Big Leadership Adventure

Big Education’s leadership development programme

The Big Leadership Adventure is now working to radically shift the thinking and practice of over 180 leaders across the country.

Are you passionate that the education system needs to provide more than simply a set of exam results for young people?

Do you want to develop your leadership capabilities to be able to innovate and support your teams to do the same?

Have you ever felt like change is needed within education and you want to know how to make that happen?

The Big Leadership Adventure works to address this! This two year leadership programme develops educators in;

  • The process and behaviours required to innovate with rigour in education
  • The tools to coach others and develop a people centred coaching culture
  • The frameworks to set a vision that is purpose driven – not by the constraints of Ofsted
  • A community organising methodology that supports you to lead change with your staff and students
  • Facilitation skills to be able to lead change back in your organisation


The Big Leadership Adventure is like no other professional development you’ll experience working in the education sector and here is why…

Developing a culture of innovation

We are the only leadership development programme that explicitly develops educators in the process and behaviours required to innovate with rigour in education. This will enable you to design new solutions to some of the biggest challenges you face AND create the right conditions and culture to enable this work to happen. 

The programme is informed by and grounded in a range of evidence and research around leadership development in education and best practice for professional development and learning.

Meeting likeminded educators

On the BLA you’ll make meaningful connections with schools and leaders who are also passionate about providing a holistic education for young people.

Building a sense of belonging is weaved into all aspects of the programme and we are committed to prioritising this work. You’ll be challenged to think about whether you are championing diversity and inclusion in your leadership and within your organisation.

Getting into action immediately

On the BLA you will experience various forms of learning. The programme is a combination of online and face to face workshops, on the job projects, immersive experiences and peer learning. The core aim is to ensure you can put your learning into action straight away within your own organisation.

We run our own innovative schools

This programme is built around the practices at our our Big Education schools – School 21, School 360 and Surrey Square Primary School. We have found ways to navigate the complexities of the UK education system to deliver a holistic education for our young people. We are passionate about supporting the whole system to do the same, which is why we founded the Big Leadership Adventure.


Eligibility: We are looking for leaders from a range of different contexts within education, who have diverse backgrounds, experiences and roles within the system. We believe diversity enables challenge and will broaden our thinking as we work as a collective, exploring beyond our own individual bubbles.


The BLA is for education leaders at any stage in their career, working within schools and organisations working in education. This can include middle leaders, right through to Chief Executive level.


We are recruiting from all over the UK and will subsidise the cost of travel and accommodation for in person events which take place in London, for those further afield.

If you are not sure whether the BLA is right for you at this time in your current context, please get in touch at [email protected] to speak to our team.

Meet the programme lead

A warm welcome from Liz Robinson

Liz is a school and system leader, working to ‘change the story’ about how education is delivered in England. As head teacher of Surrey Square in Southwark for 13 years, Liz used values as a key driver to redefine the purpose of the school and radically reshape the teaching approaches. The school is an exemplar of values led, whole child education.

Since September 2018, Liz has worked as co-founder and co-director of Big Education, a new organisation running schools and programmes to inspire and provoke change in the sector. Liz has a long interest and expertise in leadership development and she has created a new programme for leaders in England – The Big Leadership Adventure. This unique programme develops an expansive toolkit of the head, heart and hand and draws on approaches to design and innovation from across sectors. Liz has a particular interest in developing values-led leadership, and has worked extensively as a speaker, trainer and coach.

She is passionate about asking bigger questions about what school can or should be about and finding new ways of working. Liz is a Trustee for the National Literacy Trust. As mum to two young girls, Liz works flexibly to manage her roles.


Duration & Delivery

  • Two-Year programme – approx 10 full days each year, a mix of weekday and Saturday workshops
  • We endeavour to deliver the residential elements of the programme in person


  • 80% attendance to the programme workshops and buy-in from your school/organisation (if applicable)
  • Availability for the first 3-day in-person workshop on 24 – 26 August ‘22 


  • £2,500 per year (can be paid by the individual or the organisation)
  • Two-Year payment non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the programme

How to apply

The programme starts on 24 Aug.

Final interviews will take place in July and applications will close once we have reached full capacity. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible to secure a place on our 2022 cohort.

To enrol, simply complete the form at the bottom of this page. You will then be guided through a simple application process – you will be able to save progress and return at any point.

The application process is not assessed and is primarily designed to help you assess whether the BLA is right for you. It takes approx 45 mins to complete. 

The final step of the initial application process is to book a time to meet the team for a video call. During your 45 min conversation with the team, you will be asked to deliver a 5 min Stump Speech on what you believe to be the purpose of education, before delving deeper into your own leadership journey!


Kulvarn Atwal

Executive Head, Learning Leader

BLA ‘20/21

“A course for leaders who are creative, courageous and innovative and are not afraid to challenge the status quo. The BLA enables you to do exactly that – embark on an adventure to consider your values and motivators and how these influence your practice as a leader. It gets me thinking in a way in which I can both improve as a leader and potentially improve the system in which I work.”

Laura Ciftci

Head of School

BLA ‘20/21

“An innovative programme that speaks to the heart of education today: how can we rethink teaching practices and policies in the age of multiculturalism? A course full of passion, purpose and design-thinking; daring to raise critical questions about the future of teaching itself!”

Kali Warwick

Vice Principal

BLA ‘20/21

“I Love Learning” Whilst working with Big Education on the ‘Big Leadership Adventure’ I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from some incredible colleagues with varying backgrounds and expertise. The Head, Heart and Hand approach has enabled me to stop, reflect and question current educational practices and put into practice my learning – now is the time to do things differently!”

Seb Chapleau

Executive Headteacher, Community Organiser

BLA ‘19/20

“We have quickly become a very good group of colleagues. Not only do we get on well, but we’ve also found many ways to collaborate through, and beyond, the programme. We share ideas, explore them, and build plans together. The support we give each other is the basis upon which our vision for a more equitable education system can be built.”

Priya Mahtani

Social Entrepreneur, Founder of School of Sophia

BLA ‘20/21

“The Big Leadership Adventure is precisely that – a wonderful adventure chartering through unknown territory into an emergent future to urgently address the needs of today’s children. The programme is well-thought through, offering hope, insight and practical ways we can make the necessary changes in key areas of learning, leadership, wellbeing and so much more.”

Anton Innocent


BLA ‘19/20

“There’s loads of different opinions and different ways of doing things. That melting pot of different ideas infuses great leaders, great individuals with a strong moral compass. On the Big Leadership Adventure there’s a genuine passion and care about your holistic development as a leader.”

Our Supporters

Sponsoring places on the Big Leadership Adventure supports more educators to access the programme, at a time when school budgets are shrinking. We are always looking for new sponsors – get in touch at [email protected]

Applications closed

Register your interest in the Big Leadership Adventure below and we will notify you when the programme is accepting applications.

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