Teacher, speaker, writer and educator
for students with Emotional
and Behavioural Difficulties.
An interview with Adele…
How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be a Behaviour and Education Specialist?
Oooo, good place to start.
I have been teaching now for 18 years(!). I began as a teenager myself when I set up a drama school at the age of 16 for primary school pupils. My students won first places in National Festivals, had 100% pass rate on their LAMDA exams and participated in many productions – all before I went to university myself! Even at this early stage, the bits I loved best were helping the *more challenging* students enjoy my subject. Since then I haven’t stopped teaching in one guise or another. I have taught in mainstream schools: infants, primary and secondary; and specialist schools: Pupil Referral Units, SEND schools, schools for students with profound disabilities and Alternative Provisions; I have also taught undergraduate trainee teachers at the University of Brighton. I have a First Class BA(Hons), Masters and PGCE.
Over the years I increasingly found myself put with the ‘naughty’ pupils – and couldn’t have been happier about it. I became the lead on Equality, diversity and inclusion in my last full-time post, and spent an increasing amount of lunchtimes, before schools and after school slots supporting students’ wellbeing and mental health within the education setting.
The pivotal point came one meeting with my Headteacher. Having noticed how much time and dedication I was giving to the more vulnerable students, he informed me:
Adele, you’re doing too much pastoral.
It made my blood boil.
I knew that this was what made me a good teacher, this was the type of teacher I am, and I could also see in a school of 1300+ pupils and one part-time counsellor, how big a problem lack of wellbeing support was for our young people.
I made a decision: I wanted to work with these pupils as my focus, I wanted it to be my job to advocate for their, sometimes terribly misunderstood, learning needs. I left that post in 2017 to specialise in working specifically with students with SEMH and EBD.
Are you still in the classroom regularly?
Have a look at my #Insultoftheweek posts on twitter – a share of the most amusing insults my followers and I receive each week.
I currently work for Brighton and Hove Local Authority three mornings a week in a specialist school for students with SEMH, ADHD and ASC, many of whom experienced extreme trauma, abuse and neglect; some of whom have been excluded from local mainstream schools, sometimes more than once.
Who are your clients exactly?
People like you.
People who are passionate about education for all – especially those ‘hard to reach’, ‘tricky’ or damn right occasional &?!*s.
You have the best of intentions to be inclusive and differentiate in your classroom/school/academy chain/local authority – but somewhere along the way it’s got a bit messy… you may be:
- A school/education leader who is watching your students, staff or local borough of schools become de-moralised over behaviour issues – resulting in a decreasing learning focus
- A classroom teacher or teaching assistant with a particular class or pupil who is disrupting the learning – and giving you sleepless nights
- A trainee or NQT, sometimes not even teaching your own class, and struggling to find a seemingly allusive behaviour management approach that works for you
- A Homeschooling parent or carer, maybe you have been told that your pupil’s needs cannot be met by the school, you have been advised or chosen to homeschool or are in quarantine with your child who has specific behavioural needs
What you need right now are some targeted solutions; tried and tested techniques; some wider perspective, long-term thinking (as well as what to do first thing Monday morning); and maybe a little TLC yourself; in order to transform the current status quo of disrupted lessons, stressed teaching staff
How are you different from other “Behaviour Consultants”?
Good question; what separates my services from others is that I don’t have a set formula – kids aren’t data! Instead, my approach is flexible and relevant for each situation and young person; because of this educators who work with me discover the techniques and solutions that work for their particular students in their particular setting for first thing Monday morning and last period on a Friday afternoon…
I offer practical, step-by-step actions that are doable and easy to implement.
I work with these students because I choose to; I know what it’s like to be on the front-line – and I enjoy it – which means I also love to help motivate others to do the best they can for these students too
What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?
I work best with educators who want to put the children first.
I work best with educators who believe in education for all – even the hard-to-reach-ers; the educators who get excited about leading and teaching the next generation and who see their role as the valuable, honoured position it is.
