21st Century Independent School Conference


The autonomy Independent Schools have means that they can build on their strong traditions AND be forward-thinking and innovative; having the best of the past, whilst looking to the future as well. Unburdened by the red tape, jargon and government interference, Independent Schools could and should be dynamic centres of innovation as well as excellence. However, the perpetual balancing act of trying to meet parental expectations, maintain numbers and the need to steer a steady course in troubled times, means that many Independent Schools find themselves with difficult decisions to make. 

This conference looks at many of those issues and asks....so what can C21st Independent School education really look like?

This conference is for all staff, but is of particular interest to middle and senior leaders looking for answers to many key questions that face C21st Independent schools.


Attendees So Far...  

Eton College St David's School - Briton Girls Day School Trust
Brighton College Dolphin School St Swithun's School
Learning Partners Education Ltd Ewell Castle School Lingfield Notre Dame School
Prior Park College The Godolphin & Latymer School Epsom College
British School of Amsterdam Radnor House Sevenoaks Aberdour School - Surrey
The King's School - Canterbury St Mary's Junior School - Cambridge Sussex House School- London
Bramley School Seaford College Putney High School
Wellington College The Dragon School Cognita Schools


The Programme  

9.25 - 9.30

Introduction and Welcome by Stephen Chapman - MD Dragonfly Training

9.30 - 9.55:

Keynote Speech 1 - Steve Badger

  Marginal Gains – A whole-school evolution not an SLT-led revolution.
Simple ways to build a whole-school focus on teaching and learning to raise the standards of both.
10.00 - 10.25

Keynote Speech 2 - Tony Woolstone

  Exam Factories or Centres for Inspirational Teaching & Learning?
What stops Independent Schools promoting Independent Learning?
10.25 - 10.40


 10.40 - 11.15



Workshop A -Steve Badger

‘The Dancing Man’: Character Education? You’re Already Engaged!
How to consolidate, co-ordinate and build on the CE values that are already evident in your school.

Workshop B -
Tony Woolstone

How To Help Pupils Learn Independently:
20 Practical and Proven Classroom Strategies

Workshop C -Bethany Kelly

Twitter.....An Invaluable Resource or a Waste of Time?

Workshop D -      Ian Thorpe

Ten Top Tips for a Truly Inspiring and Totally Functional VLE Within an Independent School Setting
11.20 - 11.55



Workshop A - Bethany Kelly

Timetabling Today: Don’t Just Ask, Does It Fit?’ 
Why timetable matters matter: pedagogy, strategic planning & staff well-being


Workshop B - Steve Badger


Grades – Utopia or Dystopia?
Practical ways to challenge, motivate and extend your pupils without using the G-word


Workshop C - Kat Schofield and Jill Berry


Making the Leap: Leadership Transitions at All Levels
How to prepare for, and make a success of moving to Middle Leadership/Senior Leadership/Headship in an Independent School


Workshop D - Thomas Packer


Problem Parents in Independent Schools?
Yes they can exist! Practical tips for dealing with difficult parents most effectively.

12.00 - 12.30 Keynote Speech 3 - Christophe Mullings, IRIS Connect and Taryn Lombard, Wimbledon Girls School GDST. 
Video-based technology for professional learning
  Using Classroom Video Technology Within an Independent School Setting
12.35 - 13.15


13.15 - 13:55

Workshop A -

Thomas Packer

The Media – Friend or Foe, Good News or Bad?
How an Independent School can best control the Media.

Workshop B -

Lawrence Matthews

'IRIS Connect Video Technology'. 

Workshop C -

Girls Day School Trust

Raising Attainment Within An All Girls School.
Two superb teachers from the Girls Day School Trust.

Workshop D -


Raising Attainment Within An All Boys School.
14.00 - 14.35

Learning Beyond Levels - PREPARATORY - Kat Schofield. Jill Berry. (The Main School Hall)

How changes to curriculum and assessment can be harnessed to improve learning


CPD By Teachers For Teachers - SENIOR - Dr Murray Tod, Epsom College. (The Big School Hall)

Reflections on the Epsom Experience.

14.35 - 14.50
14.50 - 15.30 Keynote Speech 4. Bethany Kelly
  Just Survive Somehow: Lifestyle, Technology & Zombies – Worries of the 21st Century Student.
Promoting mental health & well-being in schools


Tony Woolstone

Tony Woolstone has been running modern foreign languages and other courses for many years and his dynamic and eccentric style will be familiar to many. He has over 40 years of classroom experience and although nominally retiring in 2008, returned to the classroom in 2011 where he continues to teach both French and Spanish from Year 5 to Year 13. He has been a head of department and deputy head, is chair of languages for a major examining board. His courses guarantee a thought-provoking day from which you will return almost certainly enriched and very probably exhausted!


