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.

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

Personal manifesto

Transforming personally and intellectually

Being able to tell compelling stories is a powerful way of connecting with others and deepening your own reflections.

You have had the chance to start your own personal manifesto at your Development Day. You will spend time revisiting this, with expert input on the philosophy of education and a voice coach.

Year 1

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 and horizon scanning input to work on areas for innovation in your school or organisation (year one), and going through the process of setting up a new school by designing elements of our new Big Education schools (year two).

Year 1 & 2

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 both years of The Big Leadership Adventure, as we embed powerful rituals of giving and receiving feedback.

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

Year 1 & 2

Exchange

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 throughout year one and two of the programme.

Year 1 & 2

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.

Network of thinkers, coaches
and experts

To help guide and support your cohort and on the job learning, you will receive insightful input from expert facilitators and speakers throughout.

Year One Content

5th July 2019

Workshop

  • Why? What? How?

27th - 28th August

Immersive retreat

Your Heart and Hand toolkit:

  • 7 tools
  • Starting your Innovation Project

20th - 21st September

Weekend

Your Head, Heart and Hand toolkit:

  • Design Thinking
  • Working on your Innovation Project
  • Philosophy of Education
  • An introduction to your Coaching Triads

17th October

Workshop

Your Heart and Hand toolkit:

  • Cohort contract review
  • Working on your Innovation Project

21st November

Workshop

  • An immersive experience

December

18th January 2020

Saturday Workshop

Your Head, Heart and Hand toolkit:

  • An introduction to your Exchange
  • Working on your Innovation Project
  • Coaching Triads – checking in

26th Feb 2020

Workshop

Your Heart and Hand toolkit:

  • An external review of your Innovation Project

20th - 21st March 2020

Immersive retreat

Your Head, Heart and Hand toolkit:

  • Your Personal Manifesto

April

16th May 2020

Saturday Workshop

Your Head, Heart and Hand toolkit:

  • Revisiting your Personal Manifesto
  • Reflecting and making meaning of your Exchange

13th June 2020

Saturday Workshop

  • An immersive experience

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 conduct your exchange between Feb – April (one day out of school).

Meet the team

Peter Hyman

Co-Director

Liz Robinson

Co-Director

Ellie Lister

Project Lead

Liz Parry

Senior Project Officer

Ben Rollo-Hayward

Multimedia & UX Designer