I work with educators who may have got a little bit stuck when it comes to behaviour; who are finding the behaviour is getting in the way of the learning, who are starting to feel weary, who are dreading the next lesson with 9FP next Tuesday period 2…and who are starting to wonder why they first started working with young people in the first place…
My work provides educators with fresh perspectives and strategies for their specific pupils and specific days in specific environments on a blue moon next Wednesday… clear and consistent structures for behaviour that enable the learning focus – and joy! – to return.
I can do this because I know what it’s like. I have also got out of this spot many times and helped others to do so too – it is absolutely possible.
I have had bottles of juice poured on my head, been wacked by a skateboard – and I have taught a year 7 pupil who has experienced severe trauma in their life, how to read their first ever word.
I love working and learning with these students; I am also a strong advocate for helping them be better understood and provided for.
My workshops/training/key-notes are interactive, thought-provoking, engaging, inspiring and absolutely practical. They work best for educators who are a little stuck with behaviour in one way or another, who need a fresh eye on their individual situation and who are willing to give new things a go.
For what type of educator are your services NOT going to work?
Please know I’m very selective in who I work with and I cherry-pick my clients, choosing to (gently) turn
away people who aren’t suited for work and who won’t get the results for which they would have
signed up for. (It wouldn’t be fair to them.)
I do not work well with educators who believe there is only one way to teach/motivate young people. Another type of educator I won’t work with are those who think we should ‘just discipline harder/adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy.’
I do not believe in isolation as a behaviour strategy: self-selected alone time is different.
I am an avid supporter of #banthebooths.
Each year I select a finite list of pro-bono work do to. I do not offer my services for free. As a specialist in my field with 18 years of study (1st Class BA(Hons), Masters and PGCE) and on-the-field experience, I value my contribution to education, it is not helpful to become a charity myself.
If this is you/your organisation at the moment, then take a look at my free offerings, two three-part Free Video Series. They can be used as mini-behaviour training, in department meetings or as a weekly sharing in staff briefings:
What exactly is your approach and what does it include?
My approach to supporting educators begins with learning about an individual situation/school/pupil/policy.
I believe in educating humans – and humans are different and the same in weird and wonderful ways…
With that knowledge, I offer solutions, practical strategies and support to get some fundamental aspects in place:
- A safe learning environment for all
- Strong working relationships
- Staff can see the children not the behaviour
- Staff are supported to not take things personally (!)
- Staff are supported in a team
By focusing on these aspects the learning focus re-surfaces and educators are free to get enthusiastic about their subject once more!
These are the areas I’ve focused on with hundreds of teachers, teaching assistants, trainees (and even a friend who was having difficulties with their dog!) to help them feel secure and capable to support students with their learning.
In addition to these 5 areas, you will learn loads of things to manage yourself and your students more easily, to make your time work for YOU and the learning, without feeling like you’re managing a zoo, to be more efficient with behaviour challenges- not have to work harder (or shout louder), to eliminate fears around lack of control and self-sabotage, to set up systems that eventually run themselves so that ‘behaviour management’ is no longer a thing.
I have written about my approach in more detail in my bloggy-vlogs:
Does this really work?
Yes! The result of our work is an approach to behaviour that, over time and with your dedication, works consistently to enable you to many types of situations with different types of young people.
What results can I expect?
You can expect to:
- Hone in on the EXACT behaviour situations/students that cause you difficulty – and celebrate the bits that are full of ease!
- Create a focused, calm learning environment
- Create your own ‘behaviour strategy’ for a class/situation, that can be adapted for other situations in the future
- Learn how to handle your students (and parents/carers) more efficiently so that you actually have time to teach those extra-geeky bits that excite you about your subject
- Work smarter at building your teaching practice, not harder
- Be able to support your colleagues with behaviour challenges
- Create new goals for your students and raise expectations on learning
- Stay accountable to these goals and achieve them
- Set up rinse-and-repeat systems
- Learn which situations are the most likely to trip you up/make you tear your hair out – and how to account for them
- Get proven techniques you can apply right away in your classroom to set a clear learning focus
- Receive specific tools for you to use: “just add water”
- Learn how to set and hold clear boundaries (that don’t involve you becoming Miss Trunchbull)
- Learn time saving techniques that will dramatically cut down your worry time
- Enjoy being in your learning environment and with your young people
- Implement systems so you consistently have a high level of behaviour in your learning environment
Can I contact some of your former clients to see what it’s like to work with you?