Steve Chapman

Stephen Chapman is the managing director of Dragonfly Training and has delivered training courses at over 400 schools in the UK with great feedback from them all. He has also delivered training at schools in Monaco, Cyprus, Kuwait, Qatar and Dubai to the same very positive reaction. He has studied at the Universities of Liverpool and Cambridge and taught at schools in Kenya, the Caribbean, the USA and as head of department at a London comprehensive for several years.

He was specially selected as a member of the Richmond Borough School Improvement Task Force due to the success his department had with exam results and numbers of those opting for the subject. His long awaited book on education - "Improving Classroom Performance" - has received superb reviews and his totally practical approach to teaching and learning is based upon what he believes works, not ticking boxes and putting buzz words together.

Steve is well known to many teachers as being one of the best trainers in the world and is well known for his highly practical and realistic views. He remains jargon and buzz word-free as well extremely enthusiastic. He remains in touch with classroom practice by teaching at two local schools: Evenlode Primary School and Stanwell Secondary School, where his 'narrative frameworking' approach to creative writing has yielded spectacular results.


Bethany Kelly

Bethany is passionate that teachers should make their own learning a priority alongside that of their students. Her approach brings together her philosophical background, experience of a wide variety of independent schools, a creative method and an interest in popular culture. Bethany has worked in education for over 20 years in all, spending all but the first three years in leadership roles.

 Her first degree in Theology was from the University of Durham, she has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Management, and is currently undertaking an educational doctorate on leadership, personality and gender. Teaching posts have taken her to different parts of the country, to boarding and day schools, and mixed and single-sex schools.

After 10 successful years of middle management, Bethany moved into senior leadership with two deputy headships covering both pastoral and academic responsibilities. Particular areas of interest in recent years have included mentoring PGCE trainee teachers and NQTs, staff development, establishing leadership groups and researching her own work on women, leadership and personality.


Thomas Packer

Thomas Packer has been teaching for over 30 years in a variety of settings:  Maintained and Independent Schools, Secondary (11 – 19) and all-through (3 – 19) Schools, Day and Boarding, Boys’, Girls’ and Co-educational.  His specialist subjects are Physics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics.  Tom was a School Leader for 17 years and his last post was as Founding Headmaster of the West London Free School, the first Free School, to sign a funding agreement with the Secretary of State. Thomas was for a time one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education, specialising in Science, Maths, Music and Leadership & Governance. He has advised the Department for Education and the All Party Parliamentary Committee for Education on curriculum matters and school finance.  Recently he worked with the National College for School Leadership, devising modules for the NPQH Programme. 

A graduate of University College, Durham in Physics and Maths, it was in 1986 that Thomas first started to lead educational CPD, preparing teachers for the then novel Coursework requirements for GCSE, prior to its general introduction two years later.  He has continued to provide quality training ever since.  After leaving full time teaching Tom has specialised in providing relevant courses of value to the Education Sector, together with useful up-to-date resources, tailored to the needs of the group.  Thomas is also much in demand as a speaker at National Education conferences. 

Thomas has published articles for the National College for School Leadership and the Institute of Physics as well as writing a chapter in Leading Schools in the 21st Century published byJohn Catt.


Katherine Schofield

With 20 years experience in the Primary sector Kat has always embraced new opportunities,just as now as one of latest Dragonfly recruits.  Kat started her teaching career in London working in primaries in Southwark, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets. She took on senior positions and when she moved to Bath quickly became an 'acting' headteacher of a large, successful primary school. Her subsequent headships include Wells Cathedral Junior School and various state primaries in Wiltshire. Kat holds NPQH and an NVQ L5 in Coaching & mentoring. Her most recent Headship saw her turn around a large state primary from a judgement of 'Inadequate' to 'Good' in 9 months. Kat continues to offer Interim Headship, is a school adviser for the LA and works closely with a Teaching School. Kat is a Governor of an IAPS school and a local state primary.

The Independent sector remains close to her heart and she maintains an active role within the IAPS district group as regional CPD coordinator. Through IAPS she has spoken at conferences, at schools and at hotel based courses on themes such as; Assessment, Lessons Observation, Coaching, Outstanding Teaching & Learning and Subject Leadership. Kat is passionate about supporting teachers who want to improve and strive to be the best they can be for the pupils they serve. She receives excellent feedback from her training sessions and is an inspiring and motivational public speaker. 


Christophe Mullings