literacy across the curriculum, supporting NQT's and newly appointed Subject Leaders, Assessment for Learning /APP and strategies for developing engagement in the classroom. He also supported two schools and a PRU in Special Measures. Frank is a dynamic teacher and trainer.
Frank will be training in Philosophy for Children in the New Year and leading a network of teachers interested in this field.
Andrew Hall B.Ed, NPQH
Andrew Hall has worked in primary and secondary schools, residential special schools and PRUs. He was Head of Education at a national inpatient psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents. Andrew's last headship was at a split-site primary and secondary SEBD special school in east London that OFSTED graded outstanding for care, guidance and support. Andrew and his colleagues developed innovative strategies for students whose emotional needs lead to the most challenging behaviour.
Andrew delivers courses and workshops throughout the UK and works as a consultant and interim headteacher. He aims to spend time working directly with children and young people, particularly aiming to engage disaffected students, those suffering from emotional stress and mental ill-health and students with learning disabilities, especially autism. Andrew is currently associate headteacher of a large federated special school for children with a range of needs, including communication disorders, autism and PMLD.
Ellie Dix B.A. (Hons), PGCE
Ellie studied Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham University, graduating in 1997. Ellie then worked as a director for a youth theatre company in Merseyside, teaching many drama classes and directing large-scale productions. Ellie has also worked extensively with teenagers in America – in a residential summer camp (as Head of Drama and a Senior Counsellor) and as the Teen Counsellor on a cruise ship.
After finishing her PGCE, Ellie was appointed Head of Drama in a secondary school in Wolverhampton EAZ. Ellie set up the drama department from scratch in a very challenging environment. She taught drama to all KS3 pupils and ran a GCSE Drama course. 83% of Ellie’s first intake of GCSE students achieved grades A*-C. She also directed many spotlight performances and large-scale productions within the school and coached students for Trinity drama exams. Ellie sat on the Standardisation committee for the PGCE Secondary (Drama and Music) course at UCE.
Ellie has been a director of Pivotal Education since 2004. She is a published writer, being the driving force behind Pivotal drama schemes of work, and having an article on "Active Maths" published in Primary Mathematics.
Vicky Heath B.A Hons, M.F.A, Cert. Ed.
Vicky has over 15 years experience of managing and teaching in FE institutions, and currently works as a Consultant developing innovative curriculum and leading large creative teams delivering Level 1-4 qualifications. She has also gained experience raising achievements and success rates for various departments in FE, often in challenging environments. She has developed exciting creative arts departments from scratch, and her particular strengths include establishing strong vocational industry links for students and staff. She has a strong passion for quality and has extensive experience working as an External Verifier nationally for various Awarding bodies. Vicky has also gained invaluable experience managing change. She has been an active observer during her management roles and is passionate about supporting teachers and equipping them with the tools they need to become outstanding.
After training at the City College of New York in 1999, Vicky has since worked in the USA, UK and Europe and Africa as a professional director and physical theatre performer. Her experience of performing enhances her ability to be an engaging trainer. She has owned creative businesses and still continues to manage her own theatre company based in Hastings.
Alyson Thomson MA (Hons)
Alyson is a public communications expert and qualified trainer with experience in both the public and not for profit sector. Currently Head of Communications for a large charity, Alyson's background is in equality and diversity. She has worked for a range of equality charities and as the Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs for the Equal Opportunities Commission before becoming Head of Communications at the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland. Alyson is passionate about working positively with others to help realise potential, build strong and successful relationships and make a lasting difference. Her training expertise includes increasing personal and team effectiveness - a unique team building programme based on Myers Briggs analysis which tackles the most common leadership problems: delegation, performance management, giving feedback, managing conflict and managing change. She also trains on increasing personal influence and negotiation skills. Participants at a recent training session for disabled peoples organisations commented:
It was extremely good training by a very experienced trainer who managed to cover a great deal in one day. I learned a lot and am now raring to go. There was a good balance of interaction and listening in the training and Ally was very encouraging. She used her experience to tailor the answers to our questions so that they were meaningful to us. My training needs were definitely met. Now I just feel like I need to practice what I have learned.
The training was well executed, with just the right balance of interactive and listening type activities, and covered enough ground to meet my training needs without becoming overwhelming. It was interesting and Ally's obvious experience and knowledge of both communication and sector-specific issues ensured that the training was relevant and useful.
Sandra Stonfer B.A. (Hons), PGCE
PA to the Directors
Sandra is a native Italian who was awarded specialist accountancy qualifications at school. Also during this time, she discovered a passion for English language and literature, which led her to the University of Trento where she graduated in foreign languages and literature. After university, Sandra was employed for a driving school as secretary, and quickly became promoted to driving theoretical teacher and driving instructor.
Sandra has become skilled at customer service, through her work experience in a variety of sectors, enabling her to quickly adopt the Pivotal ethos of putting the client first. Looking for new experiences and challenges, Sandra moved abroad to join the Pivotal team.