Yes, I encourage you to! Please go to my website and read all of them. See which ones you feel drawn to, either because the person has gotten the results you want to get too, or perhaps because that person has a similar organisation to yours. Then feel free to email or call them and ask what they got from working with me.
Some of my previous clients:
How quickly can I expect results?
Obviously, this depends on how long you’ve been teaching, which package you work with me on and how much you put into the tasks that we work on together. That said, virtually all my clients see results within the first month in the form of a clearer learning environment structure, a deeper understanding of the whys behind a student’s behaviour, and therefore more strategies to effectively deal with it – leaving more time for you to breathe!
How can I guarantee myself that I will get these types of results?
Be totally dedicated to your young people.
As educators – in the midst of marking, ofsted and parents/carers’ evenings we forget who we’re really there for. Some of my approaches and tasks will involve you daring to try new things and holding your own through challenging moments – make this commitment, expect to fail sometimes – get back on the horse, and remember the huge impact you can make on a young person’s life.
Will I recover the investment I put into hiring you for this training/workshop/key-note?
Yes, a resounding Yes! Many educators and participants are excited to report that investing some time in behaviour training initially, enables them to free up time (and money!)
I want you to stop reading for just one moment to ask yourself, “What is a learning focused classroom/environment worth to me? What would I gain in my practice if I could create this consistently? How much extra time would I have if I didn’t need to worry (and how much more sleep could I get?!) What could I do with that extra time?
What you’re getting with my training and coaching is what I call a series of, sometimes very personal, revelations that will spring your teaching practice forward!
Adele, based on everything I’ve read and heard about you, I know you’re the one I want to learn from. What are my options for getting started with you?
Congratulations for making a decision – and thank you! I’m happy to work with you to find the most effective ways for you to support your students’ success!
These are the services I offer:
One-to-one Behaviour Consultation
For individuals to tackle and resolve a specific behaviour situation. Transform the dread and frustration into clear, practical strategies that build a strong foundation for learning.
- SLT and Governors for advice on whole-school approaches
- Individual teachers on specific classes or pupils
- Parents and Carers.
Three options to support behaviour, SEMH and SEND in your school or organisation:
- “Miss, I don’t give a sh*t” – 2-3 month Behaviour Training programme
- One-off training
- Half-day training
Workshops and Keynotes
You have a conference that needs to start with a bang? A group of staff that need a little – or rather large- nudge of inspiration after the holidays to re-kindle their love for education and children?
I am your speaker.
I am motivating, engaging and share practical strategies that can be used next lesson.
OK, I know which service I want. How do we get started?
Trying something new and being brave enough to keep learning are all excellent skills to be used when working with students with challenging behaviour!
For one-to-one Breakthrough Behaviour Sessions you can book here.
For Workshops/Training/CPD/Inset Days and Key-notes contact me here we will schedule a call, I will ask you for a bit more info about you, your organisation and what your specific needs are, then we can get started!
If I’m not sure I’m ready to get started, how can I sample your work at low cost to see if it’s the right solution for me?
A way to sample how I work and to receive practical tips for challenging behaviour straight away you can take a nose at my two free video series below. They can be used as mini-behaviour training, in department meetings, staff briefings or as a weekly sharing:
You can also sign up for my free e-newsletter list which provides you with proven tips, the latest tools and powerful techniques to use in the classroom. It is a community for inspired, passionate educators to get their personal doses of ‘keep-it-going’ when it comes to behaviour – plus some ‘How to’ guides on specific relevant subjects like ‘How to organise a school trip’ and ‘How to get to know a new class’.
OK, I’m ready to do this for myself, but I have a couple of additional questions. Can I call you?
Good, sounds like you’re ready to create the kind of Mary Poppins learning environment you always dreamed of. Yes, if you have a couple of questions, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to walk you through the different options to see which one will be the very best for you. I can’twait to see you succeed so that we can give all young people the education they deserve!