Welcome to The Big Leadership Adventure

The Big Leadership Adventure is the culmination of many years of thinking and planning. We formed Big Education in September 2018 because we and our teams believe that significant change and new thinking is required within education. The problems with the status quo are well rehearsed; we are failing too many young people now, but also failing those who seemingly succeed. We believe that a paradigm shift is needed; new thinking about the very purpose of schooling, through to the values of the system, the curriculum, pedagogies, culture, assessment, and, of course, the leadership.

A new model of educational leadership is both an end in itself, part of a new paradigm, but also the means for us to get there. The incentives are heavily stacked toward accountability measures within the current metrics, and it takes real courage to try new things within this context. It requires skillful navigation of the current reality whilst finding ways to rethink and redesign (we call this riding both horses). It requires an irreverence in questioning the way things are done, asking bigger questions, and seeking bolder answers. It requires connectedness, sharing of learning and alliances to challenge and support.

It requires a cohort of leaders who are hungry for new solutions, open to learning from across sectors and the globe and willing to go on a journey. We are delighted that you are part of this group – and excited about the work we can do together.

Peter Hyman


Liz Robinson


Our Learning Philosophy

The Big Leadership Adventure is largely experiential, based on the Kolb learning cycle. This means we will draw heavily on experience and build in reflection as a key part of our learning. We have also learnt from the idea of 70/20/10, which suggests that most learning comes from the meaning we make from our actual work (70%), with the next 20% being from group/cohort learning and the 10% being explicit taught content.

To develop organically and authentically, leaders must have the opportunity to practice in environments more challenging than a training room. This means less ‘formal classroom’ settings and more time experiencing and reflecting on the challenges of leadership.

The Big Leadership Adventure will provide a mix of taught input, cohort learning and on-the-job application, giving you the authority and platform to lead change.

The Big Leadership Adventure design principles

Giving feedback is a gift

Doing real work now, not just training for the future

Asking bigger questions

Transforming personally and intellectually

Building heroic teams not individuals

Feeding the ecosystem

Experiential learning

7 Leadership Tools

Building heroic teams, not heroic individuals

Knowing how to systematically empower and support those around you is a critical skill for all leaders. Our 7 tools coaching methodology explicitly trains leaders in a set of skills based on person centred coaching.

You will be using this learning across every workshop in the Big Leadership Adventure, as we embed powerful rituals of giving and receiving feedback.

You will meet regularly with your coaching triad, acting as a mechanism for developing in the 7 tools.

Innovation projects

Doing real work now, not just training for the future

We want to develop leaders who are able to lead an innovative school or organisation. The innovation projects are a microcosm of being able to lead a school innovatively.

​You will be applying design thinking input to work on areas of innovation in your school.


Giving feedback is a gift

Your exchange is a unique opportunity to be see and be seen in your own context. Leaders will be paired up and will conduct deliberately developmental observations of each other in their role. This experience provides leaders with the time to give and receive incredibly detailed feedback.

Each leader will be observed for 1 full day.

Frameworks and input

Big Education innovation and impact tool

We have thought carefully about what constitutes a Big Education – one that develops each child, Head, Heart and Hand. Big Education audit tool is a powerful methodology to instigate conversations about where your school is currently at, and what’s next. This contextualises the work of The Big Leadership Adventure and demonstrates the change we need within the system.

Leadership Reflection Wheel

We have identified the mindsets that grow the innovative leader. We believe in leadership of the Head, Heart and Hand. The leadership reflection wheel provides a challenging foundation for deep personal reflection on yourself as a leader. You have already started to use this tool at your Development Day, and is key in helping you to reflect throughout.

Year one: March - July 2020

6 March 2020


What constitutes a Big Education and what is the leadership required?

30 April - 1 May 2020

2 day workshop

7 tools coaching training

Early May 2020

Coaching group meet

Practice – reflection and development of using the 7 tools

Late May 2020

Coaching group meet

Practice – reflection and development of using the 7 tools including identifying areas for support/questions for upcoming webinar

June 2020


Coaching clinic

July 2020

Coaching group meet

Complete personal reflection online tool to capture learning and identify priorities for next year

Year two

September 2020

2 day workshop

An introduction to Design Thinking

October 2020

Completion of online innovation project planner and tracker

November 2020

2 hour webinar

Innovation projects check-in

January 2021

1 day workshop

‘Getting out of our thought bubble… and letting someone into ours’ – The Exchange

January - March 2021

The Exchange

March 2021

1 day workshop

Mid-point review: innovation projects

July 2021

½ day

Where am I now? Where do I want to be?

Whilst we have tried to give you as much information as possible, this agenda is not fixed. It’s important that we are agile and able to tailor the programme to the cohort as much as possible throughout.

​You will also be working in your coaching triads and innovation groups outside of face to face time, to maximise the impact of your learning and projects. You will also arrange your exchange in pairs.

Meet the team

Peter Hyman


Liz Robinson


Ellie Lister

Project Lead

Liz Parry

Senior Project Officer

Ben Rollo-Hayward

Multimedia & UX Designer