Background Information for the Attic!

Stage 1 Aspiration

As an ex-Primary School Headteacher, Helen has had a lifelong passion to help young people in the North East of England aspire and improve their life chances.

2. MAD Ideas

In her role with Newcastle City Council (School Improvement Adviser for Leadership and Workforce Development), in 2009 she:-

A) organised the regional North East Conference ‘Bounce Back Be Happy’ with the Positive Psychology Team at Northumbria University, Newcastle and Jane Anderson, Gateshead Council.

B) organised a British Council Study Trip to Melbourne to research optimism and resilience in schools and community projects in Melbourne for10 aspiring Headteachers.

The group were inspired by the work they saw at the ‘Foundation for Youth Community Project: ‘are you Making A Difference?’ as well as the values driven 'Character Education' programme in schools. At the private school, Geelong Grammar, pupils studied Positive Psychology and the Headteacher had an aspiration for every child to become a future global leader. 

C) organised a collaboration of twelve NE local authorities to fund a project with the North East Regional Training and Development Agency, to help develop aspirations of children in 1500 schools through School Workforce training and development.

As Helen's specialisms include BSc. (Psychology), P.G.C.E.(Primary), M.Ed. (Educational Management), Ofsted Inspection, NLP Master Practitioner, LAB Profile Trainer (Language and Behaviour Profile) and ILM L7 Executive Leadership Coaching), she became interested in the use of specific language and coaching questioning. She wondered how to use it in the context of teaching and learning pedagogy and growing future leaders in the classroom and with parents. 

Stage 3 Who Else?

On behalf of the TDA, Helen then approached Elaine Drainville, Sunderland University Media Department to co- create the development of the ruMAD2? (are you Making A Difference too?’) training artefacts (map, film and website). 

Stage 4 The Vision

Like the Headteacher at Geelong Grammar, we wanted to see if we could help teachers in the North East promote good self-esteem, self-efficacy, social and psychological capital in pupils.

Stage 5 Learning and Doing

With appropriate permissions from Australia and Canada, ruMAD2? was created. Based on ruMAD, Shelle Rose Charvet, Boyatsis, Whitmore, Luthyens, Fullan, Seligman, Lyubomirsky, Gordon etc.), the ideas were blended from the 'shoulders of giants' from:-

a) Coaching leadership

b) Positive psychology

c) Language and Behaviour Profiling

Claire Redpath (an outstanding Y6 teacher at Walkergate Primary) demonstrated in the training film how powerful the materials were in engaging some very disaffected pupils.

Stage 6 Successes and Optimism

The materials were very well received at the 2009 TDA launch in Durham (92% excellent). 

Claire Redpath has subsequently been appointed as a Deputy Head in London, and Debi Bailey (former Walkergate Deputy Head) is now Executive Headteacher across a number of schools in Walker.

Helen was invited to present with Elaine at the Regional Wellbeing Conference with Dr. Petia Sice at Newcastle University. 

Elaine has used her understanding to influence media students at Sunderland University Media Dept., and in her work at HEART and to write a PHD (unpublished).

Between 2011-3, Helen delivered many NE regional workshops on ‘Outstanding Teaching and Learning’ for North East schools (see feedback below) including the Annual NLP National Conference, London with Walkergate Primary School. 

Stage 7 Resilience

Helen is now retired from education, enjoying life as a musician (French Horn and Trumpet) although continues to influence 'making a difference' projects.

More recently, Helen worked with children at Crossings Music Charity for Asylum Seekers and Refugees to test using the process to write stories and plays about making a difference and overcoming adversity, modelling the ‘are you Making A Difference process’ resulting in a Lord Mayor's Community Foundation Award.

Knowing that music has the <3 effect in affecting change, Helen recently wrote the musical narration ‘Dreams for Freedom: Celebrating the Life of Alberta Williams King’ (shortened to Alberta’s Dream) for Freedom City 2017. It celebrates fifty years since the acceptance speech made by Dr. Martin Luther King at Newcastle University. Using the ruMAD2? process, it helped her write the story of one of the most important mothers in history in raising children who believe, and have the right skills and foundation to be able to effect lasting change. It describes the necessity for love to conquer fear in the world, a pre-requisite for any leader.

Stage 8 Celebrate! Share!

In the spirit of love, we want everyone to use and share them so the project can stimulate more research for children in the NE as originally intended.

Please get in touch to share your successes.

What Next? Donate?

Samples of Feedback from 2009 ruMAD2?

ruMAD2? Launch at North East Schools CPD Event, Radisson Hotel, Durham

92% Outstanding

Samples of Feedback from School Staff in 2010:-

‘Targeted Interventions in Writing- Engaging SEN/ Disaffected Learners’, Newcastle Primary School :-

Literacy Subject Leader- 'This course has inspired me to be more creative with my teaching and ask/ encourage the children to take ownership of their learning and make a difference.'

Y6 TA- Found it inspiring and its opened my mind to using it more. (Familiar with programme already).

PSA- Loved the the power of words and the importance of empowering (others) with words.

Attendance Officer- Useful engaging ideas. Will be using this with some of my attendance work. Love the camper van!

Y6 Teacher/ SLT- Really engaged the boys- they all want to be involved. (Familiar with programme already).

Y3 TA- Total inspiration and very enlightening. Would like to start running through the programme with the Y3s. Thank you so much.

Feedback from 'Developing Outstanding Teaching and Learning- Developing Aspiration, Resilience and Optimism in the Disengaged', National NLP Conference, London:-

* Fantastic! Should have been longer- most interesting session of the day and most relevant. Primary School, Hull.

* Very interesting. Certainly transferable to Secondary. Academy, East Sussex

* Brilliant! Academy, East Sussex

* The conference was interesting but your workshop made it worth the journey! More time next time. Special School, Derby.

* Fantastic! Academy, Isle of Sheppey Academy

*  Outstanding presentation- very thought provoking! Kings Lynn Academy.

LSA Training Feedback:-


*Today has given me great ideas of how to make a difference with our children and become outstanding.

* Fab day!

* Really enjoyed the day- made me excited about our vision for the school. Useful information was shared.

* The course was very good, got me thinking, what is my passion and how can I achieve it and help my community and school (children).

* Great!

*Fab session Helen, thanks. Hopefully you will get an invite to the peace parade soon!

* Today has given me great ideas of how to make a difference with our children and become outstanding.

* Very impressive! Made us think very hard about what we can do together.

* Gave me a lot to think about.

* Great thank you.

* Thoroughly enjoyed this morning. A lot to think about to help develop myself and to enhance children.

* Very enjoyable session- have really enjoyed it.